Sunday, November 8, 2015

Book Review: Neverseen by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, page turning story
Cons: The next isn’t out yet
The Bottom Line:
Sophie runs away
In next page turning story
Rich fantasy world

Joining the Black Swan to Fight the Neverseen

I have gotten so hooked on Shannon Messenger’s Keeper of the Lost Cities series that I couldn’t wait to dive into Neverseen, the fourth book.  The fact that it is almost 700 pages did give me pause briefly, but I just set aside a larger chunk of reading time and dove in, hanging on for a wild ride.  I wasn’t disappointed.

If you are new to the franchise, the series focuses on Sophie Foster, a young teen who finds out in the first book that she is an elf.  That revelation leads her to a complete new world parallel to the human world where she’d grown up.  As she tries to adjust to her new life, she starts to learn things are not as wonderful for elf society as it first appeared.  In fact, she is a tool of the Black Swan, a resistance group that is fighting the ruling Counsel to make a more transparent society.  On the other side of the spectrum are the Neverseen, a group that wants to destroy the society and become the rulers.

This book picks up just after Everblaze, the previous book in the series, ends, and Sophie and her closest friends are running away to join the Black Swan before the Counsel can banish them.  While the Black Swan welcomes them, it isn’t to go on dangerous missions but to train in improving their abilities.  While this frustrates all of them, it is especially hard on Keefe.  Meanwhile, Sophie and Fitz work on increasing their telepathic bond, Dex begins building even more complicated gadgets, and Briana works on perfecting her vanishing.

But even in their more isolated location, they begin to hear rumors of trouble.  The biggest is a plague infecting the gnomes.  Then Sophie and her friends are given their first mission, something that seems impossible.  Are they ready?  What will success or failure mean?

My guess is if you are new to the series you are scratching your head a bit wonderful exactly what all this means.  That’s my cue to tell you not to start this series with this book.  Each story builds on the previous entry in the series, so there are major spoilers for the first three books in these pages.  Trust me, you’ll be ready for this book before you know it.

With books two and three, I’ve complained that there weren’t enough reminders for us about what has come before.  After all, it’s usually a year between books, and the details begin to grow fuzzy.  I’m thankful to say that we got enough reminders this time around so that when something important was mentioned, I was able to remember what had happened.  I needed them do, since many times I’d forgotten about that piece of the plot.

When I see a 700 page book, I often worry that there will be slow spots.  That is not the case here at all.  Everything plays a part in the story that is unfolding, and I never found my interest waning.  In fact, I usually had a hard time putting the book down.  There are a few twists before we reach the end, and while it will be a very long wait until book 5 comes out, I’m thankful to know that it is coming.  I need to know what happens next!  After some of what we learn here, I want to go back and reread the earlier books with newly enlightened eyes, too.

Because the main characters are in hiding, we don’t see quite as much of some of the supporting players in this book.  While I missed them, it gave us a much better chance to watch the rest of the cast grow, and there is plenty of character development for them over the course of the book.  We meet some great new characters as well I hope pop up again.

I’ve long loved this series since Sophie’s world is so detailed and rich.  We get to explore more of it in this book, and once again those details make things come alive.  We are also truly getting to see how complicated some issues are, and I like how those complexities are introduced and not glossed over.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Sophie deals with these complexities in future books.

Obviously, I once again enjoyed my time with Sophie and the rest of the gang.  If you are already a fan, you’ll race through Neverseen as quickly as I did.  And if you have yet to start this great series, fix that today.

Once you get started, you'll want to read the Keeper of the Lost Cities series in order.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday hosted by ... Shannon Messenger.  As I always point out, I still bought this book, and my opinion is my own.


  1. I always reread the previous book before I start the new one. Glad you didn't give too much a way. Just got my copy, but have to finish some books I've reviewing. I can't wait to dive back into Sophie's world.

    1. I wish I had the time for a reread. It would be nice, but there are too many new books calling my name.

  2. Nice review! Very complete. Thanks.

  3. I loved this book by Shannon Messenger and I whole heartedly agree with the 5 star rating.