by Traci Chee
After finding her father murdered, Sefia and Nin go on the run, ensuring they never stay anywhere too long or bring attention to themselves. A moment of thoughtlessness leads to the capture of the only family she has left, and now Sefia has to find a way to rescue her aunt from her captors.
Have you ever mourned a book while reading it? I will never be able to read this trilogy for the first time again, and it is a devastating truth I have to live with. The books sat on my shelf while I read those around it, placed new ones next to them, and took old ones off. They waited patiently, knowing that when I finally turned to the first page, they would leave me in ruins. I lived within the trilogy for the past few days and was overcome with grief as I turned the page to find only acknowledgments waiting. Words are not enough to describe this set of books that now own me. Traci Chee is nothing short of amazing.
Sefia’s journey to finding her way home, to finding the people who love her and will come to love her is wrought with heartache, betrayal, and self-discovery. Her compassionate nature and unwillingness to admit defeat encourage her to repeatedly rise to the occasion, saving those around her even as selfishness manifests itself. She is faced with decisions that force her conscience and her heart to do battle, choosing the many or the few–a theme present throughout the trilogy. Even as I gaze forlornly at the books that destroyed me (and make me want to yell at Traci Chee), I feel privileged to have been part of Sefia’s journey.
Chee is a gifted writer and immersed me into a richly detailed world filled with an array of characters who burrowed themselves into my favor, even when they might have annoyed me at first. The secondary characters contributed to building the world with their additional insight, especially in spaces Sefia was not privy to, helping to make it more complete. Over the course of reading A Thousand Steps into Night and now completing The Reader trilogy, I have grown to admire Chee’s writing. It’s her attention to detail I am particularly fond of. Readers have to pay attention to everything. Details may seem innocuous at first, but she always finds ways to return to something that was easily glossed over. You might not know what and you might not know when, but sooner or later it happens.
The trilogy is an experience. When you turn to the first page, you’ll know what I am referring to. I want those thinking about reading the trilogy to experience it the way I did, with not much to go by but the book blurbs. If you love pirates and adventure, or if you enjoy books about books, you’ll want to read this trilogy. Then when you’re finished, you will need a day or two to collect the shards of your heart.
“You miss a man so much.”