Title: Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities #8)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 2019
Page Count: 789 (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 11
Illusions shatter—and Sophie and her friends face impossible choices—in this astonishing eighth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.
Sophie Foster wants answers. But after a lifetime of lies, sometimes the truth is the most dangerous discovery. Even the smallest secret comes with terrifying new responsibilities.
And Sophie’s not the only one with blank spots in her past, or mysteries surrounding her family. She and her friends are part of something much bigger than they imagined—and their roles have already been chosen for them.
Every clue drags them deeper into the conspiracy. Every memory forces them to question everything—especially one another. And the harder they fight, the more the lines blur between friend and enemy. ~ Publisher
I think this is my sixth review of a book from this series? I first started the series wayyy back in 2014, and boy has so much changed. The story, character, and tone from the first couple books have changed drastically and the fan base has grown so large! The first time I met Shannon, I was the only one in line to sign with her and we were able to talk for like ten to twenty minutes! It was amazing. She even recognized me from MMGM! (One of the best days of my life) This time that I met her, I had like two minutes to meet her (which is also awesome, because it means so many other people have come to love and support the series, which is why it’s been allowed to go on for so long!)
The book had some gorgeous inside cover art:
Anyway, I’m going to get into my review. It’s going to be a little bit different than my regular reviews (what previous ones? I haven’t posted in months) since this series is really close to me. I’ll try and give it an objective, stand-alone perspective and then a full feels review because this book definitely had some feels.
Since Lodestar, I’ve always felt a little bit let down after reading these books. It’s partially my fault for overhyping them, and I’ve also grown out of the recommended age range (which was funny since I was one of the only people above the age of fourteen at Shannon’s event who wasn’t a parent). Still, I think that it is a testament to her writing that she is able to keep me, a weary, old fan engaged this far into the series. Not only that, but I finished the book in a day (I started reading at midnight, went to bed at 3, got home from school and read ’till 9pm) and I’ve actually forced myself to have a sleep schedule this year, which has really helped manage stress, but I sacrificed it all to read Legacy because it was going to be worth it.
And it was…for me at least (I’ll get into that later). Legacy excels in a lot of things: creativity, plot-twists, character development, and staying true to vital character’s personality and decisions no matter what the fanbase may think. There was also a greater importance placed on some of our favorite side characters, which I loved so much.
Characters. There was such huge (and heartwarming) character growth in this series. Our annoying, lovable little 12 and 13 year olds from the first couple books have evolved into full on young adults. There were some moments where I could so clearly tell how much all of the characters had grown (it made the mom in me proud). Considering the entire ending of the book, I’m actually getting really emotional thinking of how wonderful the characters are and how much they have turned into amazing (fictional) characters?!? Every character makes mistakes, and no matter how long we have been rooting for them or a ship, Shannon stays true to her characters. Their relationships are real and complex and all-around interesting things to read about.
I also love the creativity in this series. I wouldn’t say that the Lost Cities is the most intricate thing I’ve ever read, but there are always new and interesting things that we get to learn about their world in each book–which is something I really enjoy. It keeps the world new and exciting, even eight books in.
Despite all those amazing things, Legacy wasn’t all that great.
The pacing was super slow. Even though I enjoyed reading all of it, there were times that I was really bored because nothing was happening. Towards the end, things actually got exciting, but before that it was all just buildup and growth. It’s a problem that I’ve noticed in the other books as well, especially recently. It wasn’t as bad as Flashback (though I loved Flashback), but it was really, really boring in some parts. I feel like the series has lost a lot of momentum being stretched out so far, and so the pacing (and even plot) has suffered because of it.
Along with the pacing, the scenes felt kind of disjointed. In the beginning of the series, I loved how the plot and character growth/development coincided. People bonded over their shared, traumatic experiences. In this book, not only were the scenes super long but they also switched tones a ton. In one chapter, it was serious planning and strategizing, and the other it was all conflicted/romantic feelings that didn’t have too much to do with the actual story of the book. I think that it could have been fairly realistic, afterall characters are still coping with what happened in previous books, but it was almost too much whiplash for me to really hang on to the tone of the story. Not only that, but I felt like it was almost a quota that Sophie spends this amount of time with this character, and this amount of time with this character, and so a lot of the moments felt forced and fanservicey.
With one confirmed book in the series left, I’m starting to wonder how satisfying the ending will be. These books are very, very predictable in some aspects. Plot twists are still really good, but the formula for the book has been way overused. The characters always start out lost and confused with no sense of where to start. They figure out the Neverseen is planning something big, panic, and fail to stop them. Then, at the very end there is a big fight. After the fight, there’s some sort of revelation or plot-twist and the story ends. This book did exactly that, and while there were some things that could be considered progress, I feel like there hasn’t been any actual progress, or even point to the series, since Neverseen.
Here’s my understanding to the point of the series?
Ok, so basically there’s a warring world, the Council sucks, the Black Swan is kind of useless, and the Neverseen is the only people really advocating for change. Sophie’s goal is to protect everyone and fight, but neither she nor the Black Swan seem to have any other purpose aside from “change”. Even the injustices that we’ve seen mentioned, the entire matchmaking system (which I theorize is just a way to keep the power with the elite) isn’t addressed at all! Sophie’s only goal is figuring out what the heck the Neverseen is doing, and stopping it. She doesn’t even try to change any part of the system in the Lost Cities that she knows is problematic. I was really looking forward to her overthrowing the Council, or at least changing some of the systems, but she hasn’t. At this point, it feels like her purpose is to defeat the Neverseen. Which is super lame because she is supposed to bring a revolution. Everything she does manage to change is fixing the symptom, not the problem. If it ends up that Sophie defeats the Neverseen and that’s the end of the series, that’s not a story worth telling in nine books.
Overall, Legacy was a mediocre, yet enjoyable book to read. 3 stars.
I loved this book so much. You know when you eat a cookie that’s kind of disgusting, but someone you love made it for you and so it doesn’t matter if it tastes kind of dry, it’s still amazing? That’s Legacy.
So yeah, it doesn’t sound too great, but Legacy contained almost everything that I love in Keeper of the Lost Cities. Namely Keefe. There was a ton of Keefe in this book and I LIVE for Keefe, so it was absolutely amazing to read all about him. The romantic relationships were also handled really maturely in this book! I was super impressed. Everything made so much sense in the way it was handled, friendships were strained but not broken, and it didn’t take the entirety of the plot! This, my friends, is how “love triangles” are supposed to be handled. (Though, in my opinion, Keeper is less of a love triangle than a process of growing up and learning who you are–and if you even want a boyfriend in the first place).
There’s a lot of what I theorized would happen in this book, which was so satisfying. Ships, relationships, fights, growth, it’s all there and reaffirms why I love the series.
Also everything that happened was so, finally, enlightening. Things, mysteries we’ve wanted to solve, are finally coming to a close and being answered. Legacy is the perfect book.
There were some things I didn’t like, Ro go on my nerves (which was sad, because she used to be a favorite of mine) and I did get kind of bored. However, I finished this book in a day (which Shannon said is longer than Flashback!! So I’m guessing 900+ pages in regular Kotlc format), so it was pretty addicting and page-turning. I’m so hyped for the next one.
Also, can we take a moment to appreciate that I finished this review only using capslock once? That’s character growth I like to see.
“And she was so scared for him–but also so proud of him–and it didn’t matter if some things about him changed.
He’d always be her friend.”
“This was the kind of girl who commanded attention.
The kind of girl who didn’t care what anyone thought of her–because she knew exactly who she was.
The kind of girl who wouldn’t let anything matter. Not scandals or gossip or frightening responsibility.
This girl could handle it all–and would.”
What Does the Cat Think? (Guest Cat!!)
Meeting Shannon Messenger
I’m not going to lie, when Shannon first walked onto the stage I teared up a bit. She’s my idol and her books have helped me through so much.
Anyway, for anyone interested in the series, I’d highly recommend going to one of Shannon’s events. Usually you can get in, even without buying the book, and she’s such a wonderful person.
The event started with an MC asking questions about the series, inspiration, writing process, advice, etc.
Some of this I already knew, since the questions were the same as on her Goodreads ask page (nerd), but it was still super interesting to hear her answers, they were super in depth. I don’t have any of the questions or her answers memorized, but I’ll try to regurgitate what I remember.
Keeper of the Lost Cities was rejected 17 times. 17!
Shannon really emphasized how publishing was a business, and the time before you get published is really a great time with just you and your story, with no marketing or deadlines in the way.
She specifically didn’t promise that every character would make it through to the end of the series. Which is…worrying.
Shannon says her characters usually come to her fully formed. She asks them questions, and she says once she knows their secrets she owns them. (Honestly, as someone who doesn’t write fiction, this sounds so freaking epic).
Two of her favorite scenes she’s written are in Legacy (the countdown and the elf cookies).
She got signed for three books originally but she knew it could be up to 9-10.
Legacy had to be reformatted so that the book wouldn’t be too big! The font is smaller and the chapter titles are moved up.
Anyway, afterwards she did a game where she told us about early drafts of KOTLC, and we had to guess whether it was true or not. Here’s what I learned:
- Sophie Foster had two names before that one, Agnus McWeeny and then Alexandra Foster
- Iggy was originally described as a mini kangaroo
- Silveny was going to be Biana’s pet and that was going to increase the rivalry between Sophie and Biana
- She planned to, or thought about, killing Sandor in every book since he was introduced.
Anyway, then we waited in line for an hour to get our Legacy book personalized (100% worth it). She was super sweet, and we got a picture with her and the stands of Sophie, Keefe, and Fitz!