Publisher's Note:  

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and the secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G. P. Putnam's Sons

The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold Book 2)

by Traci Chee

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Overall Review:  

The Speaker is the second book in the Sea of Ink and Gold series. Picking up directly where book one, The Reader, left off, this story follows the main characters, Sefia and Archer, on their quest to eradicate the Impressors, a group of people charged with abducting and training boys to become killers in gladiator-style fights.

I really like the magic element in these stories. The idea of having an Illuminated world which is only visible to those with the Sight to see it is really cool, and the neat element of having books and words be power is pretty awesome. I also felt that the story was overall smoother and more engaging than the first book. I didn't care for the gay element that appeared.; it seems to be obligatory for new books these days to introduce these plotlines, and I find them tedious and slightly over the top. Aside from that, though, The Speaker was much more engaging than The Reader.  Both Sefia and Archer really grew as characters, and I liked Archer's struggle with the ever-growing violence inside himself that he has to contend with. 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 derogatory name; 1 scatological word; 2 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore:  Numerous instances of violence, including but not limited to: Report of a character being scarred with deliberate burns; a character often has flashbacks and memories of his time as a gladiator-type slave, and is haunted by the many deaths he caused; a character kills someone with a rock; characters discuss an assassination plot; many instances of skirmishes and battles, with description of violence, but not overly gory; a character loses her sight; a character relates the violent death of a boy by a shot to the head; a character gives poison to another; a character's family is said to be cursed with death; report of slaughter by boys against their once-upon-a-time captors; characters often discuss battle strategies and ambush tactics; in an extended scene, characters ambush trained men, and there is much description of violence and death by stabbing, shooting and beating (not overly violent); characters burn their dead on a pyre; characters engage in sea warfare; characters often violently engage in training exercise, with incursion of injuries; a character suffers from frequent nightmares of past violence; report of abusive beating of a minor; multiple characters get tattoos; boys occasionally argue and fight, both verbally and physically; some instances of reports on past deaths; grieving characters fight over the death of a friend; a boy shoots his friend; in an extended scene; characters are ambushed and taken prisoner, a character is tortured, a female assassin kills a man and a male and female character set fire to a chamber (somewhat disturbing imagery); a character reveals a scar at her throat; characters are often threatened by others; a character recalls her best friends' betrayal and eventual deaths; in an extended scene, characters are ambushed and a character shoots someone with a gun, then two characters engage in hand to hand combat, with both characters receiving cutting wounds from edged weapons, and one character cuts off another's hand; a character reads a tale foretelling violence and bloodshed; a character finds the boy she loves beaten and bound to a chair; a character is threatened and cut with a knife; a male character confesses the violent history of the last few years of his life to a female character

Sex/Nudity:  (Note: Be aware there are gay/lesbian relationships in this book, if you have a sensitivity to that particular lifestyle.) A female character lies on a male character to calm him down and quiet him; a boy and girl often embrace; a male character feels his fingertips burn where he touches a girl; a character imagines caressing the girl he loves; characters are reported to strip dead bodies; a boy and girl occasionally hold hands; a character wears a shirt that reveals his chest; a male character touches another male character's hand; a character is said to like a good tumble with a girl as much as any boy; a male character realizes he is in love with another man; a boy runs his hand down a girl's arm; two men kiss; a boy and girl occasionally kiss; a character strips down to his "braies"; a man kisses a woman's fingers; a man kisses a girl's cheek; characters occasionally flirt, kiss, and caress; two men get intimate with fondling and kissing, etc.; a boy and girl occasionally passionately kiss and caress each other; characters (both male and female, and male and male) recall past romantic moments with the person they love; two men discuss their feelings for each other; a character is stripped of his clothing (not sexual); a man and woman are said to have been lovers; character joke about getting naked with each other; a male character sometimes thinks about the girl he loves; two woman are implied to be in a relationship; two women say they love each other; two men share a parting kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Murder, assassination, death of friends, amnesia, nightmares, child abuse, torture, threat of war.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Underage kids sneak sips of cordial; characters drink coffee; underage kids drink liquor at a celebratory bonfire; men drink whiskey; character mention drinking whiskey; boys and girls drink whiskey; boys get drunk; characters serve alcohol; characters drink hard liquor on a ship. 

Reviewed By Katrina
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