Legacy: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 8

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Legacy: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 8 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Action-packed return to form in elf-girl epic series.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Keeper of the Lost Cities series involves magic and elvin fantasy rather than educational subjects, but it involves concepts like ecological balance, preserving species from extinction.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about courage, friendship, family, loyalty, forgiveness, kindness, and being able to recognize when something's not right. You need to learn to face the truth -- and put aside your feelings to deal with a more pressing crisis.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sophie discovers a lot of inner strength, comes to terms with a lot of unexpected realities, and grapples with the challenges of being a leader. Her friends (and frenemies) work as a team and take many risks to support her and battle the dark forces of the Neverseen. Some adult characters (including parents of some of her friends) are destructive and evil, or at least cold-hearted, while others are supportive, brave, and loving.


By now all the teen characters bear physical and mental scars from past deadly battles, and have lost many beloved companions who've died. Between those who want to kill them and those who want to convert them to the dark side, they face many mortal dangers and sustain some injuries. Sophie's newly enhanced powers knock adversaries unconscious.


Hand-holding and hugging. That kiss we've been waiting for for eight volumes now? There's still lots of related tension and anxiety about that and general relationship woe. Two characters are in a forced marriage and avoid each other a lot, while others tease them about romance. Much of the story involves Sophie's quest for her biological parents.


Some butt, poop, and pee humor.


One scene involves snagging assorted human snack foods, e.g. Keebler elf cookies and assorted British biscuits, which don't appeal to the elves much.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Elvin medicines and potions are part of the plot. The teens joke about drugging adults to escape their supervision.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Legacy, Book 8 in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, continues the saga of Sophie Foster, a teen girl who's discovered that she's been genetically engineered by elves for some yet-to-be-determined world-saving task. There's plenty of action, between the visits to locations from the underground kingdom of the dwarves to downtown London. And there's romantic tension as Sophie and love interest Fitz grapple with boyfriend-girlfriend social issues and misunderstandings, while other love interest Keefe provides unwavering support. Part of the plot involves Sophie's quest to find her biological parents, and many of the issues, decisions, and feelings will be relevant and relatable to many adopted kids. Along the way, in a fast-moving plot that takes place over a few days and delivers yet another cliffhanger ending, there's a lot of adventure, magic, and self-discovery as dark forces threaten and harm Sophie's family and friends, and she faces life-changing decisions. Lots of combat, imprisonment, peril, and villains who get their way by threatening their victims' loved ones. The romantic tension involves a kiss that may or may not ever happen. There's also a bit of pee and poop humor.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 9 years old May 1, 2020

Yay! Fitzphie is breaking up! (or not:(

I think this 8th installment was the best yet, and team valiant destroyed cognate stuff (Keefe rules, Fitz is an uh-oh). I wonder where tarina went to. As long... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 2, 2020

Not What I Was Expecting...

Spoiler alert*
I'm sorry but my review is the cold hard truth...
In fact it was my least favorite book in the series! Why y... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the wake of Book 7's shocker ending, Sophie Foster is trying to come to terms with her LEGACY -- which includes being "unmatchable" with any potential elvin partner because her biological parents are unknown,and apparently want to keep it that way. This definitely puts a crimp in her budding romance with Fitz, while other love interest Keefe says it won't matter to anyone who really cares about her. Meanwhile, Sophie's got other things to deal with as the evil Neverseen rally their forces and enslave one of her friends, and she finds herself facing the challenges of leadership, enhanced powers, and new possibilities as the characters race headlong to another cliffhanger ending.

Is it any good?

Book 8 in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series ups the ante with a raft of action, character developments, new magical powers, ethical dilemmas, world-saving, and teen romance. By now we're beginning to suspect that author Shannon Messenger has no intention of wrapping up the series in this lifetime, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This year's doorstop-size volume brings a satisfying immersion in glitter, cosmic conflict, increasingly complex characters, teen anxiety, new magical powers, moral dilemmas, page-turning plot developments, and cliffhanger endings. Sophie and her friends battle evil, question authority, and struggle to do the right thing in impossible situations yet again, and many peripheral characters from previous installments make return appearances.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about adoption and how it figures in Legacy: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 8. Do you know kids who are adopted? Are they interested in finding their birth parents someday, or do they not want to know? How do their parents feel?

  • Have you ever had to work as part of a team with somebody you didn't like at all, as Sophie sometimes has to do in Legacy? Did you figure out how to make it work?

  • If you were to become a new character in this series, what would you be like? What would you look like? What powers would you have? Would you be a kid or an adult? What species?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and friendship

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