The Reader

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group for the arc of The Reader by Traci Chee! Sefia and her “aunt” Nin are hiding from people who want them. Sefia thinks they’re wanted because of Nin’s thievery skills. Sefia goes to a village to sell animal pelts and when she returns, Nin has been captured. The story falls back to when Sefia was younger and living with her father. He was killed and his body torn apart and Sefia had been with Nin at the time. When she returned home, she found her father’s body like this. Even though she was terrified and distraught about her father, Sefia hid as always told to, since her family expected danger eventually but never telling Sefia why. Her parents had given her three explicit instructions: use the secret doors, go through the tunnel, find Nin. At the last secret door, a rectangular object fell out, a book. She took it with her, not knowing what it was.

Many alternating points of view confused me for a while. Lon is a young man with special sight and Erastis, the master librarian, takes him in as his apprentice. Captain Reed and his ship, Current (a remarkable captain and a remarkable ship). Assassins and trackers searching for something. Sefia reads about these people and the complicated stories found in the book turn out to be real people and their actual lives.

The Reader is interesting and complex with diverse characters, 4 stars.

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