Sophie Foster is a twelve-year-old girl living in an unremarkable family in an unremarkable city. While authorities search for an arsonist, the fires surrounding the city cast a smoky pall over everyone’s existence, threatening homes and lives.
After a bump on the head when she was five Sophie became telepathic, hearing people’s thoughts in a bewildering cacophony of sound. It reinforces her feelings of not quite fitting in with her family and schoolmates, so she keeps this unique ability a secret from everyone. When weird and unexplained incidents involving Sophie occur Sophie’s parents try to suppress media coverage in an attempt to protect Sophie and keep their lives as unremarkable as possible. However this eventually proves impossible.
A handsome teenager with a similar telepathic ability convinces Sophie that she is in fact an elf and transports her to the land of elves to convince her. After much anguish Sophie chooses to live permanently in Lumenaria, embracing her elvish capabilities and attending a Hogwarts-style academy for young elves. Over time she settles into her new life becoming an accepted and popular member of a group of friends who accept her strange background and support her through the trials of the school year. Her guardians, Grady and Edaline, run a sanctuary and train extinct and mythical animals, so Sophie is introduced to all manner of beasts, ranging from cute to deadly. She also begins to control her telepathic powers and discover other talents as well. It seems that even in this world she is totally remarkable.
Sophie is obviously curious about her background and in her efforts to discover more she stumbles upon a number of mysteries that take her down some very adventurous and dangerous paths. There are links from the elvish world to the fires in her old life and she fears for her family. Fortunately her friends and some of her mentors step up to support her and provide advice or companionship at times of crisis. There are dark forces at work everywhere around her and Sophie is kidnapped, drugged and hidden.
Will she escape the kidnappers? Will she learn to master her powers? Who can she trust? What is the aim of a shady secret society? Are they on the side of good or evil?
Sophie is a strong female character – a smart and enthusiastic student, learning to overcome her fears and depend on her own abilities. She is challenged by the transition to her new reality but finds joy in the small comforts of home such as a cuddly pet, a soft toy, her iPod and the photograph album from her old life. She is a child on the cusp of teenagehood and faces the same challenges as other young people of that age.
Her peers and mentors motives are not so clearly defined, and in this book we see them being tested for loyalty, courage and honesty. There are close brushes with evil forces, excruciating pain, death, secret organisations and anonymous enemies. There are also hints of a destiny for Sophie that set some expectations for the sequel.
Author Shannon Messenger has won numerous awards for “The Keeper of the Lost Cities” series and the “Skyfall series”. Drawing on her background in cinematic arts, she writes fast-paced adventure stories that have featured on New York Times bestsellers lists and proven popular in many countries around the world. This first book in the “Keeper of the Lost Cities” series was first released in 2012. Shannon has written eight books in this series: the eight book is due for release next month.
This series is perfect for fans of Harry Potter and any reader 10+ who is looking for a series that will draw them in to a fantastic world of wonderful characters and creatures. We’ve reviewed the first book to introduce the series to new readers. There’s no doubt her loyal fans will be pre-ordering their copy of Book 8 as there is plenty of buzz!