Title: The Reader
Author: Traci Chee
Genre: YA fantasy
Part of a Series? Yes, book one of The Sea of Ink and Gold.
Publish date: September 13th, 2016
First and foremost I must thank First to Read for providing me with the chance to read an advanced copy of this book. A debut novel, it reads like an author that has been writing novels for years. The ebb and flow of the book is fluid, graceful. Three story lines intersect to make a wonderful tapestry, leaving the reader hungry for more.
Let’s start with the summary. Sefia lost both her parents at a very young age, one to illness the other to violence. All she has are her memories of a mother teaching her odd symbols that she was later not allowed to know, and a rectangle of bound paper. This is a book. In Kelanna there was magic, water and ships and soldiers and wonders… but no books. No one developed alphabets or rules for spelling, their history traveled by mouth. Stories told time and again from one person to another. This is how one won immortality- to be remembered by their stories.
When her aunt Nin is also taken away, Sefia finds herself alone with only her skills to keep her alive and her keepsake for company. The more time she spends with the book the more she can remember and slowly she teaches herself how to read it. Her path is laid out- unlock the secrets of the book, get Nin, exact revenge if possible.
During her travels she comes across men with a crate. Could that be where Nin is? She sneaks into camp at the dead of night and releases the captive- not Nin but a scarred, scared boy about her age. He had been taken by impressers, forced to fight, to kill. Now more animal than human, there’s still something of the gentle being in him. He takes to Sefia, protecting her and keeping her company. He won’t speak though, can’t seem to remember how. She calls him Archer.
In another area at another time, Lon is picked up by the Librarian. He is a seer- he can see little parts of whoever he looks at. Their past- how they got a scar. Sefia can do the same. He goes to the library for training where he meets the other factions of the Guard. The assassin’s apprentice, number two, takes his heart. Together they make decisions that rock the world.
In another area, Captain Reed and his crew are out trying to gain immortality- to have the stories that will be told for all time. When the three stories collide- chaos. Allies are made, promises betrayed and truths uncovered. The book ties them all- for the book is everything that has ever happened or will happen. History and future. What happens if such a thing fall into the wrong hands? And who decides which hands are right?….
I loved this book. While the story line was a bit hard to follow sometimes, it was beautifully crafted. You saw things through several points of view, giving you a well rounded view of everything. The characters were well developed and interesting. I loved Archer and Sefia. I felt for Tanin. The world that Chee created was both simple and intricate. Like stepping into the past and present at the same time. I can’t wait to see where the next installment takes us! Thank goodness this is going to be a series! Five stars!
On the adult content scale, there is violence. A lot of violence. I give it a four; but it is written in such a way as to be appropriate for teens and preteens.
The book comes out 9-13-2016, be ready for an adventure!
Link to Book: