Categorization: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Academy Adventure
Length: 496 pages
Plans to Continue the Series: Definitely
What this story has to offer you:
A young, but wise, 12 y/o girl as the main protagonist
A cast of her friends
A magic system that utilizes light
A magical academy
Interesting foods and dress
Cute older boy (older than the protagonist, much younger than me)
Conspiracy, Revolt, & Class Division
Elves & other mythic beings living hidden from the human world
The "keepers of the lost cities" are Elves who live in the places that are hidden from human view, such as Shangri La and Atlantis--This was what initially peaked my interest in this series. The premise of the story is that humans once lived along side Elves and other magical beings, but could no longer be trusted to keep the peace. As a result, the magical beings hid themselves away from humans and we now think of them as myths. The law of the land became 'leave humans alone to destroy themselves', but all that has the potential to change when an extraordinary elf girl is found living among humans.
This book was very cute and nostalgic feeling, even though much of the themes were very current. The main protagonist, Sophie, is 12 years old. She came across as a relatively wise 12 year old and that made her a very enjoyable character for me. Sophie finds out she is an elf and that she must move from the human world to the elf world. She is willing to make the move because she has suspected that she did not belong in the human. Unfortunately, she quickly realizes that she does not fit perfectly into the elf world either. She has a mysterious ability and a mysterious past, both of which play a large roll in the story. I enjoyed the immersion into the elf world. Much of the real action in the story occurred during the last quarter of the book, but the entire read was enjoyable because of all the world building. I did feel the similarities to Harry Potter, but i do not believe it negatively affected my reading of this book. I never expect anything to be just like harry potter. But like Harry Potter, this elven world was rich with architecture, food, and different creatures, as well as, an academy, and a big cast of characters.
I like that Sophie balances her own opinion of what she believes to be right with the opinions of what the people around her wish her to do. She wants to put in some effort to belong with these people, but she will also stick to her guns when she feels it is important. She's not trying to be the lone wolf type, and i found that to be refreshing.
This book included the reality of loss and also of adoption, instead of people just simply dying and adoption just simply happening.
The magic system's use of crystals and light was cool. It had a quantum physics, new-agey, sort of feel to it, which fit wonderfully with the feel of the book.
Sophie's friends were good companions to her. They felt real in what they chose to argue over and get excited about. I also felt the way in which each character revealed information to Sophie throughout the story was well done. The characters of Fitz and Keefe were both intriguing. They each do and say things throughout the book that make you wonder what each ones endgame truely is.
There's plenty else that i liked as well, but it would be spoilery to mention them!
Read the full synopsis on Goodreads:
I thought Fitz was the boy on the cover for the longest time, woops--that's not Fitz.
Thanks for reading!
A happy Manda