traci chee

5-Star Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

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Hello, fellow book junkies! During winter break, I packed The Reader to take with me on a trip, leaving the dust jacket at home so it wouldn’t get bent up in my suitcase. But then the very moment I finished the book, I was DYING to have that stunning (see picture, above) dust jacket back because The Reader is so unique and amazing that it deserves to look gorgeous, too.

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.

Interestingly enough, there was a glitch in the lead-up to my reading this book. When I first heard about The Reader and then checked out the wonderful excerpt, I got so excited I pre-ordered it, meaning not only did I get the book as soon as it came out in September, I also received the little poem/art print and book plate goodies that came with it–which, as pretty as they were, ended up in a pile with book merch bling I’ve received with other pre-ordered YA books. Yes, it’s fun getting free stuff–especially when it’s book-related–but, to be honest, I haven’t figured out a good use for pretty poem/art prints, temporary tattoos, book postcards, book plates, etc. Anyway, it’s nice having them. ūüėĄ

So, back in September I was excited to read The Reader, but then I discovered–oh, no–there are pirates in it.

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I am not at all into pirates; I mean, I didn’t even get past the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So this meant The Reader got put on a back burner for three months. As it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Yes, pirates do appear in The Reader, but they are not the central focus of the story and–guess what–I LOVED them! The pirates are noble and loyal and roguish in the best way.

Here’s what The Reader is about: a girl named Sefia who is left on her own after the death of her parents (shocking YA fantasy set-up, right?) In Sefia’s world, reading does not exist, but somehow she comes into the possession of a book. Sefia also has an ability to see golden light beyond normal life, where she witnesses people’s histories. Lots of other things happen, but I won’t go into much plot detail so you can savor the thrilling adventure for yourself. I’ll just say The Reader gets better and better as you go along, and it’s exciting how everything ties together. There’s also a lovely slow-burn romance with a character I sincerely hope we get to learn much more about in book two. Yes, I am already planning to read book two, cannot wait for it, in fact.

To be honest, for the first few chapters, The Reader’s story structure feels too busy. Several POV characters are introduced, there are interjections of distinctly different fonts that mean special things, and some of the chapters are from a book Sefia is reading in the story–which we’re not aware of first, and that’s a bit confusing. After a few chapters, though, the story comes together beautifully and completely sweeps you away.

As a fantasy book for teens, it might hurt a bit that The Reader features some characters who aren’t adolescents, but those characters are so compelling and interesting, I didn’t mind at all.

All in all, I’d have to say The Reader is in my top eight favorite reads of the year. It was the last book I read in 2016, and I’m thrilled to end on such a high note.

5-stars

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

— Eve Messenger

“My Intimidating TBR” Tag & A New YA Release I’m Dying to Read

My¬†new friend, Sean @ KingdomBookBlog, gave me a fabulous reason to think about books by tapping¬†me for¬†this “My Intimidating TBR” book tag.¬†If you would¬†like to join in the fun,¬†please consider yourself tagged!

1.) What book have you been unable to finish?

I’m sorry to say my only DNF of the past¬†year was¬†a book many people adore, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

2.) What book have you yet to read because you just haven’t had the time?

So¬†many¬†books fall into this category! I’ll go with Legend by Marie Lu because I really want to read it! In fact, it’s been¬†sitting in a TBR¬†stack right here on my desk beside where I’m typing at this very moment, but¬†poor Legend¬†hasn’t¬†made¬†it to the top yet.

Legend (Legend, #1)

3.) What book have you yet to read because it’s a sequel?

I don’t think my blog would be my blog if I didn’t mention V.E. Schwab in at least every other post so, yes, the book I read because it was a sequel was¬†A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. ūüôā

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4.) What book have you yet to read because it’s a new release?

If I positively can’t wait to read a¬†new release, I do this silly thing called BUY THE BOOK. However, there¬†is a¬†new¬†book I’m dying to read but can’t since¬†it’s not scheduled for release until¬†September 2016–The Reader by Traci Chee. Protagonist¬†Sefia vows to save her kidnapped relative, but rescue means learning to read in a world where literacy is forbidden.¬†¬†A sample chapter is available¬†here–you’ll¬†need to¬†scroll¬†past several other¬†sample chapters¬†to get to it.

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5.) What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn’t like it?

I can’t¬†remember a specific book I¬†went out of my way to avoid because it was written by an author whose writing I didn’t care for.

6.) What book have you yet to read because you aren’t in the mood?

Hmm, good question. Probably¬†The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks. It’s the kind of whimsical, fantastical, well-written story I would enjoy, but something about the dense typeface gives me pause.

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7.) What book have you yet to read because it’s humongous?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. At 579 pages it isn’t ridiculously long, but I’m a little on the fence about reading it–if it¬†were shorter I would fall off the fence on the side of reading it. ūüôā

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8.) What book have you yet to read because it was a cover buy with bad reviews?

I adore pretty book covers but don’t buy books purely based on them.

9.) Which book on your TBR is the most intimidating to you?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)

–Eve Messenger