4.5 starsFull disclosure: I do, in fact, know Shannon in real life and met her before I read Keeper of the Lost Cities; however this is my professional opinion of her work.
Despite the fact that I don’t read middle grade that often (I’ve only read a handful of MGs), and the fact that I don’t particularly care for third person POV, Shannon Messenger’s debut middle grade, Keeper of the Lost Cities, has been one of my favorite reads of the year. Messenger writes a story that children will find adventurous and thrilling, while throwing in witty remarks that adults will pick up on. And though the first 50 pages were a little hard to get into (understanding the background, being told new information, getting situated), once you’re past the beginning, you are in it to win it.
The world building in this book is absolutely wonderful. Similar to Harry Potter, we see into the classes of these special children – and what makes it even better is that the reader is given so much information about the classes – tests, homeworks, finals – which makes the world come to life. One world-building aspect that I liked very much was the different settings – the school, other places (no spoilers!), and OUI, PARIS. By taking us to different places, the world was expanded and I felt like I was right there along side of Sophie.
Yes, this is definitely written for a younger audience but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Like I stated before, I don’t really read middle grade, but if this is what MG is made of, then sign me up for more. Keeper of the Lost Cities was almost 500 pages and I wanted more. This book is fun, adventurous, and imaginative. I can’t wait to see what awaits Sophie and the gang in the next book.
If you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling and/or Rick Riordan, you’ll definitely want to pick up Keeper of the Lost Cities!