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.
THE READER was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed by this one. This novel follows Sefia as she attempts to find her aunt Nin and seek vengeance for the murder of her father with the assistance of a book. The most intriguing aspect of this novel, I think, was the fact that in this world, people cannot read, except a few select individuals. The concept of this novel, along with the magic that Sefia has, was so interesting. Although I was confused for a while, everything ended up connecting after a while, which was very satisfying.
One of the greatest aspects of this novel was the writing. Chee utilizes brilliant and lyrical prose that is present throughout the whole book. There’s also a few excerpts from the mysterious book which adds a bit of fun and variation to this novel; since I read a digital ARC of this title, I didn’t get the best experience but it was good nonetheless. The romance was also lovely. It’s a slow burn, developed by growing trust and accompaniment so it definitely seems more realistic. You’ll be happy (like I was) by the very end of the novel.
The only reservation I have about this novel was the amount of confusion that I experienced. Although I did get the overall gist of this book, the switching of points of views of four different groups of characters was perplexing. However, don’t fret! Things come together the more you read. By the end of the novel, most of my questions were answered.
Overall, THE READER weaves a tale filled with magic, romance, and action, accompanied by gorgeous writing. Although this book was confusing at some parts, it mostly all ties together at the end. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy books that feature survival and adventure!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.