Sunday, November 19, 2023

Today's read... Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Today's read is one I've been excited to dive into. This is the first in a series of graphic novels adapted from the best-selling series, Keeper of the Lost Cities. I know there are very differing opinions about the idea of creating graphic novels from popular series like this one...both with good points. Either way, I know more than a few middle graders who adore graphic novels, and I bet that this one might be quite the read.

Let's see if the adaptation has been well met or not!

The Graphic Novel, Part 1
by Shannon Messenger
Adapted by Celina Frenn
Illustrated by Gabriella Chianello
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
352 pages
ages 8 to 12

The first book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series is being reimagined as a graphic novel with the first half of the epic novel adapted to this new format with beautiful artwork!

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…

But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

This stunning graphic novel retelling of the first half of the thrilling first novel comes to life with all the adventure and epic worldbuilding the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is known for

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON     /    BOOKSHOP      /     B&N


Adventure and a magical world set the scene for a heroine with heart, who has plenty to learn.

At twelve-years-old, Sophie is already known as a prodigy, which despite her loving family...ignoring her younger sister's taunts...leaves her feeling out of place. Not to mention that she has been able to hear everyone's thoughts since she was five. When a class trip to the museum has her bumping into a strange boy, things change and her life will never be the same again.

I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this one, especially since I remember the release day of the original novel years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. This book only covers the first half of the novel (to around chapter 25 or so), and that does leave it feeling a bit incomplete. In other words, the strong plot line is missing, since it's clear that it's only the first half. That's not an issue, but needs to be mentioned since the story really unfolds over two books and not just one. Obviously, the graphic form also flows differently than the original novel in some aspects. The depth and richness isn't there. Yet, it manages to work in the major aspects and keeps the same flair. So, although different, I still enjoyed this graphic version quite a bit.

Sophie and the other characters are nicely done and come across with the right amount of emotions, quirks, and personality. Especially Sophie's sadness, awe, confusion and such hit well and make her easy to root for. The details and dialogue bring the world to life and make it easy to sink into the story. There's enough tension to grab, and despite the length, it's an easy, quick read. Too bad we need to wait for book two because there is the strong desire to continue this one to see where it's headed next.

The illustrations are bright and carry a nice mix of imaginative fantasy and tension. The style isn't quite my thing on the characters end, they are well done. It carries a nice balance between the text and imagery, letting both play their role nicely. According to the author notes, quite a bit of thought and effort went into the creation of this version...and it's noticeable. The book is well done.

I enjoyed reading this quite a bit and have no doubt that even those who haven't read the series before will enjoy it.

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