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The Reader

(The Reader Trilogy #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  9,552 ratings  ·  2,047 reviews
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
Hardcover, 442 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young
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Traci Chee Yes! THE READER is the first in the Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy.
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,552 ratings  ·  2,047 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult, 2016
This is a book. You are the reader. Look closer. There’s magic here.

I really struggled with this one. Despite exciting little quotes - like the one above - to draw in any self-proclaimed bibliophile, something about this book just felt off from the very start.

I mean, it's slow. But that on its own is not necessarily a problem. Fantasy is often the kind of genre that can get away with having a slower, more drawn-out and intricate plot. No, it's more that I think the premise is fundamentally f
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ by: Lola Reviewer
Shelves: young-adult, own
Re-read on audio so I can read second book!

So, wow - how do I write this review?! ← I tend to ask that a lot. Anyhoo . . .

So this world of Kelanna doesn't have books! What? Who are these people? There is a whole story thing about it, but I got a little confused so don't ask me.

A what? What's a book? Or as someone asked in this story, "What's a buck?"

Sefia has been on the run with her aunt Nin for quite some time. There are people looking for Nin because she's the most notorious thief in the Fi
Sep 17, 2015 marked it as to-read
"...set in a world where reading is forbidden."

That's scary. I WANT THIS BOOK.
Renée Ahdieh
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this book is utterly fantastic. it has it all--an amazing heroine with an intricate backstory, a gorgeously rendered fantasy landscape, diverse characters, and beautiful prose.

did i mention it has SWASHBUCKLERS and SHARPSHOOTERS?

you need this book in your life. trust me.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Because in Kelanna, if they didn’t keep telling your story after you died, you might as well have never lived at all.

The Reader is a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t heard much other than that it’s a book about a book and there’s a heap load of adventure involved. Somehow that’s understating things.. yes, it’s a book about reading, though it’s set in a world where people can’t read. And there’s pirates, magic, assassins, librarians, secret societies, and an epic story to tie it all together.

We a
Whitney Atkinson

This book was super promising, and I'm sure a lot of people will like it, but I'm not a fan of books about pirates, and I didn't know that's what this would be about! I liked the writing and plot of this, but I just got really wildly bored. If I hadn't combined the audiobook with some skim-reading, I definitely might have DNF'ed this. Sefia just seemed like a very basic and interchangeable main character, and the rest of the characters were pirates or mysterious/confusing/muddled-backstory
Wendy Darling
Mr.Darling overhears a lot of audiobooks that I listen to. This is the only instance in which he finally said, after two days, "So this book you're listening to is pretty terrible."

So....while I don't think it's terrible, exactly, I've listened to ten chapters feeling puzzled and somewhat bored. And occasionally annoyed, because "This is a book, this is a book, this is a book" gets repeated a lot in reverential tones. And look, I LOVE books; my house is crammed full of them, not only review ARCs
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
This was so utterly thrilling and captivating. I adored it.
This is a complex, magical story of a girl's journey to find answers. I loved how it weaved multiple storylines and POVs together and how they all intertwined in the end. However, I don't think audiobook format is the best way to read this book. I would often get confused because it wasn't totally clear in the audiobook when storylines/POVs switched. I would recommend having the physical book on hand to read along with or look through.

Check out my full review on my blog: http://www.kassidyvoinch
Rosalyn Eves
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this novel. It's truly lovely: rich prose, a vivid setting, characters you want to cheer for (and others you love to hate), and a fast-paced plot.

Tara Sim
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Between the restless waves of the sea and the leafy ferns of the jungle, you'll (willingly) get lost in this beautiful book about stories, family, bravery, and love. As Sefia journeys and discovers new stories, as well as new dangers, you'll fall in love with the cast of characters and the sprawling world of Kelanna. And if you're anything like me, it'll keep you up late into the night just to find out what happens next. This is a book you do not want to miss. ...more

I HATE writing reviews for books I really love or admire. Not-so-good books -- sure, picking out what I disliked is easy. But sometimes it's really hard to quantify just what was so great about a book, especially without spoiling it. So forgive me if this review seems a little scattered.

This book was amazing.

It starts out seeming like a typical fantasy, as main character Sefia is set on the run with an object her enemies will do anything to get their hands on. She's already lost her parent
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Reader by Traci Chee
Book One of the Sea of Ink and Gold series
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from First to Read

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 hel
Wonderful exquisite writing! You don't have much to go on.. Because reading this was like being left in the dark. And some books don't transition between being able to grasp your attention. Thankfully this isn't that type of book because I was invested whole-heartedly. This was such a major journey for our main character and I was there along with her. Some questions are answered by the end, but I needed and wanted so much more. Especially how the Book came to be. Why are these people so special ...more
Lara (Bookish_turtle)
"This is a book. You are the reader. Look closer. There’s magic here."

I'm not sure exactly what it is about this book, but it is exquisitely magical. When I read books like this, I wish that every other book was as wonderful. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who loves YA fantasy.

"Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story. "

Assassins, magicians, pirates, this book has it all! The epic adventure stories intertwine and overlap to form a complex na
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I was totally blown away by The Reader. Yes, I’d wanted to check it out after learning that it was a “book about books”, but what I got was simply far beyond anything I expected or imagined. There’s honestly nothing I love more than being surprised when it comes to YA, and this book dazzled me in all the ways that counted, drawing me in with fantastic writing, compelling characters, and a wildly imaginative story.

The Reade
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
TW: Gore, blood, murder, death of a parent, death of a loved one, PTSD, panic Attack

Not gonna lie, I was confused for a good chunk of it about some things but that kept me sucked in the story because I wanted my questions to be answered, and when they were IT WAS SO GOOD AND UNEXPECTED and some parts of the story made so much more sense and my mind was blown.

I'm not sure I'll write a full review but PLEASE PICK IT UP!!! I'm so g
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“When a reader falls in love with a book, it leaves its essence inside him, like radioactive fallout in an arable field, and after that there are certain crops that will no longer grow in him, while other, stranger, more fantastic growths may occasionally be produced."

----Salman Rushdie

Traci Chee, an American author, pens her debut YA fantasy novel, The Reader which is the first book in the Sea of Ink and Gold series and this series opens with a young teenage girl and her aunt who are on a ru
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
Jun 26, 2015 marked it as books-i-own-but-haven-t-read-yet  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-outlet, fantasy, ya
This one has promise. It starts as your typical YA fantasy, with a Bad Guy (or organization) hunting MC (for the past six years).

She doesn't know why, but they've killed her parents, and the only clue she has is something they gave her before they died, which she keeps in the bottom of her bag (we know nothing about it at this point beyond that it's relatively small).

My guess would be it has to do with the light she can see shimmering around things out of the corner of her eye, but what do I kn
Eve Messenger
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The best way I can think of to describe The Reader is that it is a "thrilling fairy tale." The world-building is in a league with Leigh Bardugo, the writing style is reminiscent of the brilliant V.E. Schwab, and there's a fairy tale quality that is all Traci Chee. If you like The Winner's Curse, A Darker Shade of Magic, and/or Rebel of the Sands, you'll love The Reader.

When I first heard about The Reader and then read the wonderful excerpt, I was super excited to read this book. After pre-orderi
Kali Wallace
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
THE READER is a glorious epic fantasy adventure with magic and pirates and assassins and secret societies and warring island nations and gloriously imaginative mythology. I got swept up right away--there's so much going on, so many distinctive characters, so many settings, but it's not confusing. It feels like you've been dumped into this fascinating world and sent off on an adventure, and what a great ride it is.

Sefia is a fantastic main character. She's complex, tough, compassionate, stubborn
Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:


This book was recommended to me by Lola! Click on her name to read her review.

I was pretty excited to read this book. Unfortunately it didn't deliver. Despite how the synopsis claims there is no form of reading but that's not true. There are many forms of reading for example symbols. There are symbols and other forms of reading in this book. Then comes in Archer who is mute. If there is no sign language how do they communicate? Simple Sefia takes guesses. Archer will do some
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this and WOW. The writing is lush and beautiful, the world is fascinating and unique, and the characters and their decisions have stuck with me for months. And the romance - I'm not typically a big romance person, but this one was beautiful and broke my heart and then put it back together again. It's still 2015, but I already know THE READER is going to be one of my favorite books of 2016. ...more
Kathy MacMillan
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

We all know that books are magic, but in Sefia's world, it's literally so. No wonder literacy is such a forbidden commodity, so coveted that there are those who would die - or kill - for the words on the page. With its twisty narrative and surprising turns, THE READER will keep readers turning the pages till the end, and turning over the big ideas presented long after the story is over.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK! I am serious. THIS BOOK.

I was lucky enough to read an arc of Traci Chee's THE READER, and man (see above). I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Each time I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it back up and dive into this beautifully, brutal world.

I loved Sefia, the MC, immediately. Her journey began with everything I love about YA Fantasy: cruelty, death, heartbreak so severe it bleeds out into the world around you, survival--emotional and physical, desperation, fear,
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"The Reader" feels like a classic. It's a book I would have loved to read at 12 or 13 or 14, though I definitely found it a delight to read now. With this novel, Traci Chee took me back to the sense of wonder I had while reading Philip Pullman or Madeleine L'Engle.

I can't wait to see what the finished copies for this look like, as there are "burned" pages, inky thumb prints, fade-outs, etc. The formatting is, quite simply, lovely.

Sefia's story is the main narrative, but it's intertwined with th
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this more than 5 stars I would! I will admit the beginning was a bit slow and hard to follow until I figured out what was going on. But after that man did I LOVE this book! I adored Sefia and Archer. Oh and I have a huge crush on Captain Reed! I can't wait to read what happens next! I need book 2 now!!! ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just finished an ARC of this novel, and I am rolling around in all the feels. Honestly, it's not often that a book manages to be an emotional, sensory, imaginative, immersive read the way this is. Definitely recommended if you like epic storytelling, magic, pirates, assassins, and geeky meta-book stuff like marginalia and hidden clues in the physical book itself. WHICH I DO. ...more
3.25 stars.

The Reader is a very unique book. I've never read anything similar to it, or to the way it weaves together stories inside of other stories, timelines in different kingdoms, tales and mysteries inside fictional books. The result is multilayered and compelling, but definitely not flawless.

One thing that makes The Reader unique is the sense of wonder. This is the kind of book that makes you see the magic in ordinary things, that lets you see the world in a different way. It has, in a way
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had the absolute pleasure of reading an early draft of this book, and I can't wait for the finished thing. The characters are delightful, the world richly textured, the legends larger than life in the best way possible. The interweaving narratives come together so elegantly that I want to grab Traci, shake her by the shoulders, and ask her how she does it. Definitely have this book on your radar come 2016! ...more
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The Reader Readat...: Chapters 17 to 24 2 6 Feb 27, 2020 08:33AM  
The Reader Readat...: Chapters 1 to 8 15 13 Feb 26, 2020 02:51AM  
The Reader Readat...: Chapters 9 to 16 10 8 Feb 26, 2020 02:50AM  
The Reader Readat...: Chapters 33 to 40 7 6 Jan 29, 2020 04:28AM  
The Reader Readat...: Chapters 25 to 32 5 6 Jan 22, 2020 02:20AM  
Ottawa Babes Book...: First Book!! xD 1 3 Jul 13, 2019 01:54PM  

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Traci Chee is a New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award Finalist. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at bonsai gardening, 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 ...more

Other books in the series

The Reader Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold, #2)
  • The Storyteller (Sea of Ink and Gold, #3)

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“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.” 63 likes
“This is a book, and a book is a world, and words are the seeds in which meanings are curled. Pages of oceans and margins of land are civilizations you hold in the palm of your hand. But look at your world and your life seems to shrink to cities of paper and seas made of ink. Do you know who you are, or have you been misled? Are you the reader, or are you the read?” 47 likes
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