I received this book for free from borrowed from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Wonderful exquisite writing! You don’t have much to go on.. Because reading this was like being left in the dark. And some books don’t transition between being able to grasp your attention. Thankfully this isn’t that type of book because I was invested whole-heartedly. This was such a major journey for our main character and I was there along with her. Some questions are answered by the end, but I needed and wanted so much more. Especially how the Book came to be. Why are these people so special? What is the purpose of the Book? Or the Guard? Or even the Assassin??
Sefia trying to grasp the knowledge that was found in the Book made my heart jump for joy. Reading through a character’s eyes, and having her learn how to read was a great experience. I can’t imagine a world without books, and I really liked how the author tackled this one. There was also a lot of swashbuckling with a group of pirates that I liked. At first you’ll be awfully confused because there are sub-plots and plethora of characters, but they’re mentioned so frequently that you don’t seem to forget them. There is also a slow-burn romance which I loved. At first, I was liking the fact that they didn’t fall madly in love, and then it just changed because of what they experienced. Archer just seemed like a wonderful match for Sefia. I too enjoyed the characters and their magical powers because what was being said and what was being done confused me to no end. There’s a lot of world building questions so I’m hoping there’s going to be a second book with the answers.
I am loving the diverse POCs and even this cover, but did they really have to use a computer animated render instead of a model? Or is having a photo of a POC model on a book’s cover too much to ask? She looks too Photoshopped and it doesn’t seem to stand out. I’ve been really ripping apart books with white washed covers or lack of diverse representation, so I am sorry if I’m just being a little too critical.
Overall, I enjoyed The Reader, and as far as pirate action adventures go, this one was a great read!