Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is the first in a series of YA fantasy novels currently numbering 5. These books are easy to read, and approach the plot and setting with a childlike wonder that makes them so fun to read.
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.
Keeper of the Lost Cities is one of the first books that I read more than once purely for the fun of it. I think I read this novel 5 times in a week. I adore the simplistic writing style and the playful way that writing about young teenage characters is approached. The plot of this novel seems to flow naturally. Lots of plot points are character driven, and they are emotional reactions that are completely realistic for the situation. The author does a great job of conveying emotions in a way that makes them feel valid as opposed to over dramatized. I especially like how the plot deals with problems of mistrust and grief.
As a main character, Sophie instantly drew me in. Sure I may not be a genius with a photographic memory, but I could really relate to Sophie’s feelings of not fitting in with the others in her school. The opening scenes created a sense of mystery and established Sophie as a character with some common sense, a thing that can be hard to come by in teen characters. I also really liked how the other characters were introduced. It was easy to tell what sort of person they were going to be from their first meeting with Sophie. I especially like Keefe and the lightness that he brought to scenes.
I did like the world of this novel, the parts that were in the novel were well fleshed out. However I feel like the settings presented in this novel were reasonably safe bets. Nothing was too out of the usual human world despite the fantasy setting. I do know for a fact that this changes throughout the series and the settings become more fantastical. I also enjoyed how the setting became an active part of the plot, and wasn’t just a backdrop to certain events.
As much as I love Keeper of the Lost Cities, I know that the series gets better as it goes. I like the characters and how they grow. Along with how you easily get a feel for the different culture. As a series starter, this is a good novel and begins the series on a lighter tone in comparison to how the series ends up later on. Over all I give Keeper of the Lost Cities four stars.