What, oh what, do I say about this book? Throughout the entire 512 pages (paperback edition) I felt a bit conflicted. The exposition, where Shannon Messenger introduces her colorful fantasy world, felt forced and a bit like sensory overload. Too many facts, not enough experiences. But over the course of the book, I was slowly won over by all the fun characters and an even more enchanting world. But first! Some background on Keeper of the Lost Cities.
Keeper of the Lost Cities revolves around 12-year-old Sophie Foster, a girl who has grown up as a Telepath-someone with the ability to read minds. All her life she’s felt like an outsider, isolated by her brains and her powers. One day, a strange boy named Fitz (also a Telepath!) finds her and shows her a world full of elves, mythical creatures, and magic. Sophie learns that she is an elf, and leaves her old life behind to join a world unlike any other.
But dark things are happening. Memories are buried inside Sophie’s brain-memories that other people want, and ones that she can’t access, like why she was hidden in the human world. Dangerous people are desperate for the secrets trapped in Sophie, and she must find out the truth about herself before others find them first.
I read this because my friends were constantly begging me to start this series. I’m not sure that I love it quite like they do, but I found it an overall amusing, charming, exciting read.
My main problem was the beginning. Because Sophie has to leave her past life so abruptly, all of these seemingly random facts about Sophie’s new life get shoved into your face, without much explanation. It got annoying after a couple chapters.
What I disliked the most was the feeling that I wasn’t being given the chance to experience much of the things that Sophie was going through. Sophie’s wonder and excitement, as well as her sadness of leaving her human family behind was present, but other than that? I was frustrated that I didn’t get the same sense of fascination that Sophie did upon entering this new land. Instead, I got a bunch of questions about this universe that I didn’t feel were adequately answered until much later in the book.
I would much rather see how annoying so-and-so is first hand than be told that what’s-his-face was a jerk.
Still, this book is a great read for anyone enthralled with great world-building. The same sense of charm that is present in Harry Potter is definitely present in this book. In fact, there’s a new school that might just give Hogwarts a run for its money. (All the Potterheads rolled their eyes there, I can just feel it.)
Based on my personal opinion, I would give this book a 5.8/10, just for the first 100-200 pages. But I would still give this book a try! It was definitely a fun read.