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Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities Series #2)

Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities Series #2)

4.9 44
by Shannon Messenger

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Sophie befriends the mythical Alicorn—and puts her mysterious powers to the test—in this enchanting sequel to Keeper of the Lost Cities.

Sophie is settling in nicely to her new home and her new life in the world of the lost cities. And it helps that living at Havenfield means getting to spend time with rare, precious species—including


Sophie befriends the mythical Alicorn—and puts her mysterious powers to the test—in this enchanting sequel to Keeper of the Lost Cities.

Sophie is settling in nicely to her new home and her new life in the world of the lost cities. And it helps that living at Havenfield means getting to spend time with rare, precious species—including the first female Alicorn, who shows herself to Sophie and trusts no one but her.

Sophie is tasked with helping to train the magical creature so that the Alicorn can be revealed to the people of the lost cities as a sign of hope, and Sophie wants to believe that the recent drama and anguish is gone for good.

But the secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memories remain, and before long before she’s back in incredible danger, risking everything to find the answers to questions that could save not only her life, but the life of someone close to her…

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
A year in her newfound life as an elf has brought all kinds of changes to thirteen-year-old Sophie’s world in this sequel to Keeper of the Lost Cities. Her telepathic ability is stronger, and she has found her place with a new adoptive family as well as a gang of close friends. But the kidnapping she narrowly escaped and the mysterious renegade Black Swan group’s interest in her life haunt her every day. Add to that the inherent mistrust most of the elf world has for her peculiar past, and Sophie struggles with understanding who she is and why she has no memory of where she came from. When Alden, a trusted leader and father-figure, asks her to aide him on a secretive quest, Sophie jumps at the chance to prove herself and perhaps solve the mystery of why the Black Swan seem to be sending her clues about her forgotten past. Unfortunately, the quest sends them to Exile—the place where insane, criminal and broken elves are committed, and when Sophie attempts to heal the elf who protected her secret, Alden suffers a mental breakdown. The loss of this revered leader rocks the entire elf world, and Sophie shoulders the blame, as well as suffers crippling headaches that seem to indicate her abilities might be malfunctioning. With her friends and an alicorn (a flying unicorn) she has been training, Sophie takes a dangerous journey to discover whether or not she can save her friends and herself. Readers will race through the pages to a satisfying conclusion that cleverly weaves together multiple plot lines, while also hinting at what might come next in this absorbing series. Sophie’s character exhibits a believable mix of strength and vulnerability, and her determination to know herself is the driving force and heart of this novel. Reviewer: Leah Hanson; Ages 8 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
Full-blown middle-volume-itis leaves this continuation of the tale of a teenage elf who has been genetically modified for so-far undisclosed purposes dead in the water. As the page count burgeons, significant plot developments slow to a trickle. Thirteen-year-old Sophie manifests yet more magical powers while going head-to-head with hostile members of the Lost Cities Council and her own adoptive elvin father, Grady, over whether the clandestine Black Swan cabal, her apparent creators and (in the previous episode) kidnappers, are allies or enemies. Messenger tries to lighten the tone by dressing Sophie and her classmates at the Hogwarts-ian Foxfire Academy as mastodons for a silly opening ceremony and by having her care for an alicorn--a winged unicorn so magnificent that even its poop sparkles. It's not enough; two sad memorial services, a trip to a dreary underground prison, a rash of adult characters succumbing to mental breakdowns and a frequently weepy protagonist who is increasingly shunned as "the girl who was taken" give the tale a soggy texture. Also, despite several cryptic clues and a late attack by hooded figures, neither the identity nor the agenda of the Black Swan comes closer to being revealed. However tried and true, the Harry Potter–esque elements and set pieces don't keep this cumbersome coming-of-age tale afloat, much less under way. (Fantasy 10-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—This sequel to Keeper of the Lost Cities (S & S, 2012) continues the story of Sophie Foster, the girl who was brought up as human but who is really an elf with engineered DNA, which has conferred enormous power on her. She now lives with the elves in Havenfield, and has been adopted by a couple whose daughter died. Sophie tries to integrate into the elf community and be a regular kid at school. Her powers of telepathy and psychic healing, however, set her firmly apart as she helps to capture and train a unique alicorn (one with wings). As the mystery of the Black Swan group and their true allegiance continues, Sophie tries to help heal the broken minds of certain elves crucial to uncovering the secret. Clearly the middle book in a series, this title works best for readers familiar with the first book. There is plenty of action, but the story of Sophie's origins, the Black Swan and their role, and the struggle to save the world of the elves does not progress significantly. This installment lacks the sense of urgency and emotional connection of the first title.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

Product Details

Publication date:
Keeper of the Lost Cities Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.90(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt



I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE WE’RE tracking Bigfoot,” Sophie whispered as she stared at the giant footprint in the muddy soil. Each massive toe was as wide as her arm, and the print formed a deep, mucky puddle.

Dex laughed, flashing two perfect dimples as he stood on his tiptoes to examine a scuff in the bark of a nearby tree. “Do humans really think there’s a giant hairy ape-man running around trying to eat them?”

Sophie turned away, pulling her blond hair around her face to hide her flushing cheeks. “Pretty crazy, right?”

Almost a year had passed since she’d found out she was an elf and moved to the Lost Cities, but she still slipped sometimes and sounded like a human. She knew sasquatch were really just tall green shaggy creatures with beady eyes and beaklike noses—she’d even worked with them in the pastures at Havenfield, the enormous estate and animal preserve she now called home. But a lifetime of human teaching was difficult to forget. Especially with a photographic memory.

Thunder cracked overhead and Sophie jumped.

“I don’t like this place,” Dex mumbled, his periwinkle eyes scanning the tree line as he moved closer to Sophie. The damp, heavy air made his light blue tunic stick to his skinny arms, and his gray pants were caked with mud. “Let’s find this thing and get out of here.”

Sophie agreed. The murky forest was so dense and wild. It felt like a place time had forgotten.

The thick ferns in front of them rustled and a brawny gray arm grabbed Sophie from behind. Her feet dangled above the ground, and she got a face full of musky goblin sweat as her bare-chested bodyguard shoved Dex behind him, drew his curved sword from the scabbard at his side, and pointed it at the tall blond elf in a dark green tunic who stumbled out of the wall of leaves.

“Easy there, Sandor,” Grady said, backing away from the glinting point of the black blade. “It’s just me.”

“Sorry.” Sandor’s high-pitched voice always reminded Sophie of a chipmunk. He dipped a slight bow as he lowered his weapon. “I didn’t recognize your scent.”

“That’s probably because I just spent twenty minutes crawling around a sasquatch den.” Grady sniffed his sleeve and coughed. “Whew—Edaline is not going to be happy with me when I get home.”

Dex laughed, but Sophie was too busy trying to wriggle free from Sandor’s viselike hold.

“You can put me down now!” As soon as her feet touched the ground she huffed away, glaring at Sandor and struggling to remove the giant wedgie he’d given her. “Any sign of the sasquatch?”

“The den’s been empty for a while. And I’m guessing you guys haven’t had much luck picking up the trail?”

Dex pointed to the scratch he’d been examining in the bark. “Looks like it climbed this tree and traveled in the branches from here on out. No way to tell which way it went.”

Sandor sniffed the air with his wide, flat nose. “I should take Miss Foster home. She’s been in the open for far too long.”

“I’m fine! We’re in the middle of a forest and no one besides the Council knows we’re here. You didn’t even have to come.”

“I go where you go,” Sandor said firmly, sheathing his sword and running his hands down the pockets lining his black military-style pants to check his other weapons. “I take my charge very seriously.”

“Obviously,” Sophie grumbled. She knew Sandor was only trying to protect her, but she hated having him around. He was a seven-foot-tall constant reminder that the kidnappers she and Dex had narrowly escaped were still out there somewhere, waiting for the right time to make their next move. . . .

Plus, it was humiliating being followed by an ultraparanoid goblin all the time. She’d been hoping she’d be done with the bodyguard thing by the time school started again. But with less than two weeks left on her vacation and the Council hitting dead ends on all their leads, it looked like her burly, slightly alien-looking shadow was coming with her to Foxfire.

She’d tried convincing Alden he could just keep track of her with the crystal registry pendant latched around her neck, but he’d reminded her that the kidnappers had no problem tearing it off the last time. And even though this one had extra cords woven into the choker and a few other added security measures, he refused to put her life in the hands of an inanimate accessory.

She repressed a sigh.

“We need Sophie here with us,” Grady told Sandor as he pulled Sophie into a quick, reassuring hug. “Are you picking up anything?” he asked her.

“Not nearby. But I can try widening my range.” She moved away from him and closed her eyes, placing her hands over her temples to focus her concentration.

Sophie was the only Telepath who could track thoughts to their exact location—and the only one who could read the minds of animals. If she could feel the sasquatch’s thoughts, she would be able to follow them straight to wherever it was hiding. All she had to do was listen.

Her concentration spread like an invisible veil across the scenery, and the chirping and creaking sounds of the forest faded to a low hum as the “voices” filled her mind. The melodic thoughts of the birds in the trees. The hushed thoughts of the rodents in the ground. Farther away in a small meadow were the calm thoughts of a doe and her fawn. And farther still, in the thicker parts of the underbrush, were the stealthy thoughts of a large cougar, stalking its prey.

But no trace of the heavy, thundering thoughts of a sasquatch.

She pushed her focus toward the snowcapped mountains. The stretch was longer than most Telepaths could handle, but she’d reached much farther when she was calling for rescue from her captors—and she’d been half-drugged at the time. So she was surprised when her body started to shake from the strain.

“It’s okay, Sophie,” Grady told her, squeezing her shoulder. “We’ll find it another way.”


This was why Grady had brought her along for this rescue, despite Sandor’s numerous concerns for her safety. He’d already tried three other times to capture the beast, and came home empty-handed. He was counting on her.

She tugged out a loose eyelash—her nervous habit—as she pushed her mind as far as she could go. Spots of light flashed across her vision, each one paired with a stab of pain that ripped her breath away. But the misery was worth it when she caught the vaguest whisper of a thought. A fuzzy image of river with mossy green rocks and white, trickling water. It felt softer than the sasquatch thoughts she’d touched when she practiced at Havenfield, but the thought was definitely too complex to belong to any of the normal forest animals.

“It’s that way,” Sophie said, pointing north before she took off through the trees. She was glad she’d worn lightweight boots instead of the flat, dressy shoes she was usually supposed to wear, even with her plain tan tunic and brown pants.

Dex sprinted to catch up with her, and his messy strawberry blond hair bounced as he matched her pace. “I still don’t understand how you do that.”

“You’re not a Telepath. I have no idea how you do any of the things Technopaths do.”

“Shhhhh, they’ll hear you!”

Dex had made her promise not to tell anyone about his newly discovered talent. Dame Alina—Foxfire’s principal—wouldn’t allow him to take ability detecting if she knew he’d already manifested, and Dex kept hoping he’d trigger a “better” talent, even though it was incredibly rare to have more than one ability.

“You’re being dumb,” Sophie told him. “Technopathy is cool.”

“Easy for you to say. It’s not fair you get to be a Telepath and an Inflictor.”

Sophie cringed at the last word.

If it were up to her, she’d drop the dangerous ability in a heartbeat. But talents couldn’t be switched off once they’d been triggered. She’d checked. A lot.

Sophie’s muscles burned as the ground became steeper and the cold drizzly air stung her lungs—but it felt good to run. Ever since the kidnapping everyone kept her closed in, trying to keep her away from danger. All it really meant was that she was the one being held prisoner while the bad guys ran free.

The thought spurred her legs faster, like if she just pushed herself harder, she could get far enough from her problems to make them disappear. Or at least far enough from Sandor—though the goblin was surprisingly agile for his bulky size. She’d never been able to ditch him, and she’d tried many times over the last few weeks.

The path grew narrower as they moved toward the mountains, and after several more minutes of climbing, it curved west and ended in a gurgling stream. White puffs of mist hovered above the rocks, giving the water a ghostly feel as it snaked up the rocky foothills.

Sophie paused to catch her breath, and Dex bent to stretch his legs. Grady and Sandor caught up as she was checking on the sasquatch’s location.

“You’re supposed to stay by my side,” Sandor complained.

Sophie ignored him, pointing toward the snowcapped mountains. “It’s up there.”

The thoughts felt sharper now, filling her mind with a shockingly vivid scene. Every tiny leaf on the lacy ferns was crystal clear, and she could almost feel the cool water splashing against her skin and the breeze tickling her cheeks. But the really strange part was the warm calm that wrapped around her consciousness. She’d never experienced a thought as such a pure emotion before—especially from a creature so far away.

“No more separating,” Grady ordered as they started to follow the stream higher up the mountain. “I’m not familiar with this part of the forest.”

Sophie wasn’t surprised. The trees and ferns were so thick she was sure no one—human or elf—had set foot there in a very long time.

Squishy green moss coated the ground, muffling their footsteps. It was also slick, and the third time Sophie slipped, Dex grabbed her arm and didn’t let go. The warmth of his hand sank through the fabric of her sleeve and she felt like she should pull away. But he was steadying her balance, which made it easier for her to concentrate on what the sasquatch was thinking.

The beast must have been eating, because a satisfied feeling settled into the pit of Sophie’s stomach, like she’d just had an extra helping of mallowmelt.

She hurried forward—afraid it would move on now that it was full—and accidentally stepped on a fallen branch.


Goose bumps erupted all over her body, and even though she knew the emotion wasn’t hers, Sophie couldn’t ignore the shivering terror. She had no idea what that meant—but she didn’t have time to think about it. From the images flashing through her head she could tell the sasquatch had started to flee.

She jerked her arm out of Dex’s grip and took off after it.

The beast ran so fast its thoughts turned to a blur. Sophie concentrated on channeling energy from her core into her legs, but even with the extra strength she could still feel the sasquatch pulling farther ahead. It was going to get away—unless she found a way to boost her speed.

A brain push.

She hadn’t been thrilled when she’d learned that she could perform the incredibly rare telepathy skill. But as she shoved the warm energy humming in the back of her mind into her legs and felt her muscles surge with a tremendous burst of power, she was suddenly grateful for the strange ways her brain worked—even if it did make her headache worse. Her feet barely touched the ground as she raced over the soggy soil, leaving Dex, Sandor, and Grady far behind.

The sasquatch’s thoughts turned clearer again.

She was catching up.

The extra energy didn’t last as long as she’d expected, though, and as her strength drained she found herself barely able to stumble forward.

It’s okay, she transmitted, desperately shoving the words into the creature’s mind. I’m not going to hurt you.

The sasquatch froze.

Its thoughts were a jumbled mix of emotions, and Sophie couldn’t make sense out of any of them. But she took advantage of its momentary stillness, rallying the last of her energy to fumble toward a narrow opening in the thick wall of foliage. She could feel the sasquatch on the other side of the trees.

Waiting for the others would be the safer thing to do—but who knew how much longer the creature would wait around? And the creature felt calm at the moment. Curious.

Three deep breaths spurred her courage. Then Sophie padded into the clearing.

Meet the Author

Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned—among other things—that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and television production, but realized her real passion was writing for kids and teens. She is the author of the middle grade series Keeper of the Lost Cities and the Sky Fall series for young adults. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at ShannonMessenger.com.

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Exile 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
A_Good_Addiction More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book, and this one didn't disappoint. There is so much creativity, fun and imagination in this book. Not to mention, hello, flying unicorn (aka an alicorn!). While, yes, this one has a high page count, I couldn't put it down and read it in two sittings, staying up way too late to finish. The plot has so many unexpected twists and turns, and I loved watching Sophie try to deal with all of it. She makes some huge steps in her overall growth in this one, but as with the first book, there's also an arc for her within just this book that I loved. Not to mention, Keefe has a pretty role in this book, and he is definitely one of my favorite characters in the series. With plenty of laughs and fun in this one, mixed with some harder elements and a pretty strong emotional note, Exile is one of those books everyone needs to read, no matter their age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a masterpiece! The detail in which Shannon Messenger goes into is exquisite. If this story were real ( which i wish with all my heart that it is!) i would trade my life for Sophie's in a split second. Although, the pain that she goes through is unbearable. I guess guilt is something that all people (or elves) must go through at least once in their lives. Although, i am curious about the crushes in this book. It was obvious from the first book that Dex liked Sophie, but now Keefe may or may not like Sophie as well. And we all know that the alicorn Silveny (Glitter Butt!!) just happens to be attracted to Empaths, so what next? Will Sophie get every talent? She is a Telepath, an Inflictor, a Polyglot, and apparently she can teleport. What other talents are there? What will she manifest next?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was soooooooooo interesting. I couldn't put the book down until I got to the end because the middle was so intriguing. Before u read this book u need to read the first one called Keeper of the Lost Cities, which is as interesting as this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME book I picked up this book not realizing it was the secound book so I read it then read the first book then read it again cant wait for the next book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The next book should be coming out in fall 2014
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read this series, I loved it starting on page. I can't believe how Shannon Messenger can think of this whole world. And so many different characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a book series that you just want to not ever end ? This is the series. It is a page turning masterpiece. I have read thousands of books and this is by far one of the best and in my top 20 favorites. I can't wait for the next one. Just wish the stories wouldn't end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the world that Shannon Messenger creates. Her characters are strong, her atmosphere's exciting, and her adventures are wonderful to share with my kids. We all enjoyed this book and are looking forward to the last installment in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its the best i want everblaze so much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A amazing book with 390 pages. This is a must read for fantasy lovers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best books I have ever read. The plot has unexpected twists that make the book really interesting. I would have rated it five stars if it weren't for the glitches. The glitches sometimes cause the page to repeat over and over no matter how many times I try to turn it, but I figured out that I could press the "go to page" button and it works just fine. Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok, my last review was on Keeper of the Lost Cities book 1 by Shannon Messenger. This book was epic. Alden (Fitz's dad) and Sophie are set off to Exile, a dark prison for elves deep, deep, deep underground to give a memory break to Fintin. Later in the book Sophie and Keefe work together to find out why her telepathic and other abilities are failing. Join them in this second book and find out more about Sophie's hidden memories, and the mysterious group that they call "The Black Swan". To all who have not yet read any Keeper books: I suggest that you do not read this until you've read the first book. Otherwise the rest of the series may not make much sense. I would reccomend this series and book to anyone ages 11-16 ( my last review on the first book to this series "Keeper of the Lost Cities'' said 17 but I accidentally clicked 7 when I meant to click 6. Arrrghh the Nook screens are SO small). The reason for this is because there is crushes (on Fitz! GO SOPHITZ), mild violence, and some disturbing scenes (it's not TOO bad, it was made for tweens and teens afterall). You should TOTALLY get this WHOLE SERIES and read it in order. I'm telling you this series IS EPICALLY AWESOME!! It could be for boys or girls but, it is in third person view of Sophie the whole time. Thank you for reading this! Goodbye. END OF REVIEW. SERIOUSLY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was the best book ever and i am a big reader. I even introduced the first book to my friend and she dying to read the second one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the first and i still love this one. I loved everblaze too. I want there too be tons more. This one has an alicorn which was awsome. Its a flying unicorn whats not to love. Btw there should be a team Biana!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spectacular reading, and fun for all ages.
sparkyMS More than 1 year ago
I love this new series! What a great author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing I cant wait for everblaze! I know that in everblaz they treat Brant's burns cuz i was on shannon messengers instagram an she posted a picture of her cat on her laptop and u could see in da corner of the computer screen of parts of everblaze!!!!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Hey i have read quite a few of your reviews and you might have read some of mine anyway i was wondering if you would like to be NOOK friends? Kai517 was already invite by me to be NOOK friends anyway if you wanna chat or ask questions or even be friends, just comment to'mackenzie or MACKENZIE_1011 ~-~Mackenzie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was amazed by this book. I almost cried when it talked about brants memory of when jolie died. So sad. Amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if you people get this, but sometimes a book is written SO well that I get mesmerized, I can't hear anything or even see the book or feel my ands turning the pages. All I see is a PERFECT visualization of what's going on in the book. That hadn't happened for years until I found this series. I'm barely at the start of summer and have already read 1,900+ of incredible books like Dork Diaries and Middle School. This book and ones before and after are the first on my hold list. I LOVE THIS SERIES! I wish I could give it more stars. SO AWESOME!!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book to this series and know that I have read this one I think it is the best book I have ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have not read the series yet, you have to start from the beginning. The first book is called " Keeper Of The Lost Cities" . You have to read them in order but they are so good. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a: funny, action- packed, mystical book. ENJOY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Know these are ment for younger but I enjoyed her first one and this awesome I have read many times.