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.
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.