Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Publication Date: October 2nd 2012

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

My thoughts & feelings …

My goals for this month were to read the books I’ve been desperate to get to all year long. Because I’m terrible at following through, even with my own plans and goals, I instead picked up the first book of a longgg middle-grade series I’ve heard about but only ever thought about reading in passing. Why am I like this?

The worst part is that I can’t even be too mad at myself for not staying on track because this book was just so damn fun. It’s taking everything in me not to spend the last two months of the year just binging this series.

This novel follows Sophie who’s not you’re typical twelve-year-old girl, for one thing she’s incredibly gifted, even by human standards and for another … well it turns out she’s not human at all but actually an elf. Whisked away to the world of the elves, Sophie must attend school and learn to navigate this whole new world while also trying to get to the bottom of who she is, where she came from, and why she was abandoned to the human world.

What I loved most about this book was Sophie. A couple of years from now I’m giving this book to my little sister and forcing her to read it whether she wants to or not (which is going to be a feat let me tell you because even at 7 years old that girl can’t be forced to do anything). She was everything you’d expect from a main heroine – strong, intelligent, the one mystery girl with powers that defy even the laws of magic. She was also emotional which I feel like the heroes of these sort of stories are never allowed to be! I loved how the author allowed Sophie to mourn what she’d lost despite now being part of this magical society.

I also really enjoyed all the side-characters. I know for a fact that I’m going to stick with this series for the long haul even if it takes me forever because I want to see them all grow, see how their dynamics change throughout the course of the series and the course of their life. My favourite side character was probably Dex.

The world building was also really great. It’s what it says on the cover – we’re introduced to Lost Cities like Atlantis, for example, lands that have been cut off to the humans but still very much exist. I also appreciated the cool blend of traditional fantasy-world values with modern meets magic technology which made things feel more unique and special.

Despite this just being the first book of what I think is going to be a 10 book series, you realy get thrown into the action quite quickly. Sure the first 100 or so pages are devoted to necessary world building and establishing the backstory, but throughout the novel you see Sophie go through so many ups and downs – some magic related, others that are relatable to anybody and everybody that has ever been 12 years old – and by the end you have a list of questions and mysterys that you’re just as eagre to solve.

Overall I loved this book. I worry sometimes that because I’m now 20 (ugh) I won’t have that same love for middle-grade or sometimes even YA stories which is heart-breaking because it’s the only place you can find stories like this, but reading Keeper of the Lost Cities gives me hope that my enjoyment won’t die anytime soon. Genuinly cannot wait to dive deeper into this series come the new year.

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