Keeper of the Lost Cities (KotLC) is the first book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series written by Shannon Messenger. It was released on October 2, 2012.

Cover[edit | edit source]

The cover art shows Dexter Dizznee (right) and Sophie Foster (left) on a bridge, Pont Alexandre III in Paris, looking at the hidden leaping crystal on a lamppost.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from her own.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled about her “homecoming.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want.

Would even kill for...

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where a girl, caught between two worlds, needs to know if she can do what she was made to do.

Preface[edit | edit source]

Blurry, fractured images swam through Sophie's mind, but she couldn't piece them together. She tried opening her eyes and found only darkness. Something rough pressed against her wrists and ankles, refusing to let her move.

A wave of cold rushed through her as the horrifying realization dawned.

She was a hostage.

A cloth across her lips stifled her cry for help, and a sedative's sweet aroma stung her nose when she inhaled, making her head spin.

Were they going to kill her?

Would the Black Swan really destroy their own creation?

What was the point of Project Moonlark, then? What was the point of the Everblaze?

The drug lulled her toward a dreamless oblivion, but she fought back - clinging to the one memory that could shine a tiny spot of light in the thick, inky haze. A pair of beautiful aquamarine eyes.

Fitz's eyes. The first friend in her new life. Her first friend ever.

Maybe if she hadn't noticed him that day in the museum, none of this would have happened.

No. She knew it'd be too late even then. The white fires were already burning - curving toward her city and filling the sky with sticky, sweet smoke.

The spark before the blaze.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Sophie is listening to her iPod during a field trip, and her teacher, Mr. Sweeney, calls on her to explain what they were talking about. When Sophie answers correctly, her teacher starts muttering how much of a know-it-all she is. The class continues on their field trip. When she leaves class, Sophie spots a boy reading a newspaper about her. The boy asks her if this is her, and she nods, thinking he looks good. This is the beginning of a crush that lasts the entire series. Interrupting their awkward moment, a group of kindergartners passes by with shrill mental voices, causing Sophie to reflexively put her hand on her temples to dim the mental pain and notices the boy is doing the same. He asks her if she is a Telepath, and Sophie flinches, causing him to realize she is. The boy introduces himself as Fitz and tells her that she is an elf.

Fitz then takes her to the Lost Cities, the cities of the elves, and Sophie is forced to leave the human world. After meeting Alden, Fitz's father, Sophie realizes her family isn't her own and she will have to leave them. Sophie is forced to then drug her family with sleeping gas, taking all her important or sentimental objects, mainly Ella, her bright blue stuffed elephant, so that her parents can have her erased from their memories. She then is immersed in the Lost Cities. Her life is good, but things quickly become strange—and a bit dangerous. She makes quite a few friends, including Keefe Sencen, Dex Dizznee, and Biana Vacker, sister to Fitz. Also having some people disliking her like Stina Heks.

She also takes in an imp as a pet and names him Iggy. As soon as things were about to get normal, she gets a deadly allergic reaction to limbium, causing her foster parents, Grady and Edaline Ruewen, to become more protective over her. She is soon subject to her foster parents canceling her adoption, as well as multiple fights with her friends. She then runs away to a cave and hides there, but Dex follows her. They are kidnapped by who they think to rebel group the Black Swan (which in later books is the Neverseen) and tortured for information while the Lost Cities is led to believe that they are dead and hold funerals for them. Then, Sophie's ex-neighbor, Mr. Forkle rescues them, but not for long. Dex and Sophie find themselves abandoned on the streets of Paris, France, and have to find their way back home with the help of a mysterious note. They are again found by the kidnappers, and Sophie discovers that one of them is the elf who tried to take her, back when she lived with humans. Finally, Sophie inflicts on everyone and light leaps away with a hidden leaping crystal. However, as she is leaping, Sophie uses too much concentration to help Dex and ends up almost fading away. They are saved by Fitz, whom Sophie desperately transmitted to for help, as well as Keefe and Biana. While Sophie is fading, Fitz becomes able to enter her consciousness and transmit thoughts to her, something only a few Black Swan members were able to do before. When Sophie wakes up, she is in a bedroom at Everglen, the Vackers' estate, and a goblin bodyguard named Sandor has been assigned to protect her. But she still needs to do a Tribunal. During the Tribunal Sophie was sorry for her actions and she is adopted by Grady and Edaline once again, and the book ends with the narrator saying, "Sophie Foster was going home."

Playlist[edit | edit source]

Illustrated and Annotated Edition[edit | edit source]

As of August 4, 2020, Shannon Messenger will be releasing 'Keeper of the Lost Cities Illustrated and Annotated Edition.’ It is a special edition of the first book, with never before seen embellishments by the author herself.


  • Sixteen black and white illustrations
  • Multiple deleted scenes
  • Author Annotations

Video Trailer[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

About the Series
Series Page

Released Books
Keeper of the Lost CitiesExileEverblazeNeverseenLodestarNightfallFlashbackLegacyUnlocked

Unreleased Books
Book 9 (unconfirmed title)


Short Stories
Keefe Short Story (Nightfall)Keefe Short Story (Flashback)Fitz Short StoryTam Short Story

Shannon MessengerJason ChanLaura HollingsworthCourtney GodbeyFelia HanakataKarin Paprocki

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