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Monday, September 17, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Shannon Messenger.

A name that you should get familiar with.  She is an author, and a damn good one.

Her first book - Keeper of the Lost Cities, published by Aladdin on 10/2/2012, is quite a wonderful debut.  Chronicling the adventures of young Sophie Foster, whose world is turned upside-down in the Natural History museum, the book is a magical romp through a world of Ms. Messenger's imagination.

No, no spoilers here - that's not fair.  But I will say a few things.  First, though this is aimed squarely at the YA market, I had NO issues with the writing style at all.  It is, simply, well-written.  It romps, it rolls, and it pulls you in in about three pages.  Look, I'm a quick reader, but I finished this nearly-500 page book in less than two days (during which time I also did.. well, lots of other stuff).  Second, the characters feel real.  They are unique voices, consistent, and well-defined.  And they don't read as 'stock' characters - although Elwin does remind me quite a bit of McCoy (though that could be my background bleeding through).

Finally, and this is the big one for me - the dialogue WORKS.  You have read my stuff - I do dialogue instead of narrative.  It's how I write.  And it's what I like to read.  Well, I LOVE what Shannon did with her dialogue.  It isn't forced, it isn't stilted - it flows and moves as real speech should and does.

My ONLY quibble with the book is the setting of the academy for the world's kids.  It feels too much like Hogwarts.  Now, that isn't a terrible thing, and, given the heroine is a 13-year-old girl, I'm not sure HOW you could do a book without incorporating SOME kind of school, but it's the one bit that required a little extra 'suspension of disbelief.'  That being said...

Go get this book.  And hope that she decides to write another (and another, and another...). 

Disclaimer: Actually, no.  I won my copy in a random drawing and took about two months before I found time to read it.  (Wish I'd read it sooner, now.)  So no.  No disclaimer.  Ha!


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