The Reader by M.K. Harkins Review

I had really high hopes for The Reader… it really disappointed me.

Hunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn’t right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all – The Lost One.

She’s welcomed by most with opened arms, but not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos.

As lies, murder, and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there’s just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice. -goodreads.com summary

I received a copy of The Reader in return for an honest review. I went into the book with high hopes and really wanted to enjoy it but it just fell flat. A predictable romantic plot and boring exposition slowed the story to a crawl every time it was mentioned. In the end I can only recommend The Reader to people who are big fans of the author.

It was clear from the beginning of The Reader that this was going to be an exposition heavy book. I am personally not a big fan of heavy exposition being dumped on the reader all at once— it usually leads to boredom and confusion. With that said, I understand that urban fantasy stories need exposition to explain their world and how things work, and introducing the reader to a new world through a character with amnesia is a good idea. But I was expecting something closer to the character of Kyla in Slated and how her amnesia was used to introduce the reader to the world— slowly and through memories. Sadly, the rules of the world were simply dropped on the reader all at once, making the novel slow and boring.

Past the exposition, I found the love triangle thing to be a little off-putting. It felt weird that this ancient prophecy said that these specific people would find a soulmate and they would know that by kissing them. It is too convenient for the predictable love story— which you can guess from the first pages— and is a little out of place. About halfway through The Reader I got really excited because I thought it was about to do something different and unpredictable with the story, but it was a red herring that immediately went back to the predictable love plot that was there before.

Some life did come to The Reader through its main character Ann. She was actually a proactive character who wanted to figure things out for herself and improve her situation, whether it be with or without the help of others. I really liked her and she added to the novel. The Reader also includes many interesting plot twists and turns. Sadly, by the time I had gotten to many of those twists, I had already checked out of the novel.

Overall, I really wanted to enjoy The Reader, but I just didn’t. The exposition really bogged down the story and the romantic subplot was just off-putting. Ann was an interesting character that brought some life to the novel but it didn’t save the story. I can’t recommend The Reader unless you are a big fan of the author.

Have you read The Reader? Are you a fan of M.K. Harkins? What are you currently reading?

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