Imua 'Iolani

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Honolulu, Hawai'i

"The Reader" Book Review

October 26, 2018

     Have you ever wondered if the world you live in is real, or has it been scripted from the start? Sefia, a 15-year-old protagonist in “The Reader” by Traci Chee discovers this firsthand in her quest to save her Aunt Nin.

     In “The Reader” by Traci Chee, Sefia travels with her aunt, Nin, in a world without written words. They live in Kelanna, a world without a written language, where people are remembered through their oral stories, or are immediately forgotten. Sefia’s father was murdered after being tortured when she was nine years old.  Her mother had succumbed to sickness two years prior. After his death, Sefia left her home with her Aunt Nin, bringing with her only a small, leather-wrapped rectangle that she was able to save and has kept it ever since. She and her aunt have been constantly on the move for the past six years, living off of what they steal or hunt and in fear that her father’s murderers will find them. Upon her return to their campsite in Oxscini, feeling satisfied with the price her animal furs fetched at the market, Sefia catches a glimpse of hooded figures.  These are the same people who brutally murdered her father in their mad search for an object Sefia’s parents hid that contained mystical powers; an object now in Sefia’s possession. Besides her Aunt Nin, only Sefia knows where the object is hidden. Engraved on the small, rectangular object are little scribbles that appear worthless to most but are actually the key to a new world of knowledge. However, only a small portion of people contain enough knowledge to use the special object. Sefia must find a way to rescue her Aunt Nin, figure out why the small, rectangular object is so special to the people hunting it, and stop the people who are trying to kill, and have killed members of her family.

     The following is a quote from “The Reader” demonstrating the imagery and vivid detail Traci Chee adds to her writing. “Sefia went cold. The man was coming for her, stalking the underbrush like a predator. She still couldn’t see him, but the tips of the ferns bent and tilted at his passage, sending ripples among the fiddleheads. He was getting closer.” The detail Traci Chee put into those few sentences sent a chill down my spine as I imagined someone walking through the woods, getting closer and closer. I absolutely loved how Traci Chee added a few extra details since it really brought her story to life.

     I would recommend this book to people who enjoy mystery and danger, with a hint of romance. The mystery and danger of the small, rectangular object, and a love worth killing for. “The Reader” will not let you down!

     I found “The Reader” particularly appealing because of the intricate storyline. I enjoyed how Traci Chee kept me wondering about what would happen next. This book was different from most books due to the lack of written language. In most stories, there will be a time when the hero reads a riddle, a scroll, a subtle word in the fog of a window that tells them that they are on the right track. For Sefia, this doesn’t even exist. This makes the story far more interesting than it would have been if everyone could read. With its plot twists and intricate details, “The Reader” is a story that will leave you enchanted. Be sure to read between the lines and notice every little detail because it could be a vital part of the story later on. Although at times it was easy to mistake flashbacks and current events, “The Reader” is an incredibly attention-grabbing story, using clear imagery to make the readers feel as if they are right there with Sefia. If you are looking for an interesting book, check out “The Reader” by Traci Chee!


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