Guest Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

Title: The Reader
Author: Traci Chee
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Hardcover, 442 Pages
Published September 2016

Summary: efia 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.
Today on the blog we have a guest review from Lili over at Utopia State of MindShe was kind enough to stop by and review The Reader and share her thoughts on it (and she was SUPER excited to), and we couldn't be more excited to have her here as our guest reviewer for today! So without further ado, let's get into it!

I was absolutely entranced by The Reader from the very first pages. Chee not only lures us into this magical world with exquisite words, but also treats us to a visual feast. There are words hiding throughout the book, not to mention stunning touches throughout that make the words come alive. This book is immense beauty incarnate. Especially for all the bookworms out there.

But what utterly captivated me was Chee’s writing. The premise is enchanting and moving. Chee’s writing is complicated, but mesmerizing, as we are drawn into her web. There were so many times I thought I had things figured out, only to be surprised. By the end, there’s this total sense of satisfaction about the intricate threads that have come together and you have to stop and take a moment to relish in the sense of awe.

Not only are we exposed to those tender moments of discovery, but also the reality that these very treasured books are vulnerable to the elements. I’m haunted by a quote from Doctor Who, “You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! Best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself”. That may have been the moment I fell in love with David Tennant. But how aptly said. The Reader demonstrates time and time again the immense power of books to irrevocably change our life. They introduce hope, possibility, and the comfort that our lives have been remembered.

(There’s an absolutely tender exploration of a world without literature, without the possibility to be remembered in print. It seems so common sense to us, but it is the human plight to want to be remembered. When we can only rely on our legends, so susceptible to memory, to embellishment, to theft, it feels overwhelming in the face of the abyss. But with the comfort of words, we are presented with a concrete proof of our existence. These words are beautiful because they offer us the possibility of memories, pasts, ghosts, and recognition. They offer us a shred, a brief hope, that we are not alone. That we won’t be forgotten. A shred of paper that is proof of our brief spark of existence in the infinite cosmos).

At the same time, they are a formidable tool which can be used both for good and evil depending on the hands and words. They are entirely subject to the elements, at least the physical books of my heart. Subject to water and fire, they have historically been burned, drowned, and destroyed in acts of war and resistance. I should have known I would fall instantly heads over heels with a book that embodies the spirit of reading.

Characters – Be Still My Heart!
I am absolutely in love with Sefia and Archer, the mysterious boy Sefia meets. Their friendship is one of my favorite parts of the book as it relies on trust, support, and acceptance. But even more so, I was in love with each of the characters really, even Tanin. They are lifelike, bursting with color and flair, impressing themselves into your mind and memories. Immediately after finishing, you want to dive right back in and spend some more time with them, and you’re in luck since The Speaker comes out later this month.

Reading becomes an experience, one that is thrilling and makes you remember the first book you held in your hands. Chee transports you back to that moment of wonder, stepping through this glowing door into a world that has been forever changed – a world of possibility and legacy. If you love reading or feel passionately in the indescribable power of literature, this is the book you need in your life.

We'd like to once again thank Lili for stopping by The Book Bratz today to post this guest review. You can read the original review over on her blog by clicking HERE!

** Psst! Interested in guest reviewing on The Book Bratz? Shoot us an email at or DM us on Twitter (@thebookbratz) and we'd love to have you!


  1. I love when an author has such an enchanting way of writing. The one author for me who has that is Carlos Ruiz Záfon.
    This sounds like a great book and I will add it to my TBR. I also LOVE the cover.

    Great guest-post! :)

  2. I have been meaning to read The Reader for a while! It reminds me a little bit of Fahrenheit 451, but more friendly to audiences outside the realm of classics.

    But, yeah, as a reader and book blogger I can't imagine a world where you don't read anything. Nowadays, everyone claims that reading "is dying" and will "eventually fade away" but that severely underestimates how much reading a person does on a daily basis. Not everyone is reading a novel a day, but everyone reads something, an article, newsfeed, or post, everyday.

    Anyway, I am glad that there are books out that that can truly show the eternal magic of books! Thanks for the great review!

    Tessa @ Crazy for YA


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