A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everblaze, the latest installment in Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities series, is another fast-moving fantasy adventure that will particularly appeal to independent-minded tween girls, thanks to a 13-year-old heroine who, when she's not trying to save her world and protect her loved ones (including a winged horse), also is dealing with such familiar issues as mean girls at school. Faint stirrings of romantic competition among three boys. There are scary scenes, some characters die, and others often control people's minds, usually without their consent. Age-typical humor about butts, poop, farts, and pee; a sparkly horse is known as "Glitter Butt."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Now 13, Sophie Foster has found good friends and a few enemies at the Academy as she learns the ways of the elf world. Meanwhile, she's trying to learn more about the mysterious Black Swan organization -- and why it engineered her DNA to create capabilities she's still discovering. Fear and distrust lurk behind the scenes of the outwardly harmonious elf world, and it's hard to tell people's true intentions. As Sophie tries to come to terms with her new life and learn more about her origins, the Council calls on her to perform increasingly dangerous telepathic tasks. Some characters die, others live in a state of permanent insanity, and an unknown villain's pyrotechnic powers threaten to engulf the whole world in EVERBLAZE.
Is it any good?
Author Shannon Messenger creates appealing, relatable characters and then keeps the plot twists, intrigues, dangers, and ethical challenges coming. Readers who've been following the Keepers of the Lost Cities series may find themselves confused about its underlying cosmology and where the truth lies on many fronts -- even more than 13-year-old Sophie. But, as with that other series about a mysterious kid at a magical boarding school, this turns out not to matter very much.
With her independent spirit, strong principles, and longing to belong, Sophie will strike a chord with many tween girls. So will the recurring humor about how magical sparkly horses poop. A lot. But other kids also will find a lot to like in this exciting installment, which concludes with a strong sense that the adventure's just beginning.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why stories of school kids with superpowers are so popular. Does it make you feel better about your own problems when even telepaths and teleporters deal with some of the same things you do?
Sometimes, as in Everblaze, one friend does a terrible thing to another without meaning to. Have you ever been in this situation, on either side? Did you try to make things right, or did it end the friendship?
Would you like to have one of the special powers the characters have? Which one? How would you put it to use?
- Author: Shannon Messenger
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Aladdin
- Publication date: October 31, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 624
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 24, 2020
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