Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Source: ALA Annual
Age Group: Teens
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.
I believe I picked up this book on a whim. A whim to read something in a while where I had no knowledge of what either the book nor the author. I just wanted to read a book with a clean slate. Unfortunately, I kept pushing this book further back in my to be read pile but finally got the chance to read it for one of my classes. Although the book did have a good story idea it ended up falling short for me in the end.
Continuously on the run, Sefia lives a pretty adventurous but dangerous life with her aunt. Until the day her aunt is kidnapped and Sefia sets out to rescue her with only the help of a book and a boy who doesn't speak but may be destined for great things. Two set out on an adventure where danger lurks in every corner, and as time passes the rectangular objects becomes much more than extra weight on the back but quite possibly the answer to everything.
I normally have really fantastic luck when reading books with no prior knowledge of but this was just one of those times it didn't work out that way. I think the biggest thing for me was that I either was fully involved mentally in this book or everything felt all over the place. Characters were not really sticking with me, I thought the story jumped around a lot without giving much warning, and things felt rushed.
There were definitely some secondary characters I wish I could have gotten to know more and maybe that is where the second book will come into play. I just hope this book does not fall victim to the "second-book syndrome" as most second books in series tend to do.
Sefia was a smart, tough, but vulnerable protagonist that never knew when to quit. (Great thing on my part). I really did enjoy her relationship with Archer and that even though, I am sure, they looked out for each other, there was always this hesitation that seemed to come whenever things got a little bumpy. Archer has a mysterious past that I would hope readers find out more about in the next installment.
Although this book was not for me, it does not mean it isn't for you. If you are looking for a book with adventure, action, and emotionally packed pages check out this book and see where the joys of how powerful books and more importantly reading can truly be.
I give this book 3 souls!