Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger


Goodreads: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #1
Source: Library
Publication Date: 2012


Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster’s life changes forever the day a boy appears and reveals that she’s an elf and that she can learn to control her Telepathetic abilities if she leaves her world behind to train at a magical academy.  But even as Sophie delights in the wonders of her new world, she worries about her past.  Why was she sent to live with humans?  Why is she capable of things no other elf can do?  And why does she seem to remember things she’s never learned at all?


Fans of Harry Potter may find this fantasy series just to their taste.  Set in the land of elves, the story follows young Sophie Foster as she enters her first year (as a second-year student) at a magical academy where she will learn subjects such as alchemy, multispecial studies, and Telepathy.  But, of course, danger looms on the horizon.  Sophie is different is from the rest.  She’s just not sure why.

On some levels, this book feels a little like wish fulfillment.  Sophie is, of course, supposed to be superior to the other elves because she was designed that way–for reasons no one yet knows.  However, this sometimes seems excessive.  She has a superior mind, can do multiple things no one else knew was possible, possesses multiple rare abilities, etc. etc.  Just the superior Telepathy ability would have been enough to set her apart without feeling like her character traits are becoming a little ridiculous.  Add to that her apparent beauty, her popularity, and her small group of potential boyfriends, and Sophie starts to look like that character all amateur writers are very familiar with–the character based on themselves but ten times better.

The world itself is interesting enough that it made me look past the uneven pacing.  At least half the book is simply characters explaining Sophie’s new world to her.  This means that all the action takes place very suddenly and shortly at the end.  Still, learning about the land of the elves was absorbing enough that I read the book in about two days.  I wanted to know more.  I wanted to make friends with Sophie, explore the cities, attend her unusual classes.  The next book could simply follow Sophie’s third year classes and I would be content.

On some level, I recognize that this book is a little ridiculous.  And yet, I am invested in this story.  Sophie may read like a Mary Sue, her excess of love interests may be laughable, and the promise of her very own sparkly alicorn in the sequel just makes everything ten times funnier.  But I’m here for this.  Bring on the sparkles.

4 stars

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