Sefia lives on the run with her Aunt Nin. But when her aunt is kidnapped, Sefia's quest to rescue her takes her deep into a world full of mysteries. Young boys are being kidnapped and branded, pirates are sailing west for treasure, and an assassin is stalking Sefia through the woods. Sefia is also protecting something even Aunt Nin didn't know about: a book. In a world without readers, Sefia teaches herself to read, leading her to uncover a great secret. This book was such a surprise! With its complex world building and interesting characters, I was engrossed from start to finish.
A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.
With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.
About the Author
Traci Chee is an all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts. She studied literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut.
Praise for The Reader:
An ALA Top Ten Best Fiction Pick – 2017 A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year – 2016 Finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize A Kirkus Best Book of the Year – 2016 An NPR Best Book of the Year – 2016 A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of the Year – 2016 A Bustle Best YA Book of the Year – 2016 Minnesota Public Radio Best YA Book of the Year – 2016 A Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year – 2016 A 2016 Nerdy Book Club Award Winner An ABA Indies Choice Honor Book – 2017
“I was spellbound from the first page. An utterly transportive tale of swashbucklers and sharpshooters, masterfully written. Traci Chee has penned a beautiful novel about the power of story, complete with a fantastic cast of characters and an expertly rendered fantasy landscape. This is a book you will not soon forget.”—Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn
★ “Deftly rendered in beautiful prose, narrated through three shifting time lines woven into an interconnected history of duty, honor, and magic. . . . This is a must-have for all those who value a good read with genuine character growth, mystery, unique world-building, adventure, unyielding bonds of loyalty, and pirates. . . . A fresh, diverse fantasy; highly recommended for fans of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart and female-powered adventures.”—School Library Journal, starred review
★ “Commanding storytelling and vivid details, particularly of the magical process of reading, bring the story to life… the first of what promises to be an enchanting series.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Chee’s debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience… An exploration of self-determination and the magic of the written word, Sefia’s story is an absorbing introduction to the Sea of Ink and Gold series.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “With evocative language, fascinating world building, multifaceted characters, and a compelling plot, this is a series fantasy lovers will want to sink their teeth into.”—Booklist, starred review
“Most world-building shies away from tackling the question of literacy within fantasy cultures, but here it serves as the beating meta-heart.”—NPR
"Those looking for complex fantasy will enjoy and look for the next installment."—School Library Connection