Author: Shannon Messenger
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #4
This time, Sophie Foster has gone too far.
After flouting the Council in a manner that leaves no doubt about her fate, she’s left with no other options than to join the Black Swan officially. Luckily, she’s not going alone. Fitz, Keefe, Dex, and Biana–her closest friends–all helped one way or another in the various things that led up to this. But being in the Black Swan is nothing like she thought. Everyone has secrets, and as usual no one wants to let her know much. Then a plague breaks out, and even the looming war with the ogres seems to be on hold while everyone frantically searches for a cure . . .
I continue to be impressed at just how well this series unfolds. This is a book about secrets, hidden and revealed. And consequences. Keefe struggles mightily with the revelations from the previous book about his mother. He’s steeled himself for every possibility–except what actually happens. I loved watching his struggle, and how Sophie tries to support him, and how she, more than anyone, really strives to be his friend. I also really liked what happened with Stina. The story has a way of lifting people out of neat little stereotypes, and showing that people are people, and what lies at the heart tends to be more complex than we might otherwise assume.
On a broader level, the Council, the Black Swan, the Neverseen, and the ogres continue to work out an intricate game of secrets of their own. I love how this is way more complicated than the Council simply being backwards and stubborn. There are secrets, but also promises. The Neverseen may be more of a terrorist group than the Black Swan, but that doesn’t mean they’re always wrong, or that the Black Swan is always right. And I can’t help but wonder what the ogre’s side is in all this, after the one character who had the most contact with them expressed her utter amazement at the prospect of war in the previous book. Given everything else that’s gone on, I would be very surprised if they do turn out to be straightforward villains.
And I like how Sophie shows she’s not only got a fabulous gift for making everything go to pieces, she’s got the heart to bring things together and make them better than they used to be. And Dex appears to FINALLY be over his jealous streak. And the twins are amazing and I hope to see much more of them in the future. More neat abilities means more potential for amusing mayhem.
This continues to hit all the right notes as the epic story barrels along. Although there’s much more explanation in the beginning of this book to catch up new readers (or remind old ones who may not have read the third book recently), it’s still far better to start from the beginning, so that various revelations will have the right impact. I rate this book Highly Recommended.