Title: Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities #7)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publication Date: 2018
Page Count: 845 glorious pages (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 13+
In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.
Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.
But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.
Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for. ~ Goodreads
SCREEEEAAAAAAAAAMMMS Boy oh boy do I have TONS to type about. (And I did. I’m not sure how to edit this because it’s super rambly and it is also pretty late so I’ll divide it into sections to make it a little bit more coherent.)
Sue being shook:
Normally, these books calm me down. A nice relaxing, cute, a-little-crazy book to fall asleep to–not because they are boring–because they give me happy thoughts and feelings. I was expecting that and that was not what happened, at all. Instead Flashback fed my fears of being murdered by strange mutant beings at 1am. It was an act of courage a little after 2:30am when I got off my bed and turned off the lights so I could sleep. I specifically remember Shannon’s acknowledgements in Exile addressing her parents, thanking them for not being creeped out by the dark places her mind could go. Little did they know, that was only just gently scratching the surface.
Gone is the ‘cute-cute -a little bit of trauma-cute-fight-cute-cliffhanger’ formula. Oh no, Shannon Messenger is completely done with that. She took out most of the cute. In this book, it didn’t feel like Shannon Messenger was afraid anymore. She no longer held back and it definitely showed. The world had already been set up, but there was a constant state (it could have just been my delirium, because I stayed up till after two am reading this book for about seven hours straight) of tension and fear. It feels strange writing this review, because normally I am so HYPED after finishing a Keeper of the Lost Cities book. But this one was so different, once I finished I just felt numb.
I should probably say this is now my ALL TIME FAVORITE Keeper of the Lost Cities book. At first I was worried the story would be thin and dry ever since Shannon announced two more books after this, but honestly, Shannon was talented enough to do it. (I have no idea how she keeps each book so interesting, considering this was originally going to be a trilogy.) I do believe that the series probably could have been wrapped up in this book, or the last book, but oh boy–does Shannon write and know her characters well. She manages to take up around 300 pages of just bedrest and make it interesting. I sticki-noted my favorite moments, and the majority of them took place in the first half. Shannon is THAT powerful. Just look:
After the…filler? Slow parts? Were over and we move on to the actual plot. I’m not able to say much. There really weren’t any ‘new’ things that happened, and no real plot twist that really shocked me all too much. I swear to the heavens up above, almost every major scene I’ve felt like had happened at least two other times at some point in the series. If I’m being honest, this book probably could have been condensed into 200-300 pages. After a while, things are starting to feel a bit generic story-telling wise for the series, but the characters keep it interesting.
I don’t think Shannon really changed up much of her style, but I feel that the increased darkness of the characters and more intense violence is what made this book feel different. At first I had thought Flashback‘s plot had completely left the neat little formula of every other KOTLC book, but after reviewing is some it hadn’t. It was actually just the characters that darkened the whole tone of this story.
Sophie and Fitz and misc:
What was the most exiting was that FINALLY, after all Sophie has been through, we really, really can see what it has done to her mental health. It’s not pretty, but it’s not supposed to be. I feel that this really makes up for the lack of plot. I’ve seen so many shows and read so many books where characters don’t really suffer the mental consequences that they would in real life. However, this book really just focuses on Sophie and her struggles. It developes her character, her relationships, her future relationships, and makes her a deeper character overall. Yes, she is a Marie-Sue in the sense that she is good at basically everything (except being able to tell when people like her), but she also is imperfect. That is what impressed me the most. Sophie is definitely one of the top five strongest main characters I have read about. She is a survivor. I never liked her that much before, but after this book I absolutely love her.
Let’s talk about Fitz.
He was the most prominently featured character in this story (besides Sophie) *Sophitz and Fitz fans cheer*. And let me tell you, he feels like the most ‘gray’ character in this entire series. He’s one of the main reason I called this book so ‘dark’. Everyone already knows that Fitz has some issues and leans towards the darker side on his own more than any of the other characters (we got to see a bit of that side in Exile). However, he’s also sweet, thoughtful, and caring which makes his dark side even more scary. There was a particular moment in the book (once you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about) where I knew that the old version of Fitz was never coming back. This new version Fitz is more twisted and darker than even Sophie realizes. He wants the best for everyone but he also lets his rage and hate control him. He realizes what he has done wrong, but it is often too late. Given the changed dynamic in Sophie’s squad I am SO excited to see how this plays out in the next book.
Unfortunately for those whose faves aren’t main in Sophie love shape, there isn’t much appearance of minor-major characters. ALTHOUGH there was a scene with Tam at the end which BROKE MY HEART–WOW. Shannon is really evil. The lack of the main minor characters was a bit annoying, but I loved the role Dex played in this book and I LOVE the new characters introduced! They are so incredibly cool and really pull at my imaginations (particularly one, who reminded me of something out of Alice in Wonderland.)
One thing that made me SO EXCITED when I was reading through this book was really just HOW MANY THEORIES PROVED TRUE! Some weren’t mainstream and were just things I predicted in my own head, BUT I LITERALLY PREDICTED SOMETHING LIKE WHAT HAPPENED AT THE VERY END OF THE BOOK WOULD HAPPEN AND I WAS MENTALLY HIGH-FIVING MYSELF THE WHOLE TIME. HECK YEAH GO ME.
I’ll talk about the ships now because at this point I’m just venting ALL my thoughts on Flashback because talking to myself in my head is NOT ENOUGH. I know some people will be disappointed, but honestly, I am so dang excited. Sophie is finally DOING SOMETHING about EVERYTHING (which was really the whole theme throughout the book) and I am SO ready for the tea to s p i l l in book eight. It is going to be absolute CHAOS and I am giddy just THINKING about it!! If anyone gives up on their ship now, they have a whole storm coming in book eight. I would bet money on it.
BUSY! Silveny told her. BUSY! BUSY!
Somehow Sophie doubted that a sparkly flying horse had all that hectic of a schedule.
And she knew then, beyond any of the doubts waiting to roar at her from the shadows.
She might be broken.
She might be healing.
But she was strong.
“WOO-HOO!” Keefe clapped his hands together, rubbing his palms back and forth. “So how do you want to do this? Should I sit between you guys, so it’s like a Sophitz sandwich?
Darkness is vital–and not because it teaches us to appreciate the light.
What Does the Cat Think?
I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5!
But wait! There’s more! I want to share some of the beautiful art inside my ExClUsIvE Barnes & Noble Edition