Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

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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.

Having heard nothing about this book I didn’t really have any expectations going in, but it ended up being one of the best YA I’ve read this year. Not only is it diverse, but the YA take on the high fantasy tone works perfectly. The structure of the novel is also unique as the conceit is that books are magic and Sefia has a book that has EVERYONE’S story in it. Because of that, reading the actual book is an adventure because you have to question, what book are YOU reading? This is billed as the start of a series and I’m very interested in where it goes.

5 out of 5

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