Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1)About the Book:
Title: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)
Author: Traci Chee
Pub. Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 442
Rating: 2/5 stars


Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.

Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.


“If you're reading this, then maybe you know you ought to read everything. And maybe you know you ought to read deeply. Because there's witchery in these words and spellwork in the spine.” 

I wanted to like this book, I really did. While I'm sure it will appeal to many readers, I definitely was not one of those people. The story fell flat and I actually was considering DNF'ing it at 60%, but I figured I might as well finish it out and see if there was anything better coming. Well at the 80% mark, I started skimming. This book could have been absolutely amazing, and had a ton of potential. Unfortunately, the entire thing was so boring. It's not to say that there aren't interesting parts, and there were some great quotes (see above), but as a whole, reading this book had me zoning out and constantly checking just how many pages I had left until I was done with it. 


I will say that the beginning of the book was interesting. We're first introduced to Sefia (love that name by the way!), and it seems like we're in for a non-stop, action-packed ride for the rest of the story. That was not the case. All of sudden we're introduced to several other characters with no explanation of why we should actually care about them. We're given very little backstory on any of the new characters, and it was hard to keep up with everything. Things got very confusing and muddled very quickly. Instantly, we jump to a year later and the plot became even more jumpy after that. Basically in all that time, stuff happen. Nothing that interesting, but stuff nonetheless. And ultimately, that was what bothered me the most. It didn't seem like anything was important. Maybe if I wouldn't have skimmed the ending, I would have understood better how most of the events mentioned in the first and second parts of the book set things up (in other words why seemingly pointless scenes were actually important). But alas, I didn't actually care that much by the time I got to the end.


I also was excited because PIRATES! Even this was a lackluster element to the story. Granted, it was a little more interesting than the other events of the story, but I wanted so much more from this part of the story. Really, the characters that are supposed to be pirates (note the supposed to be) are just sailors, but at least their story was more interesting than Sefia's. Another big problem I had with this story was that there truly wasn't anything special . As I said, this novel had the potential to do something big and different, but there was none of that. It was a standard fantasy that fell into line with every other fantasy novel out there. Sefia could have been any female heroine, the plot had the same formula/combo that every fantasy book currently has. In other words...there was nothing interesting that made me fall in love with this book like I should have.


There were some things that were unbelievable to me while reading (Sefia being able to "figure out" how to read after never seeing a book before in her life, the utter obsession with "THE BOOK"--it actually pains me to say that part but it was straight up hilarious sometimes how people talked about "THE BOOK", how educated people were even though no one knew how to read, etc.) I feel like for some people this book will be amazing, and you'll love it. I just wasn't one of those people. With dull characters and an even duller plot, I would definitely say that it's safe to skip this one. Onto the next!

Happy reading :)



  1. Great review! I had such I hopes for this one - but it looks like we felt the same way about this one...

    1. Thanks! And yeah, it had so much potential! It just fell so flat. Oh well!