Recently I met Shannon Messenger, author of the middle grade Keeper of the Lost Cities series and the Sky Fall series for young adults. Shannon is a delight and her stories are so wonderful. It was a genuine pleasure to meet her and hear about her books for both groups. Shannon is an accomplished artist and really helps us to never let go of our love for magical things in life. Her characters learn that belonging isn’t as important as being genuine and realizing their true value.
Shannon gave me great swag (photo below) for two lucky winners of this month’s drawing and I’ve added in two $15 Amazon gift cards (U.S. only please) to be selected from those who sign up to receive Thorn & Vine blog.
My Keeper of the Lost Cities review is below, and you can see more on my Goodreads reviews HERE.
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is an extraordinary fantasy/mystery that feels like the movie Sky High (about superheroes’ children in a flying academy in the sky) meets Percy Jackson with a special sprinkle of Elfish lore. And while I’ve rated it a 5, I’d really prefer creating a special category called “oh, so much more” for this one.
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster kept her abilities to hear others’ thoughts a secret until one day she meets a boy named Fitz who also can read minds. She learns that her presence is actually threatening her human family and she’s not human, but an elf. No, not the Santa elves that may come to mind, but ones that have amazing abilities and can travel in unusual ways. She leaves on an adventure to escape evil forces and uncover the roots of not only her skills, but her very existence.
Shannon Messenger’s work is well written, has great character development, is punctuated with on-point middle-grade appropriate humor, and takes you to so many amazing lands lost to the sands of time. As a gem-lover, I appreciate her settings and the fun way she incorporates animals into the story, too.
It’s very rare that you come to the end of a story and have that angst between needing to finish, because the suspense and plot are so well constructed, and yet wishing it wouldn’t end quite yet because you’ve enjoyed the characters and plot so much. It’s a high-flying adventure in many lands, touching on the special abilities of telekinesis. I appreciate that all the emotional angst and lessons are very appropriate for middle grade on up, and how she’s impersonated the battle of good and evil without crossing the line like so many authors do. You get the sense of tension without staying tangled in the darkness and left without hope.
Shannon Messenger is a master storyteller for her age group, and this debut is excellent for audiences 10 and up. Keeper of the Lost Cities is definitely in a league of its own.
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned–among other things–that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and film production, but realized her real passion was writing stories for children. She’s the bestselling author of the middle grade series, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, and the SKY FALL series for young adults. Her books have been featured on multiple state reading lists, published in numerous countries, and translated into many different languages. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.
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