The Speaker

A book is "dangerous and beautiful... as all the best weapons are." Readers return to Kelanna, a world of magic, pirates, prophesied war and forbidden books in The Speaker, book two of the Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy by Traci Chee (The Reader). Archer and Sefia escaped five days ago from the Guard, the secret society working to gain control of all of Kelanna. While on the run, Sefia tries to reconcile memories of her beloved parents with the newfound knowledge that they had been powerful members of the Guard. For reasons unknown to Sefia, they defied the secret society and stole the Book--"a record of everything that had ever been or would ever be." The Book, Sefia learns, is a "fickle oracle," showing various events past, present and future, though not always what she specifically requests.

Archer's memories have been restored but they do nothing to quell the nightmares of the boys the impressors made him kill. Instead, his memories lead to new levels of violence as he and Sefia work to save the other kidnapped boys of Kelanna. While Archer amasses a following, Sefia wonders if the Book will save them or if it is using them for its own purposes.

The Speaker builds heavily on the momentum of the first novel. Chee's world-building is impressive, using the Book to grow and develop the world's history and the stories of Sefia's parents. Familiar characters return and new players are introduced, including Kaito, a bloodthirsty survivor of the impressors, and Eduoar Corabelli II, the Lonely King of Corabel and last surviving member of a royal family cursed for generations. Brilliantly engaging, The Speaker is a mesmerizing installment in a notable series. --Kyla Paterno, former children's and YA book buyer

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