27.5.16

Book Blurb Breakdown: The Reader by Traci Chee

book blurb breakdown


Book Blurb Breakdown is a Sarcasm & Lemons feature where your anal English degree-holding author (gently) rips apart jacket blurbs to pin down what makes her want to pick up the book instantly--and what makes her want to throw it at the wall.  See the original post for more detail.  

If you'd like to do a breakdown, here's a snazzy little button!  Post your link in the comments. 







today's blurb



Status:  Unread


the blurb: as is 

from Goodreads


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 find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible. 


the blurb:  shredded 



Sefia knows what it means to survive. (Sort of generic first line. Meh.) After her father is brutally murdered, (Okay, brutally murdered. We like brutally murdered.) she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. (What was she before, that she didn't know these things? I kind of want a sense of how much she's lost.) But when Nin is kidnapped, (Damn, this girl has bad luck.) leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. (This sentence is just oddly worded.  Too long, maybe?  I'd also like to get a sense earlier that the murder and kidnapping are connected.) 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 (Comes to realize?  Does a dictionary hit her in the head?) is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise (You don't need otherwise.) illiterate society. (Despite the clumsy beginning, this part really grabs me.  A world without books! OMG THE HORROR. I can't wait to see what Chee does with it.) With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own (Where the hell did he come from? Also, obvious romance. Sigh.), Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.  (Okay, this last sentence is definitely too long.  And lacking oomph.  Rescue.  Find out.  What happened.  Punish.  It's just lackluster.)   


the verdict 

2/5 stars
would i read it?:  yes 


This is a case where the content sold me more than the blurb.  If there wasn't that one detail--a book being a mysterious object in an illiterate society--I'd have passed right away.  Without the book thing, it's just another story about a girl who ends up on her own, trying to find her family and obviously falling in love with a mysterious stranger.  The book element makes it fresh and intrigues me enough that I'll read.  But the blurb itself is vague and a little clumsy.  Some of the sentences are too long.  There isn't enough unique detail.  You could slap most of this blurb onto several dozen other books and still be accurate.  There's also no distinctive voice.  Plus, the last line is just a bit draggy, where it should be clinching the reader's interest.  I just hope that the pages inside are a lot prettier and more exciting than the copy.    


your thoughts

Does this blurb grab you?  
Do you agree with my thoughts?  If not, how so?  
Have you read it?  Does the blurb match the pages? 
Do you have any recommendations for blurbs I should shred?  

 



2 comments:

  1. I read this book last month, and I loved it. I will admit, I am not a huge blurb person, but I am a cover-ho. This is my first (but not my last) page visit, and this feature is awesome. I wish I could remember what blurb I read recently that made me go "WTF", but I cannot (I have a severe case of CRS).

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  2. Oh, this is my favorite feature of yours. I think, I'm pretty sure I've said that about another one. Anyway, a TON of these sentences are too long. It's like the writer was trying to fit as much "information" into as few sentences as possible. Strong dislike. I agree about the book element being unique, otherwise it is a total "Teen's left on her own, has to survive, meets guy, has to go find family/get revenge/overthrow someone".

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