Review by Ava S.

Get your copy of Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 8.5: Unlocked here

Is Keeper of the Lost Cities a middle grade book series? Yes. Do I still end up binge reading all 700-something pages of each new book every time one comes out? Also yes. 

Okay, hear me out. The Keeper of the Lost Cities series is one of those that I started reading while in elementary school, and I simply fell so in love with the whole world and characters that every time a new book comes out I have no choice but to immediately order it and probably stay up all night reading. Judge me all you want for still reading, and thoroughly enjoying, a middle grade series, but honestly I think a lot of YA readers can relate to this! I mean who doesn’t love a good Percy Jackson or Harry Potter reread? And don’t get me started on Wings of Fire (which I likewise religiously order and read every new book of as soon as it comes out…)! These books got us into reading for a reason which is why they will always be close to our hearts…

Anyway, my point is, I’m not sure if the reason I loved this latest installment of Keeper of the Lost Cities is because it was actually good, or whether it was because the book series already holds such a special palace in my heart. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the second! 

Non-Spoiler Summary:

Book 1 of Keeper of the Lost Cities starts out with Sophie Foster as a 12 year old who, though she didn’t quite fit in with the rest of her peers, at least thought she has one thing in common with them: being human. Turns out, this is super not true. She is in fact not human, but an elf, and a super crazy talented one at that. Yep, Sophie Foster has a lot of powers, more than the average elf does which was already kind of a lot, and her powers are extra strong. Sophie Foster is brought to the Elven world and for the next 8.5 books is swept away in a crazy plot full of political intrigue, secret societies, decades long hidden plots, super villains, and super great friends. And that is where we are at the start of book 8.5 – in the middle of the aftermath of a huge, magical, dangerous mess in the midst of an even huge-er, magical, dangerous mess. And that’s all I can say without spoiling anything!

BTW if you haven’t read this series before I HIGHLY recommend you do- even if you feel silly reading a series meant for elementary/middle graders. Technically that age range is just a recommendation. I can’t even quite place what it is about this series that I and so many other readers love so much, it is simply addicting (even if the dialogue is a bit cringy)! Honestly it would be a perfect, lighthearted, fun binge-read for the summer. 

However, if you have read this series, and want my thoughts on the latest installment, here it is:

  • This book is different because
    • 1. The first half includes no writing, it’s an encyclopedia for the entire world with all the different species, main characters, powers, etc explained. I think this is actually a super helpful review, or at least something for readers to look back on given roughly a year passes between each installment. My favorite section is drawings of what some of Keefe’s memories look like  (which if you recall he has been drawing looking for clues…). These also come with his own commentary on the memories. 
    • 2. This book gives Keefe’s perspective! I was actually super excited for this although to be honest I’m not exactly thrilled about his decisions… (cough cough Ms. Messenger PLEASE fix them quickly at the start of book 9! I love you but WHYYYYYY)
  • Overall I liked it, there were some really interesting plot twists and it definitely seems like Shannon Messenger is changing the game even more than she has in previous books, so if you have been getting a little bit tired of the plot seeming like it hasn’t moved a lot in recent books definitely given this one a chance 🙂 
  • Now I really can’t wait for book 9! (coming out November 8th!)

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure