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The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, Book 1)

by Traci Chee

Published by Putnam, 2016
442 pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-17677-7

13 and older

Sefia is on the run, in possession of a rectangular object with small marks that the group who kidnapped her honorary aunt is searching for. She has vague memories of her late mother showing her such markings and explaining they stand for sounds. Sefia finally decodes them and learns “this is a book.” Reading its stories she especially enjoys ones about Captain Canek Reed, his colorful crew, and their adventures. In a moment of peril, Sefia and Archer, a mute boy she freed from captivity, are rescued by legendary Captain Reed in the flesh. When Sefia finds herself in the book, she understands it’s a living thing, and an object of immense power. Memory and possibility overwhelm her as she realizes her parents died to keep it in hands they trusted. Meanwhile, Lon, the apprentice librarian in a guild striving to achieve peace among the kingdoms of Kelanna, is intrigued by the young woman who is the guild’s Second Assassin. Their work involves both skill and magic. They train intently while defying their teachers by becoming close. Accomplished world-building and rich characterizations distinguish an intricate, action-packed fantasy following several storylines that converge. This first book in a trilogy considers big questions, including how decisions made to serve the greater good may defy their best intentions. Reveals in the final chapters clarify the complex timeframe of a story to be continued. (Age 13 and older)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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