Keeper of the Lost Cities is an absorbing read which has a richly imagined world, an intriguing plot full of complexity and twists, and a wonderful cast of characters.
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster is unpopular with her peers, is a child prodigy and has the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her, all of which make her life difficult. However, her life is changed forever when she meets Fitz who takes her to one of the Lost Cities where she makes the life-changing discovery that she is not human. She is an elf who has been brought up by a human family in one of the Forbidden Cities, but why has she now attracted the interest of the elves … and why are white fires burning in her City?
So begins her incredible journey … a journey into discovering more about herself and her amazing abilities; into finding true friends and a new family; and, into danger, intrigue and heartache. It was just wonderful to follow Sophie into her new life …
She is tested before an Elven Council, and qualifies to go to the prestigious Foxfire Academy where her rare telepathic ability can be nurtured, but must also be kept hidden from all but a few. Once there, she makes some wonderful new friends – Fitz, Dax, Marella, Biana and Keefe – who are ready to support, tease and welcome her – even if there is some friction between them! Despite where the friendships start and any difficulties and awkwardness within them, when it matters, they are all there for Sophie.
Sophie soon finds herself in the heart of an intrigue as she discovers that she has hidden memories, that secrets are being kept from her and that she may unwillingly be involved in a conspiracy between rival elven factions: a conspiracy that leads to her breaking the law, seeking out secrets, and which puts her life in danger as she fights to help the family she has lost.
I found Sophie a very sympathetic protagonist. She has a lot to deal with as she loses one family and dreams of belonging in another – this is the thread in the story which brought tears! She is determined to discover more about her complicated past and to make the right decisions, even when this lands her in trouble. Even though she has an inner strength and courage, she suffers self-doubt, embarrassment and awkwardness as she tries to fit into new her elven life.
This is the first book in the series to be released in the UK and is just perfect for older middle-grade readers. The series has already been released in the USA and currently consists of eight books.
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster UK for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.