The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold Series #1)

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold Series #1)

by Traci Chee


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780147518057
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Series: Sea of Ink and Gold Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 77,287
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Traci Chee ( is an all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts. She studied literature and creative writing at the University of California, 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.

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Chapter 1

Excerpted from "The Reader"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Traci Chee.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"The Reader" is an intriguing YA fantasy that follows a girl named Sefia. Her parents hid her in a secret room through the fireplace. Her mother died when she was young. When she finds her father brutally murdered and burned in their house, Sefia knows what to do- she was trained for it from a young age. She heads to her room and through another secret door to Nin, her neighbor and aunt. However, she also finds an item hidden there by her father- a book. For a long time, she and Nin are on the run. Everything changes after Nin is taken, and Sefia embarks on a journey to save the only family member she has left. She opens the book and learns to read- luckily, her mother had taught her through play with blocks when she was little. She reads fantastical stories about Librarians and pirates, including about Captain Reed. In the kingdom, young boys are disappearing. They are captured, their necks are scarred and then they are forced into a battle to the death. Sefia comes across one such boy being kept in a crate by the men who took him. Finding an opportunity, she frees him and he willingly follows her. He does not speak (perhaps cannot remember how), and so she calls him Archer. This book follows not only the stories Sefia reads from the book, but also their quest to find answers for both of them. At first, I found myself getting lost in all the stories and characters- there are a lot of potential people to follow and remember, perhaps 4 or 5 storylines within the actual book. It's tough to remember where you were when you put it down and pick it back up. I think this would be better read in one sitting as a result. By about 30-40% of the way through, I found myself enjoying it more and better able to follow the multiple storylines. Captain Reed and his crew were probably my favorites- many are special/skilled and they have interesting adventures. Sefia was a good main character overall, but I felt that we got only minimal answers in this first book. There is little closure, so you definitely will need the next book. A minor romance develops between Sefia and Archer, and I am curious to see how this plays out in the future. Overall, I enjoyed the read and would continue with the series. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
drakenfyre More than 1 year ago
I’ve had The Reader sitting on my shelf since it first came out, and I’ve been meaning to read it, but like most of us know, something else gets in the way and the book kept being put on hold. When the opportunity came up to take part in the re-read campaign I knew then that I was going to read the book. I will say that I was kicking myself for putting this off for so long, but at the same time I was finally able to see why there was the hype around this book. The interaction in the book, outside of the story itself was an interesting and fun “game” so to say, while reading the book, looking to check the page numbers to see if there was a clue or not and making sure that I had a scrap of paper and pen with me to keep track of the clues was entertaining. In a world where reading is a form of magic and books are outlawed, Sefia realizes that she has the ability to read, and see things that others can’t, while reading the book you find out about this society of people known as “Illuminators” who are people that can read books, and tap into magic that allow them to use words to manipulate others and things. I found that reading this was very different, you follow Sefia throughout the book, but at the same time you read what’s in the book she is carrying with her. So at points you are reading a story within a story, and I enjoyed reading the story that was in the book. At one point the stories cross paths and the reader (Sefia) is now with the characters in the book she was reading. There is such a large cast of characters, both in Sefias world, and that in the world of the book she is carrying with her, I’m not sure if I can just pick a favorite or two. But I’d have to say that I was rooting for Sefia and Archer. Their relationship is an odd one at the start, the fact that she chose to save him sets a good portion of this story into motion. As for the story in the book, I enjoyed the Captain and Harrison, I’m not 100% as to why, but these two stuck with me the most in the story. The ending of this book I felt left off on such a good cliffhanger, that I’m super excited that The Speaker is out in a few weeks instead of having to wait that entire time the wait will be much shorter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truely one of the best books I have read so far!!!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Sefia has been hiding and evading capture for most of her life. It started with the house built on a hill filled with secret rooms and hidden passages meant to guard a dangerous secret. When her father is murdered, Sefia does what she has been trained to do. She hides. She grabs the thing that her parents spent their lives protecting. She goes to her aunt Nin and together they run away. After Nin is kidnapped, Sefia vows to find her. Sefia turns to the strange rectangular object her father died to protect. As she examines the thing, Sefia slowly realizes it is a book. The Book may hold secrets about Nin's abduction and Sefia's own parents if only she can master the symbols within and learn to read the words. In Sefia's world, books are their own kind of magic--a dangerous power in the wrong hands. Sefia will need that power if she wants to rescue Nin and stop hiding in The Reader (2016) by Traci Chee. The Reader is Chee's first novel and the beginning of her Sea of Ink and Gold series. This book is a layered narrative filled with hidden messages and clues within the text (be sure to look at the page numbers for one of them). The depth and layers within The Reader are impressive and staggering to contemplate. However the hidden clues, messages, and intricate physical design of this novel are distracting at times. Readers willing to give this story time and a proper chance will enjoy the intricate layers and the unexpected ways Chee's multiple narratives come together. In the fantasy world Chee has created the written word doesn't exist. While they have identifying symbols to label things like herbs and other items, this world relies more heavily on an oral tradition for their stories and history. Books and reading are magic in a very literal sense and so both things are closely guarded by mysterious powers and largely unknown to citizens like Sefia. If you spend too much time scrutinizing the main conceit of this plot (reading doesn't exist), it starts to crumble. How does electricity work in this otherwise non-industrial society? How do characters leave messages for each other without written words? Are glyphs used? Oral recordings? No one knows or at least no one shares. Vocabulary that would be taken for granted in any other story also needs further clarification in a book like The Reader. How do characters know about pens or reading lamps? Why do they exist if, as the novel states, reading doesn't exist? Furthermore, although Chee's writing is rich and heady, there isn't a particularly good way to show a character learning to read when that character doesn't have the vocabulary to describe a book, letters, or words. It makes for plodding passages and very slow progress for the rest of the story. Readers willing to ignore these niggling questions may find themselves drawn into Sefia's story. The premise, the larger message about the written word, and particularly Sefia's own growth is empowering. Chee's descriptions are vivid and bring Sefia's multi-faceted world to life. The Reader is a slow-paced adventure story. Sefia embarks on a journey with unlikely allies and surprising foes. She discovers magic and her own inner strength. She also, strangely enough, learns to read. How you feel about that last one will largely influence how you feel about this story as a whole. Recommended for readers seeking an introspective fantasy with a slow payoff. (Go into this one willing to commit to the series as many of the big reveals come
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written, with interwoven narratives, engaging world building, a strong but damaged heroine, magic, mystery, and even pirates! This is a must for fans of fantasy and or adventure. You will not be able to put it down.
stephsco More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book is phenomenal. It's high-seas adventure in a rich world with characters I grew to deeply care about. Plus, there are CLUES in the book! Seriously. There are hidden messages within the pages, in a book about a world where there are (seemingly) no books. This is a fantastic start to a series and I feel so fortunate to have read an early copy.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group for the arc of The Reader by Traci Chee! Sefia and her "aunt" Nin are hiding from people who want them. Sefia thinks they're wanted because of Nin's thievery skills. Sefia goes to a village to sell animal pelts and when she returns, Nin has been captured. The story falls back to when Sefia was younger and living with her father. He was killed and his body torn apart and Sefia had been with Nin at the time. When she returned home, she found her father's body like this. Even though she was terrified and distraught about her father, Sefia hid as always told to, since her family expected danger eventually but never telling Sefia why. Her parents had given her three explicit instructions: use the secret doors, go through the tunnel, find Nin. At the last secret door, a rectangular object fell out, a book. She took it with her, not knowing what it was. Many alternating points of view confused me for a while. Lon is a young man with special sight and Erastis, the master librarian, takes him in as his apprentice. Captain Reed and his ship, Current (a remarkable captain and a remarkable ship). Assassins and trackers searching for something. Sefia reads about these people and the complicated stories found in the book turn out to be real people and their actual lives. The Reader is interesting and complex with diverse characters, 4 stars.
HSMeloche More than 1 year ago
In an island-filled world where reading is banned, Traci Chee weaves together a brilliant story of pirates, assassins, and a main character who slowly discovers the power she has to control it all. After the strange and gruesome murder of her father and the death of her mother, Sephia only has her lock-picking, survivalist Aunt Nin left. But when her aunt is taken by the same people who killed her father, Sephia decides to do whatever it takes to track her down. Using the mysterious rectangular object -- a book -- her parents left behind, Sephia's story tangles with that of an infamous band of pirates and a group of assassins who will do anything to retrieve the book and the power it contains. With vivid writing and mind-blowing imagery, Chee offers a debut that will stay with the reader long after they put THE READER down. Luckily, there will be more in the series!
MGRocks More than 1 year ago
In a world filled with magic and the unknown, Sefia discovers the most amazing secret of all—a special book. But even as she gains this incredible treasure (in a land where reading is nearly unheard of,) she also suffers great losses. When she sets out to seek vengeance on those who have wronged her, Sefia encounters new worlds, meets heroes and villains, and saves the life of a special young man—who in turn will help save her. This debut novel by talented Ms. Chee is a sprawling adventure story, set in a mystical world that is meticulously brought to life with lyrical writing and abundant creativity. A rich cast of characters leap from the pages—each with his/her own story to tell. The main character Sefia, orphaned and alone maintains her stoic determination and quickly endeared herself to this reader. For those looking for an epic, entertaining Young Adult fantasy, THE READER is sure to please! Magic, Mystery, & Epic Adventure
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***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 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. What I Liked: What a fascinating debut novel! This book was fun and entertaining, but not in a light way. There is plenty of bloodshed and violence, but also adventures and magic and pirates! In a tangential way, this book reminded me of another YA '16 debut, Rebel of the Sands. Completely different stories, but the feel of the stories (the tone?) are similar, and wonderful. In this fantasy world, people no longer have the ability to read. Books have been forgotten and lost. Sefia's parents had one book hidden, and Sefia didn't know what it was. Both of her parents are dead, and she's with her Aunt Nin. But when Nin is captured, Sefia takes the book and goes after them. Months pass, and no luck. Sefia was well-taught by Nin to survive, but Sefia has no direction. The only thing that can help her is the book, which Sefia slowly begins to understand. But will the book help her figure out where Nin was taken, and more about her parents? This book is written in third-person limited, and I loved that. Certain chapters are from Sefia's POV (most of them), but also Archer's (Sefia's companion whom she rescues/frees during her hunt for Nin), Tanin's (you could say she's the villain), Lon's (an Apprentice to becoming a secret Librarian), and Reed (pirate captain of the Current of Faith). At first, the POV switches threw me, even though all were in third person. But I really came to enjoy all of the POVs, especially when I finally began to understand how they connected with each other. I loved the writing in general! I think that's one thing that you'll see reviewers say over and over - the writing of this book is brilliant. There is almost a lyrical quality to it. There were a few lines that made me roll my eyes, because they seemed out of place compared to the rest of the paragraph. BUT, for the vast majority of the book, the writing was amazing. Another technical aspect of this book that I really liked was the physical marks of the book - there are finger smudges, ripped/burnt pages, words in the margin, and so on. It was pretty cool! I was reading an eARC, but I've heard that the ARC (and I'm sure the final hardcover copy) has these purposeful marks in it as well. So neat! I liked Sefia a lot. You can clearly see her growth from start to finish. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
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.