Flashback by Shannon Messenger


Goodreads: Flashback
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #7
Source: Borrowed
Publication Date: 2018


Key revelations about the Neverseen have shattered Sophie and her friends.  But the Neverseen are not even close to playing their endgame.  Instead, they continue to toy with the moonlark, trying to keep her guessing.  Sophie wonders if the answer is to become unpredictable, to do things elves were never meant to do.  Because, sometimes, there are no easy choices.

Star Divider


I have a theory that, once a writer becomes popular, editors become more lax about asking for revisions, because they know the books will sell regardless.  Reading an 830-page book where approximately 400 pages are spent with Sophie doing nothing but talking to people lends weight to my argument.  Flashback breaks all the rules of “good” writing.  But, honestly, I loved it anyway.

The interesting thing about the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is that it was meant to end with five books, but then increased to seven books, and then to nine (with another extension still possible, last I checked).  And it’s really obvious that this happened, both in the way sudden plot twists and cliffhangers are added to keep the story going, and in the way that the series has lost any semblance of an overriding plot.  Read each book jacket and you can see that no one book really has a defined plot (like, say, the Harry Potter books); the summaries always go on vaguely about secrets and danger.  But, once upon a time, I think there was supposed to be some sort of endgame, some reason Sophie is genetically modified, some way she was supposed to fight the Neverseen.  At this point, however, Sophie and her allies have no clue what the Neverseen is doing, or what their end goal is, and so they just sit around and react when the Neverseen attack something.  The series is just wandering along, indefinitely, with no indication that anyone knows what’s happening anymore.

Strangely, enough, however, I am okay with this. I enjoyed reading a book where literally half the pages are spend in dialogue, and where the second half of the book was largely taken up by a sub-plot that only belatedly became sort of relevant.  At this point, I just like spending time in Sophie’s world–and I think that’s the real draw for fans of the series.  The plot doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s all about Sophie and her friends.  (And I don’t even care about the romance anymore because I know my ship will set sail!  And I’m also pretty certain this will happen because Shannon Messenger may have accidentally written herself into a ship that was not the original plan.  But we’ll see!)

If you’re a fan of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, this book will not disappoint.  If you are not a fan of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, well, maybe it’s time to try the first book!  Aren’t you wondering how a series has managed to go on so long without any real point?  Don’t you want to laugh along with me at a series where the protagonist has at least three, probably four, love interests?  (Forget love triangles–so overdone.)  I can’t say I’ve ever read a series quite like this, one that breaks all the rules of how to write a fantasy.  But I’m loving every moment, sometimes because the books are unintentionally funny, yes, but often because I love Sophie’s world.

4 stars

5 thoughts on “Flashback by Shannon Messenger

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