If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a mega fan of The Reader Trilogy. I’ve adored each of the books, each of them carving a spot in my heart. So when I received an ARC of The Storyteller I nearly cried.
Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard’s clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy—Archer—and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety.
The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her—especially the boy she loves.
But escaping the Guard and the Book’s prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard’s will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart.
I don’t think my heart is ready to write this review. Just looking back at the summary again makes me tear up. Grant me the strength to continue and not cry again over this precious book. First off, you all have to know how emotional it’s making me to say goodbye to this fantastic trilogy. While I needed The Storyteller after The Speaker and The Reader, it’s an entirely different experience knowing this is the end. Feeling it in my hands.
Secondly, this sequel is just sheer perfection. It is not only heartwrending, but satisfying. It takes all of these brilliant plot threads and clues Chee has been spreading for the last two books and magnifies them. Develops them into bigger concepts. So many of my notes were, “OMG!” and that probably summarizes the entire review.
From the first page….
I was transported back into Traci Chee’s magical world. I remembered all those tender emotions, sharp edges, and dangers from The Reader and The Speaker. Those first words were like incense. Drawing me back into a world I’ll never forget. I remembered Chee’s illustrative and lyrical writing. The ways the writing of this book felt metaphysical, as if reading it was an actual experience. (I’ve spoken before in previous reviews about the ways the physical book has hidden secrets. Hidden sentences by the page numbers, ink marring the pages, disappearing fonts. It’s a sensory experience).
I remembered my favorite ship of all time, Archer and Sefia. These two precious characters. I’d sacrifice pieces of my heart to keep them safe. There’s Archer’s inner battle, warring halves of himself, asking himself if he has what it takes to turn away from the violence. What I love about Archer and Sefia is that they constantly struggle with a greater purpose. Their fates are written in the stars. In the ink in these pages. And they are constantly battling with it. Wondering if fate can be rewritten, if they can fight against the pull of destiny, the end of sentences.
In a world where we only want to be remembered, can we find a different purpose? One that doesn’t rely on betraying ourselves?
I can’t really talk too much about all the amazing and clever things Chee does in this novel without spoilering you. But if I thought Chee was brilliant before, this book reaches new dizzying heights. It travels through the pages to grip your heart, squeezing it in it’s grasp, to make you carry you to another level entirely. I can’t remember the last time I had to actually stop reading a book to gasp aloud.
In The Storyteller all these characters, these separate threads, come together. There are bread crumbs, little clues, sprinkled throughout that almost glow. Not only does the finale continue elaborating on the importance of stories, but it delves deeper into what it means to be a hero. Being a hero isn’t about the spotlight, or the fame, it’s about making the hard choices, betraying the people we love, sacrificing everything, for something bigger than yourself – something you might not even be able to see.
Sometimes it’s about accepting your own mortality, your own ending, of walking away from what you thought you needed. And sometimes it’s about accepting what you never thought you could.
There’s very little I can say, or want to say, without spoilering you. It’s not even only about not wanting to spoil the plot, but this is one of those books where there is an exquisite joy to reading the words for yourself. Experiencing the pages beneath your fingers. The words in your head. And the awe in your heart.
You deserve that experience. The full range of it. Because it’s unlike any experience, review, I can ever give you.
There’s a reason I adore these books so much. It’s because Chee takes these stories from the great imagination void and puts them down on paper. In stunning glory, gorgeous beauty, born from love, a celebration of reading, and an immersive fantasy experience. Let me just say, if you’ve read any her books, you’ll want this one. And if you haven’t, you need to read this series for yourself. It’s pure magic.