The Reader by: Traci Chee

An instant New York Times Bestseller, this is a stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of. Perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Finalist for the Kirkus Prize and nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award

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.

Content Warnings: Violence, blood/gore, torture, murder, PTSD, child soldiers, death of loved ones, and mention of cannibalism.

This is one of those books that just gets better each time you read it. The first time I read this book I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. Traci has created such a magical world that you can’t help wanting to fully explore.

In this first book, we’re introduced to a bunch of different characters, as well as jumping between a bunch of different perspectives. Altogether, we bounce between seven different people’s perspectives/stories in book one.

Our main journey, that we follow, is Sefia’s as she’s thrust into the world alone and must find answers that she didn’t know she needed. When the story first begins Sefia is 14, close to 15, and as we are closer to the end of the book she is 16. Sefia has lost everyone she’s ever cared about and is determined to hunt those that hunt her in order to get answers and revenge for all that she’s lost.

Along her journey Sefia meets, and frees, Archer a young man who was taken as a child, scarred, and forced to fight other young boys to the death. The trauma of being forced to murder, and then being locked in a box for extended periods of time, caused Archer to not only forget his past but also to become mute. After Sefia sets him free, unaware of who he is or where he’s from, Archer decides to follow Sefia and help her get answers from, and revenge on, those that have wronged them.

As we draw closer, to the end of the book, some of the perspectives/stories start to connect. When I first read this book, I struggled to see why there were so many different stories being told, and so many perspectives being switched too. Upon this re-read, I’m in even more awe of the way Traci has woven, and connected, all these stories together. Traci truly is an amazing storyteller.

Fun things you’ll find within these pages are…A world without a written language, pirates, war themes, secret societies, cannibals, magic, prophecies, and so much more.

This is definitely a story that you’ll want to re-read so you can see the breadcrumbs of how all the different stories are connected. Having read this book three times now…I’m still in awe of how Traci crafted this book and that THIS was her debut novel. Such a fantastic fantasy world that I love to immerse myself in.

Not going to lie…this book took me a bit to get into (like 150 pages *nervous laugh*)…but once I did…I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN! I’m not used to reading a book that switches between a bunch of different viewpoints, so that threw me off a bit, and it’s so mysterious…just giving you little bits of information at a time…amazing story though. I’m so glad I bought the entire trilogy so I don’t have to wait to start book 2!

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

5 thoughts on “The Reader by: Traci Chee

  1. I’m sold.
    If not for the lovely cover and fascinating story.. then for the beauty in which you describe this reading experience.
    Wonderful review, Noelle!


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