Convince Me To Read (20): The Reader by Traci Chee

Posted October 22, 2016 by Dani in Convince Me To Read, Features, Reviews // 1 Comment

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About Convince Me To Read Reviews

While we have fairly similar tastes, sometimes we need a little push to read a certain book. The Convince Me to Read Review will be a review of the novel plus a section on why we think the other would enjoy it.

Convince Me To Read (20): The Reader by Traci CheeThe Reader by Traci Chee
Series: Sea of Ink and Gold #1
Published by Putnam on September 13th 2016
ISBN: 0399176772
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: ebook
Source: Amazon

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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.

Dani’s review

THE READER was incredible! I knew it would be special when I read the blurb. A book about a book in a world where books really do hold magic that only a select few can access? Yes, please! And I was not disappointed. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but the concept and execution were so exciting and creative, and my heart broke on more than one occasion.

The writing was beautiful, and it made me love books so much more. If you look on Goodreads, I have so many quotes that I highlighted while reading, but the note at the start of the book was my favourite.


If you’re reading this, then maybe you know you ought to read everything. And maybe you know you ought to read deeply. Because there’s witchery in these words and spellwork in the spine.

And once you know to look for signals in the smoke, for secrets in the sea, then you understand what it is to read. This is a book. You are the reader. Look closer.

There’s magic here.

See what I mean? I want this on a poster!

One of my favourite things was that Sefia was so determined to survive and could totally take care of herself. She learned to hunt and track and READ on her own. But, even though she managed to harden her exterior, she remained kind inside, rescuing a guy in need and being unable to cross the line of killing humans. And then this guy? He was ADORABLE, even though he had a dark past. I loved how he and Sefia were able to connect without words, caring for each other. Be still, my beating heart.

The world was extensive, which was both good and bad. Good because it felt like a real world with different places and climates and cultures. Bad because it made it difficult to keep track of where people were. There was a gorgeous map at the start that helped, but maps aren’t as easy to read and access on a Kindle when compared to a physical book, so maybe get the physical for this one.

Which brings us to my biggest issue while reading. I was often confused, as there seemed to be at least three different stories going on. First, there was Sefia looking for Nin. Then there was Lon, an apprentice learning to access the magic of the Book. THEN there was Captain Reed on his great adventures. AND THEN there was another lady who I won’t say more about for spoiler reasons. I wasn’t sure if the stories were running parallel but would eventually connect, or if they were happening at different times in history. When one thing was eventually cleared up, yet another POV was introduced. Don’t get me wrong, the story was interesting and kept me hooked this way, but it also had me feeling uncomfortable along the way. There is a line where mystery and intrigue goes too far, and I think THE READER did a little jig back and forth over it. Luckily, all the separate strings started to come together around the halfway point in surprising and delightful ways.

Despite the confusion, I couldn’t stop reading. I even got the audiobook to go with the ebook (thank you, Whispersync) so that I could listen when I had to use my eyes for other business, like walking to and from the train station or cooking. It was so compelling!

Basically, if you’re a reader (duh, otherwise why are you here), you should read THE READER. Just do it.


Jamie has a far greater capacity than I do for complicated books, so I think she’d be able to handle the plot and multiple POVs a lot better than I could. I also think she’ll appreciate how, while there is romance, the plot is far more focused on survival and vengeance.

About Traci Chee

Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut.

One response to “Convince Me To Read (20): The Reader by Traci Chee

  1. Everyone loves this book and I’m excited to read it but tbh I don’t like multiple POVs so I can’t get myself to pick this book up. You helped me get in the mood to read it. Great review 🙂

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