Friday, December 9, 2016

Me on The Reader

Title: The Reader
Author: Traci Chee
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin imprint)

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who's taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book. Though reading is unheard of in Sefia's world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book's closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin's disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.

The Reader is magical, a tale of words and magic, of outlaws and pirates. Of peace and war, of power. Of meaning and purpose.

Sefia is living a life on the run with her aunt Nin, hunting and setting furs when they can, hiding from the authorities. Forever looking over her shoulder in case someone is following them. But then Nin is taken, beaten and kidnapped by a woman in black. Now alone, Sefia is worried, but also desperate and angry. She's determined to rescue Nin and learn the truth. Why she was taken. Why her father was murdered. But to do that, Sefia looks at the one thing her father left behind, the thing he and her mother kept secret. A thing of paper and ink scribbles called a book. And she decides to figure out what it says. But this is no ordinary book, and Sefia being able to read is no ordinary skill, and she soon finds herself chased and hunted.

Books. Books are enchanting, powerful, wonderful things. They transport readers to different worlds, different times, different places. They share stories and messages, lessons learned and loves lost. They teach, they show us truths long forgotten and often denied. This world with its emphasis on oral storytelling and its banishment of the written word is fascinating. When Sefia opens the book, when she teaches herself to read, she can see the magic of the world around her. It's the act of reading, the learning, that opens up the possibilities of the world around her to her. But what Sefia doesn't know, what she can't yet see, is the group searching for the book. The group that doesn't want just anyone to know how to read.

I was enchanted by this book. As someone who loves storytelling, when an author and their book is telling me an epic tale, I just fall into it. This was surprising and enthralling, and I never wanted to stop reading it. I just had to know what would happen next, what Sefia would read next, who she would come across next. And there was always that little bit of me never being sure if what was happening really was happening. I can't wait to read the next book, to find out what happens next and where Sefia goes.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

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