Unlock Something Different – and Special – with this Book
It’s been months since Shannon Messenger announced she would be releasing something different this year. Yes, she has released another book in her Keeper of the Lost Cities series. However, Unlocked is being promoted as book 8.5 in the series. While non-fans won’t enjoy this book, fans will love it. I know I did.
Here’s a brief reminder about this wonderful series. It stars Sophie Foster, who was raised by humans until she learned she was an elf. But she’s a very special elf designed to help her world overcome flaws many are trying to ignore. Unfortunately, that has led her to plenty of danger as she learns who in her new world she can trust. Along the way, she’s made some wonderful friends and been adopted by two wonderful elves.
If you are looking at pure page count, you won’t be disappointed. This is another long book, weighing in at 750 pages. But instead of being all story, the first 500 pages are a guide to the series. We get character descriptions, as collected and written by the Council. There are profiles of the Councilors. We get a map of the Lost Cities (which blew my mind). We learn about the other species in the series. There are descriptions of animals and plants, a couple of fun quizzes, three recipes, and so much more.
If you are thinking, “This sounds like great background before I jump into the series itself,” again, I’m going to caution you to not do that. This book assumes you know what has happened in the previous 8 books, so there are some pretty significant spoilers. As a fan, it’s kind of fun to be reminded about stuff that has happened and what we’ve learned. But it’s going to ruin a lot of the fun if you haven’t read the series yet.
Then final 250 pages of the book are a novella. Yes, I know, 250 pages would be a complete novel in many series. But for this series, 250 pages is definitely short. It picks up after the events of book 8 and splits time between Sophie and her friend Keefe as they deal with the fall out of Legacy’s climax. There is a lot packed into those 250 pages. If you are a fan of the series, you NEED to read this part to find out what happens next. This isn’t filler; important stuff happens here that is going to set up the next book in the series. Because, yes, there is a cliffhanger again. (Really, are you surprised?) Even though the story is only 250 pages, it feels like a complete story and is satisfying. It had me laughing at parts and crying at others. Including the last few pages.
Remember how I said if you weren’t already a fan of the series this book wasn’t for you? You need to fix that. Back up to the beginning of the series and get lost in Sophie’s world. It is wonderful. You’ll be so glad you did, and then you, too, can fully enjoy this book.
Unlocked is at once a love letter to fans and the next step in the story. If you are one of the series many fans, you’ll love every page.
Need the background? Here are the rest of the Keeper of the Lost Cities books in order.
This book is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays.