13260670Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) by Shannon Messenger
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Edelwiess // ALA 2013
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Sophie Foster thought she was safe. Settled into her home at Havenfield, surrounded by friends, and using her unique telepathic abilities to train Silveny–the first female alicorn ever seen in the Lost Cities–her life finally seems to be coming together.

But Sophie’s kidnappers are still out there. And when Sophie discovers new messages and clues from the mysterious Black Swan group, she’s forced to take a terrifying risk—one that puts everyone in incredible danger.

As long buried secrets rise to the surface, it’s once again up to Sophie to uncover hidden memories—before someone close to her is lost forever.

In this second book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must journey to the darkest corners of her luminous world in a sequel that will leave you breathless for more. – Goodreads


I was super excited when I found out that there were ARCs of Exile not only online, but also at ALA 2013. It was one of the highlights of ALA 2013 for me. I joked when I met Shannon there that it was getting stalkery of me. I mean, I’ve seen her multiple times in Arizona, but to see her in Chicago was getting out of control. BUT! Exile was mine.

And then I sat on it. And I sat on it some more. Finally one day I had enough and I decided it was time to read it. I remembered how much I missed Sophie, and this world that Messenger had created. As we learned in the first book, Sophie is a girl who was growing up in the wrong world. While she is still that girl, she has become more confident in herself and who she is meant to be. While this is considered a “middle grade” book, it does not read at all like a typical middle grade book. And this is not to put middle grade down at all. That is the last thing I would want to do, because I love and adore middle grade. But I feel Messenger writes with confidence that not many middle grade writers have. While Sophie is a strong character, there is also a lot that she deals with which makes Sophie’s struggle seem even harder. That struggle of course makes it easier to relate to Sophie. Sophie’s world is also a top-notch world. Messenger is a strong world builder and it continues to show in the second novel.

In the follow up to Keeper of the Lost Cities, Messenger takes one on a wild ride. It however was not nearly as strong as Keeper was to me, and I think in part, that came from the fact that this is a big book. At almost 600 pages of pure fantasy this is, to me, a tough middle grade. It took me almost a month to get through. That happened for various reasons, life, the fact that it really is long, and a bit slow to get through in parts, Sophie’s world is also hard to understand in parts. But all of that being said I still highly recommend this series. Messenger is on her game with her writing and world building.