Summary: Books hold stories, knowledge, and magic. In Kelanna, where people have long been illiterate, Sefia is in possession of one, and she knows she shouldn't have it. Having spent her life on the run with her Aunt Nin after the murder of her father, she knows that the book, and her ability to read, is a dangerous secret.
But when their pursuers finally track them down and take Nin, Sefia has to finally make sense of the book and rescue her aunt. As she follows the trail leading to the dangerous pirate Serakeen, her quest connects her to other pirates, assassins, and a boy she calls Archer, who has a dangerous history himself. As they get closer and closer to their goal, they realize that maybe the stories in the book aren't just stories after all, and that their fates are more intertwined than they thought.
Thoughts: I originally received a digital ARC of this book from First to Read, but to be honest, it took me so long to get through it that the license granted expired, and I had to wait to buy the book in order to finish it.
Why did it take me so long? Because for most of the book, the pacing is quite slow. Deliberate.
It's not a bad thing, but it's definitely not what I'm used it. It's a very rich, dense book, and now that I've finished it, I am looking forward to rereading it to pick up on the details that I missed or was unable to contextualize the first time - it's THAT sort of book. Also, since I ended up purchasing the hardcover copy rather than an ebook, I noticed that there were some interesting details, such as tiny words printed next to the page numbers at the bottom or ink splotches or hidden words - I love that sort of thing, and I'm looking forward to investigating further.
I liked this book, but I wanted to like it more. I like it enough to decide that I will definitely reread it as well as read its sequels. But in truth, I didn't feel "gripped" by it until the last 25% or so.