When A Book About A Book Lets You Down | The Reader | ARC Review

Monday, September 5, 2016

Paper Bindings | When A Book About A Book Lets You Down | The Reader | ARC Review | ★★ TITLE: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) AUTHOR: Traci Chee RELEASE DATE: September 13th 2016 PUBLISHER: Putnam
TITLE: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)
AUTHOR: Traci Chee
RELEASE DATE: September 13th 2016
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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.”

I found The Reader by Traci Chee to be:

  • Disappointing
  • Boring
  • Too Convenient 

I was super excited to find a copy of The Reader in the box I received from a contest I won.

The premise sounded interest, and I was really looking forward to finding out how society functioned without the written word. Plus, it became quickly apparent that The Book contained powerful words, literally. So I was expecting this fantastical tale of heartache and revenge from the start.

The Reader wasn't the tale I wanted it be, and it wasn't all that exciting to read. 

Essentially, the reader (us) was subjected to new point of view after new point of view (we even got POVs by someone who turned out to not be important in book one's story line other than as a plot device to show what the other side was capable of) until the book finally ended.

What do these various people do, you ask?

They walk.
They sleep. 
Magical passage of time. (Years go by.) 
They walk. 
They read. 
They walk. 
They fall into a trap. 
They run.
They recuperate and read. 
They walk.

90% of The Reader was people walking through the woods. The other 10% was Sefia and Archer reading about Reed in The Book.

Sefia was awfully naive. 

"Sefia knows what it means to survive." But did she really, book? For a girl that was an excellent tracker and knew the people she hunted were very deadly, she left an obvious trail of her passage wherever she went. Sefia repeatedly walked into traps and deadly situations, not because she was angered and determined to find Nin, but because she wasn't paying attention to her surroundings.

The only character I remotely liked was Archer.

And I'm not really sure how much of Archer I liked because I found him interesting, and how of Archer I liked because I tend to love scarred, tortured heroes in books.

The romance in The Reader was disappointing.

You knew it was coming because the "this book will have romance" signs were there. But honestly, I never really saw it developing and then suddenly they were wanting to kiss the other one. 

Maybe all that walking in the woods really bonded these two together? Maybe all those magical bonding moments happened while I was stuck in someone else's head and just wanted to get back to Sefia, after all, the blurb told me it was her story. Maybe, but I'll never know.

The action and reveals in the last half of the book were too convenient and predictable.

Characters magically knew the names of people they've never met before, but the reader would recognize assuming they haven't been skim reading up to that point. (It's entirely possible that was a goof, and has been corrected in the final draft of the novel.) 

People and powers suddenly appear when our heroes need them the most, and we never learn why. Which just works to make it all felt like a set up, and I'm left feeling disappointed like our heroes didn't work hard enough for their wins.

Every big reveal in the 'villain reveals all!' chatting part of the climax, left me saying: "pfft, well of course that's what/how it happened. *shrugs* Why not?" But by that point, I'd already been so misled by the book (not to be confused with The Book) that I just didn't care to see Sefia's world crumble around her.


If The Reader would have focused solely on the promised main character (and whomever was in her circle at that time) and had the plot revealed through conflict as Sefia focused on her mission, the book would have been that much stronger. 

Official Judgement

To read or not to read, that all depends on how you feel about long, drawn out books. If you do not find the book boring, I think you could really enjoy this one.

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