Keeper of the Lost Cities is a children’s fantasy book written by Shannon Messenger. The book is aimed at children from 10 years and up, but the children in the book are around 12-14 years old. Keeper of the Lost Cities is the first book in a fantasy series about Sophie Foster.
Sophie Foster is a 12 year old girl who has been a telepath since she was five. She also has a photographic memory, something which has made her excel in school. But these special abilities have always made Sophie feel alone and out of place. She doesn’t really have any friends and she is so different from her sister and parents that she sometimes wonders if she was adopted. So one day, when a boy, a little older than herself, shows up claiming he is an elf, and that so is she, Sophie is surprised, but perhaps not as shocked as she should be. The elvin boy takes her with him home to see his elvin family in a magic country where having special abilities is a very common thing. Sophie feels at home at right away, but when the elves ask her to leave her human family forever and come live with them instead, Sophie is torn. Can she really leave the only family she has ever known? But if she doesn’t, how will she ever go back to being a normal human girl again?
I loved this book to pieces! The characters are wonderful and very endearing, the language flows like a dream, and the writer takes time to describe details and scenarios that spark our imagination and make the story very atmospheric. The plot reminded me again of J.K Rowling; the elvin kids go to a magical academy and much of the story takes place there. Having said that, this was not a new storyline when J.K Rowling wrote it either, so I am definitely not saying this book copies from the Harry Potter books. Rather I would say that this book is perfect for lovers of the Harry Potter series (like me). Sophie’s world is filled with magic, but also with difficult decisions, dilemmas and trials. What is different in this story is that it is more realistic in a way, I mean, the writer talks about some of the issues that we face today, of course in a symbolic way, and how those who often feel like misfits, are the ones who will have to step up and be the heroes.
I will heartily recommend this book to all lovers of the fantasy genre, children and adults alike, but perhaps especially to those who feel different, like many of the children we call “Star children” do.