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The Reader

Cover of The Reader

The Reader

Sea of Ink and Gold Series, Book 1
Borrow Borrow

Instant New York Times Bestseller
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Instant New York Times Bestseller
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.


From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    810
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you


 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    The Consequences of Thievery


    There were redcoats on the road. The gravel path that cut through the tangled jungle was teeming with people, and the mounted Oxscinian soldiers rode above the sea of foot traffic like lords in a parade: their fine red jackets unblemished, their black boots polished to a high shine. At their waists, their sword hilts and gun grips glinted in the gray morning light.
    Any law-abiding citizen would have been happy to see them.
    "No good." Nin grunted, shifting the pile of furs in her arms. "No good at all. Thought this town would be small enough for us to escape notice, but that doesn't seem likely now."
    Crouched in the undergrowth beside her, Sefia surveyed the other shoppers, who carried baskets or towed rattling carts with burlap nests for their infants, the parents calling sharply after dirt-smudged children if they wandered too far. In their trail-worn gear, Sefia and Nin would have blended in well enough, if not for the redcoats.
    "Are they here for us?" Sefia asked. "I didn't think the news would spread so fast."
    "Word travels quick when you've got a face as pretty as mine, girl."
    Sefia forced out a chuckle. Old enough to be her grandmother, Nin was a squat woman with matted hair and a face as tough as rawhide. Being pretty wasn't what made her memorable.
    No, Nin was a master criminal with hands like magic. They were nothing special to look at, but she could slip a brace­let from a woman's wrist with a touch as soft as a breath. She could undo locks with a twitch of her fingers. You had to see Nin's hands at work to really see her at all. Otherwise, in her bear-skin traveling cloak, she looked something like a hill of dirt: dry, brown, ready to crumble in the humidity of the rain forest.
    Ever since they'd fled their home in Deliene, the northern­most of Kelanna's five island kingdoms, they'd kept a low pro­file as they roamed from one land to the next, surviving on what they could find in the wilderness. But in the hardest winters, when the scavenging was poor and the hunting was worse, Nin had taught Sefia to pick locks, pick pockets, and even steal huge hocks of meat without anyone noticing.
    And for six years, they hadn't been caught.
    "Can't stay here." Nin sighed and hefted the pelts in her arms. "We'll unload these in the next town."
    Sefia felt a twinge of guilt in her stomach. It was her fault, af­ter all. If she hadn't been so cocky two weeks ago, no one would have noticed them. But she'd been stupid. Overconfident. She'd tried to steal a new bandanna for herself—all viridian with gold paisley, much finer than her faded red one—but the clothier had noticed. At the last second, Nin had slipped the bandanna into her own pocket, taking the blame so Sefia wouldn't have to, and they'd left town with redcoats on their heels.
    It had been too close. Someone might have recognized Nin.
    And now they had to leave Oxscini, the Forest Kingdom that had been their home for over a year.
    "Why don't I do it?" Sefia asked, helping Nin to her feet.
    Nin scowled up at her. "Too dangerous."
    Sefia plucked at the topmost pelt in Nin's arms. Half of these were kills she'd brought down and skinned herself, enough to help them pay for passage out of Oxscini, if they ever got into town to trade them. Nin had kept them safe all these years. Now it was Sefia's turn.
    "It might be more dangerous to wait," she said.
    Nin's face clouded. Though the old woman had never ex­plained exactly how she'd met Sefia's parents, Sefia knew it was because someone had been after them. They'd had something their...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 27, 2016
    After 15-year-old orphan Sefia is separated from her aunt, she sets out on a rescue mission. Determined to learn the truth about her past and the rectangular object she’s spent her life hiding, Sefia eventually discovers that the item—bound paper covered in symbols—is a book. Books, reading, and writing are unheard of in the land of Kelanna, but Sefia is certain that this book holds the answers she seeks. She is joined in her quest by a mute, nameless boy, whom she rescues from a life of forced cage fighting. The book Sefia carries, which initially seems to be filled with stories and myths, becomes increasingly mysterious when she learns that the people and accounts detailed within are true. Chee’s debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience, but the author avoids leading readers along too transparently, trusting them to puzzle together the pieces surrounding the mystery of Sefia’s past. 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. Ages 12–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 15, 2016
    In her debut for teens, Chee takes readers on a heart-racing adventure.In the land of Kelanna, Sefia and her aunt Nin have been on the run for years, avoiding detection and the people who murdered her father. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia knows what they want: the mysterious package she salvaged from the wreckage of her home all those years ago. Determined to stop running, Sefia opens the package and finds a book: a foreign object known to a dangerous few and possibly the key to her past and finding Nin. On her quest to uncover the truth, Sefia encounters a silent boy trained to kill, powers she never knew she had, and forces who will go to great lengths to acquire the book. Chee weaves Sefia's story with multiple narratives, such as the book-within-the-book tale of the legendary Capt. Reed and his colorful crew and the story of Lon, a boy inducted into a secret world as Apprentice Librarian. Commanding storytelling and vivid details, particularly of the magical process of reading, bring the story to life. Also, tucked within the pages of the book are surprises like a blotted-out paragraph, a disappearing sentence, and ink splatters that sometimes resolve into fingerprints. Kelanna is a racially and ethnically diverse land; Sefia herself has East Asian features and coloring. This cleverly layered fantasy leaves more questions than it answers, but fortunately, it's only the first of what promises to be an enchanting series. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2016

    Gr 8 Up-"Two curves for her parents. A curve for Nin. The straight line for herself. The circle for what she had to do." This is the seal branded onto the book that was passed down to Sefia by her parents right before they were murdered by an assassin whose blade reeked of copper. Under the guidance of Aunt Nin, who is a thief, the teen learns to hide and hunt before her mentor is brutally torn away. In solitude, Sefia vows to rescue Nin. She is eventually joined by a strange, mute, and brutalized boy she saves. In a world where books and the very act of reading are limited to a select, powerful few, Sefia begins to understand the weight of her heirloom and what might transpire should it fall into the wrong hands. Sefia digs deep within herself and slowly begins to unlock the power of the written word. This work is deftly rendered in beautiful prose, narrated through three shifting time lines woven into an interconnected history of duty, honor, and magic. Chee provokes some resounding questions: What is there left to be remembered of us after death, and what must we do to be worthy of remembrance? 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. Savvy teens will notice a message scattered through the page numbers. VERDICT A fresh, diverse fantasy; highly recommended for fans of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and female-powered adventures.-Zeying Wang, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Reader
The Reader
Sea of Ink and Gold Series, Book 1
Traci Chee
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