Exile by Shannon Messenger


Rating: 5/5 stars

Length: 576 pages

Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 2

Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure


This book is more of what I loved in the first series and then some. All of the characters that I loved from Keeper of the Lost Cities played their part in this novel and the reader gets to be introduced to even more amazing characters. The plot was intriguing and well thought out, never leaving a question unanswered unless it was intentional. More magical creatures that took my breath away along with the creatures from the first book, like Iggy, that I already love.

I highly recommend reading the first book of the series… and then the rest of the series. The size of these books may seem daunting, but I promise you once you get started you’ll wish they were longer. Messenger has a way with words, making a story action packed without letting it drag on or feel like too much.

Once again Messenger has written a beautiful book that I couldn’t put down. I know this says something about my self control but I can’t put this series down once I’ve picked it up. I’ve quickly learned that I’ll give up sleep to finish these stories, meaning I probably shouldn’t read them when I have to be up at 6am the next morning. If being willing to give up sleep doesn’t tell you how good this series is, I don’t know what will.

In this book, the reader gets to spend a lot more time with Keefe, getting to know why he is the way he is. He may seem like just a pretty boy jokester, but he’s there for his friends when it counts. I loved reading his development as a character.

As you can tell from the cover (and the synopsis of the book), a big part of the plot has to do with the alicorn they find, Silveny. This alicorn has quite the personality! Her antics made me smile every time. If you’re a fan of horses/unicorns/alicorns, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

If you’re a person that enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson books, this series might just be your new fix. It certainly is mine!



*Spoilers ahead*

I understand why Fitz took out his anger and pain on Sophie, I really do. I mean, what fifteen year old kid isn’t going to act out when they think that their dad’s mind is broken? Added to that the fact that Sophie admitted she was having headaches and he told her to tell Elwin about it, it’s no wonder Fitz yelled at her whenever he saw her. I’m not saying that this was right, but I am saying that I can understand why he freaked out the way he did. Heck, Sophie’s mind was cracked from almost fading away in the last book.

That being said, low blow Fitz. I understand you like Sophie and all, and you trusted her to take care of her mind and your family, but you were a real jerk. If Sophie wasn’t such an amazing person, so caring and forgiving, she’d have nothing to do with you ever again.

And can I just say I find it really entertaining that the reason Sophie’s eyes are brown is because her DNA has been “modeled after” alicorn DNA? I find it really entertaining that alicorns are the reason Sophie’s brain is so special. Heck, it’s the reason Sophie is able to communicate with Silveny even after getting her mind fixed up. I know a couple of horse girls myself that would love to have some horse DNA in them. Allowing her to transport was just the icing on the magical horse cake, even though Sophie wishes she could just be normal.

I felt for Sophie when she realized she’d be taking not one but two classes in the Sliver tower with the Elites. Foxfire had felt safe because she knew she wasn’t going to run into Wylie… until she became the child prodigy again. I imagine it was bad enough being “weird” and having multiple abilities, but being forced to admit you have more abilities than everyone thought? Oh, and having a mirror of light cause you to pass out from pain? Yikes. All Sophie wants is to be a normal(ish) thirteen year old and enjoy school with her friends. I guess that’s too much to ask for.

I can’t help but wonder if the Black Swan were responsible for Sophie finding Silveny in the first place. Most of me is saying that there’s no way that it’s possible, Silveny having been lonely for so long and sharing no memories with Sophie about other humans, but a part of me still can’t help but think that the Black Swan helped orchestrate the whole thing. It’s definitely more likely that the Black Swan simply took advantage of Sophie finding Silveny as a way to bring her to them and fix her mind. But I like to think there’s more to it than that.

Speaking of the Black Swan, is Mr. Forkle really Sophie’s dad? Sure, it looks like he’s the one that designed her DNA. And sure, he goes out of his way to make sure she gets out of all of the precarious situations she finds herself in. And yes, Mr. Forkle is the one that’s able to trigger all of Sophie’s hidden abilities. But I don’t think he’s really Sophie’s father. That role goes to Grady, hands down. Even if Sophie isn’t able to call him Dad yet. Grady might not be biologically related to Sophie, but family is more than blood.

I love the fact that Sophie’s given one question to ask the Black Swan through Mr. Forkle and she asks if they killed Jolie. She does it for herself, sure, but mostly she does it for Grady. He blames himself so much for Jolie’s death and this is Sophie’s way of ensuring that she’s not going to lose yet another father and person she loves. It shows just how mature and thoughtful Sophie really is, constantly giving up things for herself in order to help the ones she cares about.

I honestly feel kind of bad for Dex. After all, he’s Sophie’s best friend and she keeps hiding stuff from him. On top of that, it’s so obvious that he has a crush on her (but what boy doesn’t in this book?) and is jealous whenever Sophie spends time with other guys. Even more than that, Dex feels like he’s losing his best friend again because she’s not telling him what’s going on and they’re not spending time together like they usually do. After the events of the first book, I’m sure this hurt Dex deeply.

I’m glad that towards the end of the book it looks like Dex and Keefe are getting along better than they were. Keefe might just be the one to make Dex understand that his powers are cool even though he’s hoping for something better. Sure Sophie’s been trying to get him to understand this all along, but sometimes it takes someone other than your best friend to get through to you. Your best friend is always going to be nice to you but someone you’re only minimally friends with? Yeah, that’s got to have an impact.

Speaking of Keefe, I love him. He had so much growth in this book to me. No longer just Fitz’s tag-along jokester of a friend, he has some real depth to him. It sucks that Keefe’s family is so horrendous, but I’m glad he hasn’t given in to their vileness. He’s still willing to be his own person even though it’s not who they want him to be. And I’m so glad that he was finally gifted with his family emblem because I can’t imagine how hard that was for him. Knowing that your family is finally proud of you is an incredible feeling.

Talking about having a family that’s proud of you, Alden might not be her adopted parents but he’s definitely Sophie’s family and he’s definitely proud of her. He’s been struggling with his guilt for over twelve years and when he broke – twice – Sophie was able to pull him back to himself. Yes she’s kind of the reason his mind finally gave in (both times), but it was inevitable. Alden held it together better than almost anyone in his position would have. I’m glad that Sophie was able to bring him back to himself, even though he didn’t know about hiding himself in the tiny nook in his mind.

I can’t wait to see when Sophie will help Prentice and put his mind back together. Will it be with the support of the Council or against their wishes? I know they’re going to regulate this ability of hers, but to what extent?

Oh, and screw you Bronte.



Other reviews in this series:

  1. Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 1)
  2. Everblaze (Book 3)
  3. Neverseen (Book 4)
  4. Lodestar (Book 5)
  5. Nightfall (Book 6)
  6. Flashback (Book 7)

5 thoughts on “Exile by Shannon Messenger

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