The Reader is a new series by Traci Chee and features a girl who lives in an illiterate society where books are magical and maybe the only way to figure what happened to her family.
“Hello. 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. And once you know to look for signals in the smoke, for secrets in the sea, then you understand what it is to read. This is a book. You are the reader. LOOK CLOSER. There’s magic here.”
So begins the stunning debut novel from Traci Chee, The Reader (on sale: September 13, 2016), the first in a literary fantasy series set in a world where reading does not exist. The Reader plays with the idea of a book as an object of power, layering in hidden messages and clues throughout the text.
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive.
The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book — a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and discover what really happened the day her father was killed–and punish the people responsible.