Yay! It's Keeper of the Lost Cities Fandom Day! And in honor of one of my favorite MG series, I'm going to do the proper thing for a Fandom Day and fangirl a little. Well, actually, I'm just going to tell you why you should add KOTLC and its sequels (Neverseen coming out this fall!) to the top of your TBR list.
I first came across KOTLC at the library (fortunately for me about a week just before Exile was released) while philandering in the MG section and bumming that they were out of Artemis Fowl. Big thick MG with gorgeous cover about magic schools and girls who can hear other people's thoughts? Yes, please!
Keeper of the Lost Cities stars Sophie Foster, a 12-year-old high school senior who is hailed as a genius in her home city. But she has a secret: she can hear other people's thoughts. All the time. So when she meets a strange boy with the same so-called "gift," and he tells her that she's an elf from the lost lands of vanished magical races, she's not sure whether she's just officially going crazy, or if she's actually part of an entire society that needs her help. Enrolled in the elves' top school, she proves herself a despised "special snowflake" there, too. But there might be more behind her seemingly unending abilities. Someone may have tampered with her powers, and for their own dark purposes...
Okay, so at first it probably sounds like it's a girl's version of Harry Potter minus the witchcraft. Girl is amazing, has connections with the possible bad guy, goes to magic school, etc. But it's a lot more than that.
This book did something that no other has for me. Every single page was interesting. Not one had me bored or drifting off, and yet it wasn't that exhausting, Maze Runner sort of being sucked in. Also, unlike most fantasy, things had a general cheerful mood. Sure, awful stuff happens, but there was always hope and support and sparkle.
I've heard some complaints that the characters acted more like teenagers than 12-year-olds (well, for one thing most of them are teenagers and not 12-year-olds), but this story brought me right back to being twelve. There were so many things I would've loved at that age, like hallways full of prize-carrying bubbles and flavored locker combinations and magical animals and talking mirrors and fancy clothes. I also was intrigued by Sophie's struggles with being the uber-special, super-extraordinary
And of course, as those in the fandom know, there's Dex, Fitz, Keefe, and Biana. Dex is sweet and technologically obsessed, Keefe is the undefeated master of snarkastic remarks, Biana is a refreshing reminder that girly-girls are awesome, too, and, well, as a adamant member of Team Fitz, I'd probably just say something biased about him. And the rest of the cast is large, well-rounded, and thoroughly entertaining.
Sometimes the series does get a little sugary, but that's coming from a big fan of N.D. Wilson's and James Dashner's hardcore mud and sludge and grime-coated, boy-oriented worlds. Sometimes things do get a little confusing, and you get annoyed with characters for running in circles, but needless to say, compared to most MG novels in its category, KOTLC stands out, and well-deservedly. I'd highly recommend it for any readers 10+, but especially for girls who want something more up their alley that's not super-princessy but not overly gritty and dark, either. That said, however, I've hooked a number of boys onto the series as well, for the same reasons I loved the book.
Oh, here's some fan art I drew awhile back (like, a year ago) while waiting for Everblaze to be released. And yes, fellow fans, Sophie is holding Pink Iggy.
Now I'm curious. Fellow KOTLC fans, which "team" are you on?