Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1 by Shannon Messenger, Celina Frenn, and Gabriella Chianello

Keeper of the Lost Cities The Graphic Novel Volume 1 by Shannon Messenger

Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1
Shannon Messenger
Adapted by Celina Frenn
Illustrated by Gabriella Chianello
Aladdin Books
Published November 7, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1

The first book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series is being reimagined as a graphic novel with the first half of the epic novel adapted to this new format with beautiful artwork!

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…

But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath, too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

This stunning graphic novel retelling of the first half of the thrilling first novel comes to life with all the adventure and epic worldbuilding the Keeper of the Lost Cities series is known for.

Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit on Goodreads

My Review

This is my first foray into the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, which is maybe a weird place to begin. On the other hand, I had no preconceived ideas about the story going into the book and also no familiarity with the original. I had no trouble following the story and making sense of what was happening, so I don’t think readers would need to have read the prose novels in order to follow this adaptation.

Some elements of the story felt a little bit dated, which only makes sense. After all, the original book came out in 2012. It definitely has that portal fantasy feel of some of the other big books that came out around that time, and yet, I think the themes are super relatable anyway: friendship, feeling alone in a new place, learning you have abilities or history you never knew about.

I liked the relationships between Sophie and the other characters. As I read, I kept trying to figure out who was on her side and who was secretly working against her. I definitely have some theories, but I have no idea if I’m right or not at this point.

The only thing that I kept getting stuck on is the fact that the illustrations of Sophie make her look so much older than twelve. I kept thinking she was fifteen or sixteen from the images of her in the panels and then remembering that wasn’t right. So that threw me off a little bit. The illustrations are beautiful, though, and definitely anchor the story in the fantasy setting.

I think readers looking for an engaging portal fantasy will enjoy this series opener. I think fans of THE STONEKEEPER by Kazu Kibuishi will enjoy it.

Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit on Bookshop

Content Notes for Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Maybe some attraction between Sophie and a boy character. Just some blushing here and there.

Spiritual Content
A hidden world contains people with magic powers.

Violent Content
Magic can cause some pretty serious destruction when not properly used. A man tries to kidnap Sophie.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL PART 1 in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Graphic Novel Part 1 by Shannon Messenger, Celina Frenn, and Gabriella Chianello

  1. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    I used to be super-into the Keeper of the Lost Cities books, although I haven’t kept up with them—Shannon Messenger’s old blog is actually how I got into book blogging!

    I had seen this graphic novel adaptation and been intrigued, although I figure it will take years and years to adapt the 10 or so novels into a full comic series. But it’s exciting that the adaptation is fairly easy to follow!

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Kasey!

    • Kasey says:

      That’s so cool! Yeah…. you’re right that if they do the whole series it’ll take a long time. I don’t know if this one is ALL of the first book or if they’ll break them up differently. That’d be interesting to know. Thanks, Max!