Sunday, December 18, 2022

Book Review: Stellarlune by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities #9)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters and story kept me engaged
Cons: Pacing a few times, but never for very long
The Bottom Line:
Changes are coming
Book has great character growth
Story moves forward

Sophie’s Next Chapter is One Fans Will Love

It’s been a couple of years since we last visited Sophie Foster and the rest of the characters in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  I was ready for Stellarlune to come out, but I had to make time in my reading schedule to devote to it.  It was worth the extra effort.

If you are new to this middle grade fantasy series, don’t start here.  I really, truly cannot emphasize that enough.  There is so much going on at this point in the series.  It is book nine, after all.  Heck, I was close to being lost a time or two early on, and I’ve read the books as they’ve come out.  I really wish I would have had the time to reread at least the last book before I picked this one up.

If you are new, here’s a crash course.  Sophie is an elf, something she learned after having been raised by a human family.  At the age of twelve, she left the human world for the Lost Cities, a parallel world that humans have forgotten about.  And as she learned more about the other species surrounding her, she also learned that she might be the key for keeping the peace in her new world from forces within who want to take over and destroy it.

When this book starts, Sophie has just learned that her friend Keefe has run away to the Forbidden Cities (aka our world) in order to hide from the changes that are being forced on him.  As much as Sophie wants to try to find him, she decides that her best course of action might be to find a way to stop the next step in the plans for Keefe.  Meanwhile, her friends have a less than positive reaction to the action she just took against their enemy, the Neverseen.  Will this drive a wedge in her circle of friends?

See what I mean?  However, a fan of the series will immediately be hooked by what I just teased and want to know more about what will happen to their favorite characters next.

And there is plenty here.  There were a few times I felt the pace could have picked up a little, but they never lasted for long.  For a 730 page book, that’s pretty impressive.  There are more secrets revealed and some exciting developments.  We may not have too many pulse pounding scenes, but I was engaged the entire way through.

One reason I felt that was in the characters.  I truly do love them.  Yes, even the ones that annoy Sophie at times still have their good points.  I really appreciated the maturing we saw in some of the characters and relationships here.  Sophie is growing up, and other characters are recognizing that and acting accordingly.  And I absolutely love how Sophie is growing into the character she needs to be.

Of course, another reason I love these books is because I love the world that author Shannon Messenger has created.  It’s such fun, and there are so many unexpected twists on what we would expect that it’s always a pleasure to get lost in these pages.

And yes, Sophie is facing plenty of problems with huge consequences here.  The stakes are high.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t have room for plenty of humor.  You might not smile or laugh on every page, but you will many times as the book progresses.

Fans of the series have come to expect cliffhangers at the end of the books.  Yep, we get another one here.  And that’s all I will say about it.

I know I started this review by saying that if you aren’t familiar with the series, you shouldn’t start here.  I completely stand by that.  However, if you haven’t read the series yet, don’t wait any longer.  This is a fantastic fantasy series that all ages will love.  The early books aren’t as long, but they will hook you.

Fans will be delighted with Stellarlune and be left wanting the next part of Sophie’s story.  I’m right there counting down with them.

Need more of Sophie’s story?  Here are the Keeper of the Lost Cities books in order.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. What a fun series. Wonderful review, Mark.

  2. I am definitely going to have to get back to this series - it has been a while, and I have forgotten where I left them. But now... I need to catch up so I can enjoy this addition. I love stories with problems and their consequences.

  3. Am glad I didn't share my review today. I have been writing as I read -- am at THE Chapterr 42. Can not believe how we both made similar points. And, I believe other reviewers feel the same way. LOVE THIS SERIES! I love how you presented your review. with an overview. Will run mine in the new year! I knew that Disney has bought the rights to the series, but now I've heard there is a theme park -- may be a rumor. Tried to look on her website.

  4. 730 pages! That's a pretty long book! I've heard of this series but never read any, so I will have to add to my TBR (I will start with book one for sure!). Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for your excellent review of this 9th book in the series. I'm a few behind now but hope to start this one in the coming months. Our former host of MMGM has quite the story ARC going on here. Can't wait to catch up.

  6. I only read the first book in this series. I'm not much of a fantasy reader. This sounds like her fans will be thrilled. Thanks for your review.


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