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Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: The Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

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.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

I picked up Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities with high expectations. Not only had a heard very positive things about this specific novel, reviewers and readers seemed to extremely excited about her YA offering, Let the Sky Fall. I still haven't read Let the Sky Fall, but I really enjoyed this first installment of the Lost Cities books.

My favorite aspect of Keeper of the Lost Cities is the treatment of the characters. For the most part, the reader only knows as much about the characters as the main character, Sophie, who is naive due to both age and because much of her memory has been blocked by an unknown source. Sophie and, therefore, the reader, are never quite sure who can be trusted or what motivates the other characters in the novel. This novel is full of secrets, some harmless and some dangerous, but it's hard to determine which are which.

I also adored the entire concept of the "lost" cities, like Atlantis. In Keeper of the Lost Cities the places and beings that are considered fantastical myths by humans are actually real and kept hidden from prying humans. In this first book readers only get fleeting glimpses at these places, but I'm hopeful more in-depth exploration will occur in future installments. 

Though, for the most part, I liked Keeper of the Lost Cities, I did take issue with a few elements, especially those that seemed a bit too similar to the world of Harry Potter. I'm not saying that I have a huge problem with Messenger drawing inspiration from another fictional world - there weren't any exact parallels or anything like that, it was more the feel or spirit of the ideas - but I just didn't feel like some of things were executed well. For example, Sophie describes the food and medicine in these lost cities as candy-like and sweet. While these details were probably meant to be fun, I didn't feel that they were all that genuine or necessary. In fact, I found them quite distracting! Sometimes it just felt like the novel was trying too hard to be something else, when it would have been wonderful as itself!

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, Exile, which is due out October 2013!

Aladdin, October 2012, Hardcover, ISBN:  9781442445932, 496 pages.

      Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)


  1. I agree about the Harry Potter-ish elements. It's not terrible that they're there, but they didn't feel entirely authentic to the story.

    1. I definitely agree! It just didn't seem like it had a reason to be there... ya know? If the world had been more complete, like in HP, it might have just been fun detail, but it really just didn't work here.

  2. It's so disappointing when you feel novels trying to be something else than what it really is. Especially ones that are okay the way they are!

    I'm really tempted to start this (mostly because that cover is awesome), but I'm glad you enjoyed it too. Great review!

    1. It was good... I'm excited about the next one! I hope you find time to read it soon. :)


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