The Storyteller Blogger Campaign: Hidden Messages & Easter Eggs

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Good morning fellow book dragons! I am so glad to share my blog post with you today as part of Penguin Teen’s The Storyteller Blog Tour. I’ve been a fan of Traci Chee’s The Reader Trilogy from its early beginnings, when Sefia was just discovering the legacy left for her and unraveling the secrets of the Book, when Archer was just a bloodthirsty candidate and a boy with a scar around his neck. With The Storyteller, their particular story comes to an end, and what a beautiful one it was. As always, the manuscript of this final book held many clues and fun easter eggs, and I’m here to share some of the ones I’ve noticed while reading The Storyteller! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but read on at your own risk!

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions below are my own. Photos of easter eggs within the ARC are subject to final approval and may not be designed exactly the same in finished copies.

Hidden Messages & Easter Eggs

  • The first twelve pages of the book have their page numbers cut off. Now, this could have just been error in the book binding, but nothing is what it seems with these manuscripts.

  • As with the previous two books, there is a message hidden among the page numbers located at the bottom of the pages. In The Storyteller, the message spells out, “A story as vast as the sea, but on its waters you’ll never be free. No matter your course, your future is set.” It’s a grim message, but one that Sefia and Archer have grappled with, as their destinies seem bound to the Book.

  • There are spots of faded text throughout the book. Again, what might seem like a printing error to some is actually something really significant to this book. The faded text only appears when Sefia teleports, using her mastery of Illumination. It’s as though the blinding light from using these powers caused the words to be more faint.

  • The Book also reveals passages to both Sefia and ourselves, of people in different places and in different times. Whenever Sefia is “reading from the Book,” the pages are printed differently, on what seems to be crinkled and aged paper with a gilded border.

  • On Page 140, there is a glorious little hidden treasure- a note that someone has inserted into the Book. Or maybe, since we know that the Book is somewhat sentient, the Book has written these musings itself. Either way, it’s a clear sign that the plot is escalating from here.

  • Beginning on the corners of Page 455, we start to see splatters on the edge of the pages. Gradually, they seep across the whole page and take over entire chapters at a time, until from Pages 486-491, there are no legible words on the pages at all. This is my favorite manuscript easter egg of all because it works so well with how the conflict has built up to this point and as an invested reader, the symbolism here really tugged at my emotions.

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Reading this trilogy has been an interactive experience that pulls you in with the first pages, keeps your eyes peeled for clues amongst page numbers, and doesn’t let go until the Book is finished. What a series! What a conclusion! Let me know if I’ve missed any hidden messages in the comments below, and read on for summaries of each book in the series.

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The Reader

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin's been taken, or if she's even alive. The only clue to both her aunt's disappearance and her father's murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book--a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and discover what really happened the day her father was killed--and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Readeris a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

The Speaker

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 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.

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The Storyteller

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. Full of magic, suspense, and mystery, Traci Chee brings her Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy to a close in this spellbinding final installment.][

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