A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Neverseen, similar to previous books in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, serves up many pages of author Shannon Messenger's successful mix of magic, world saving, life-threatening situations, moral quandaries, tragic loss, and middle school worries over budding romance, telepathic awkwardness, and fashion faux pas. Positive messages abound as 13-year-old Sophie and her elf pals brave monsters, floods, fires, mortal combat, and foul-tasting potions in their quest to save their world and loved ones from evil forces and their own bad decisions. Some characters die, a plague is being used to wipe out entire species, and several kids have been ill-treated by abusive or unsympathetic parents; some characters appear to go over to the dark side, but there are strong hints that the reality is a bit more complex.
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What's the story?
Quite a bit has happened since young Sophie Foster was whisked off to the elf world. She's learned that she's a genetically engineered prodigy designed to save the elf world (and maybe the human one also) from assorted deadly perils, which so far have included all-consuming fire and other magical weapons of world domination. She's acquired a posse of buddies, each with his or her own special powers and defining qualities and with whom she engages in perilous adventures one minute and middle school banter the next. She also ingests innumerable potions and healing elixirs as the plot requires. Now, after the events of Book 3, she and her pals are banished from the elf city they call home, pursued by a band of evil rebels (the NEVERSEEN), and trying to decide whether to trust the Black Swan, another rebel group that had much to do with Sophie's creation and seems to have a plan.
Is it any good?
This exciting installment brings 688 fast-turning pages of elf magic, glittery winged horses, deadly plagues, deceit, treachery, and a 13-year-old girl genetically engineered to save her world. Fans of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series will be swept away as conflicted, superpowered Sophie tries to learn the truth about herself and live up to her responsibilities, all while trying to be a good friend and do no harm.
Author Messenger has developed a highly relatable heroine in young Sophie. Here she also gives free rein to her exuberant sense of world-building and dramatic (possibly false) revelations, with new superpowers and cosmic forces conjured up as needed. It's a galaxy wide and a millimeter deep, and the balance of heavy issues (abusive parents, genocide, world destruction) with magical beings, middle school misunderstandings, and 13-year-old banter is sometimes uneasy, but fans will rush to the cliff's edge that awaits them at the end of this hefty volume.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories that feature kids who travel from our world to another, usually magical one. What's the appeal? How do Sophie's adventures compare with other stories you know?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? How would you put it to use?
Do you think magic is a good tool for solving problems? What works really well? What could go wrong?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fantasy and magic adventures
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