Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) by Shannon Messenger
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Publisher: Alladin Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5/5 Stars) Synopsis:
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.
I went into the first book of this series knowing nothing except for that A. It has an AWESOME illustrated cover B. It’s middle grade and C. The main character has telepathic abilities. What I was kind of expecting was an entirely new fantasy world with no connection to the real world, but what I got was a super cool fantasy world hidden inside of the real world, which I personally like so much better. I love to have enough “grounding” in the real world so that the fantasy really fits in well in my mind and feels more real. Does that make sense?
Also, another awesome thing that the summary completely failed to mention is that these aren’t just humans with powers. Nope, it’s all elves along with members of other mythical species. And the kids all go to elf magic school. It’s so great. Serious heart eyes going on here.
And the story gets so much deeper. So, so, so much deeper. Governments that are trying their best but don’t really know what to do and conspiracies and rebel groups (yes I said multiple) and so much plot and action.
Another great thing is the characters and the friendships/familial relationships. For one, Sophie, the main character is so great. She has so many problems and strengths and weaknesses and is basically the perfect middle grade heroine. She has tons of super fleshed out and complex friends ranging from her classmates to adults she’s working with. That’s right, adults. A middle grade novel where they don’t totally disappear and the kid characters have strong relationships with their parents and their teachers and basically everyone that it makes sense that they would have strong relationships with. (And this goes way beyond the usual ‘Oh no I need to save my parents.’)
I’m not going to say that the world building is entirely unique, but it still was absolutely fantastic. So many great systems put into place from government to magic, and there are so many different types of magic/technology added in and just so much detail and greater things that are only hinted at.
I really, really like this book, and if you like action and adventure middle grade stories you should read it along with the other two books in the series. A fourth one will be published in November of this year and I need it so much right now.