Robert’s been asking for a little bit (read: bugging- for 6 months) for me to write a post ever since I broke down and subscribed to Kindle Unlimited during my first looong break after 2 years of pharmacy school. I devour books like they’re warm cinnamon rolls, but without the mess. I might have to go back and do some of the books I read over the summer, but first on the review list is this awesome book. You’ll quickly realize I love youth books. During my first 1 week break of school, I was browsing the library shelves and stumbled across Keepers of the Lost Cities and read it in pretty much a day. I re-read it within the past weeks because book 5 is now out!! I’m on the waiting list for it, and while I want to read it now, I kinda want to read books 2-4 over again. We’ll see how this plays out.
Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities; Book 1
Author: Shannon Messenger
ROTS Setting: EU, Modern, Higher Magic, Elves
Synopsis: In this riveting debut, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world—before the wrong person finds the answer first.
Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…
But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.
But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.
Recommendation: Totally read this!
Ok. So, first things first. I have seen other series *CLAIM* that “Harry Potter fans will LOVE this series!!” That claim often falls flat. (I’m looking at you, “A Shade of Vampire” series… they should’ve replaced Harry Potter with Twilight. Just sayin’.) But for Keeper of the Lost Cities, I’d say it holds true, especially within the recommended age range (5th-8th grade).
The book starts out on a present-day field trip to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, but ends up in a place far removed from that. When Sophie finds out that she is actually an elf who has been hidden among humans, she is light leaped (the elves favorite way of traveling- like disapparating, but with some science behind it) to the stunning Lost Cities- Shangri-La, Atlantis, etc- where the elves reside. It’s a magical place with dinosaurs, imps, banshees, and other magical/extinct creatures.
Sophie is a very relatable character, while still being rather unique. She is 12 years old, not quite boy-crazy yet, is crazy smart, and has struggles like the rest of us. There are some rather predictable things in there regarding her special abilities. She can also be super annoying when she does stupid things that she’s expressly been told not to do… over and over. But, I guess that’s a 12 year old for you.
The other characters are awesome too- you can feel Grady and Edaline’s pain and love, see the popular handsome joker that Keefe is, the awful mean girl role that Stina fills so well. The teachers at the prestigious school Foxfire are really varied, and the class subjects are really neat. Alchemy, Ability detecting (which can range from being made to sit in the freezing cold or blazing hot, or having things thrown at you to see if you can deflect it with your mind), Multispecies Studies, Elementalism, Physical Education, and The Universe, among others. One little detail that I found interesting about Foxfire is that each locker is keyed to its student’s DNA, and to open it, you have to lick it. The staff take turns each week picking out the flavors, and there’s one who always makes it some random nasty flavor.
So, without going too much into the plot (beyond what the synopsis did), let me just say that the whole set-up of the elven world is fascinating, and since Sophie didn’t grow up knowing about any of it, as she learns about it, you learn about it. The plot was well-done, and as you go throughout the rest of the books, there are arching storylines that will just blow your mind. Going back and re-reading them is interesting. The ending nicely ties up some loose ends but opens up new questions as well for the next book.
Conclusion: Definitely give Keeper of the Lost Cities a try. I really enjoyed it and I think others will too. I also love how there are currently 5 books in the series. Let me know what you think!
PS. I was just looking up the author’s blog, and as of Monday, the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is sitting at #6 on the New York Time’s Bestseller Series list…. and I apparently missed her book-signing event last night. That’s what happens when I put things off, but that’s a different story.
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