Neverseen, by our very own Shannon Messenger, for MMGM
I didn’t get spotlights in on the middle books, but if you want to see my thoughts on book one in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, you can see that spotlight here. As for Neverseen, I pronounce it a smashing success!
This is important to note, because some of the teen readers in my life were less than thrilled with Everblaze. In fact, my daughter was lukewarm on whether she wanted a hard copy of Neverseen or would accept (gasp!) her first paperback in this series. However, her friends who’d already consumed it reassured her, a hardcover was acquired, and eventually she stopped re-reading it and I was able to get my hands on it. So, let it be known–if you were disappointed with Everblaze, you will not be with Neverseen!
So, what are my thoughts on this fourth book in the series? Well, for one thing, I think Shannon did a marvelous job of dovetailing the plot arc and character arcs, which is probably a large part of why the book is so good. For a fourth book in a series, which has been acquiring new characters and picking up extra plot points with each additional book, this is no small thing! In my day job as a content editor, I work with authors on series and it’s HARD to nail that balance! I also think this book did the best to date of taking the series themes and fully exploring them within the arc of the individual book. In Neverseen, the questions which have been raised as to why the Elvish society should be the de facto rulers of the intelligent races, and whether their lofty ideals are truly realized within their own social circles were fully explored through the action and plot. We also got some great insights into the Neverseen organization, and how they in many ways mirror the goals of the Black Swan, albeit going after those goals in a very different way. Both groups recognize the need for change, and both are working to accomplish that change by shaking up the status quo from the inside out.
But, on reading over the above…I do believe I’m making the book sound boring! I can promise that my daughter and her friends are not geeking out over this book because they love the layered effect of the various societal problems, and the way those issues are echoed through the plot. So, what specifically did I love? Well, we finally get to see inside the ‘bad kid’ school, Exillium, which I’ve been curious about from the beginning. And it did not disappoint! In fact, it made me wonder why the elves haven’t forged an army from these kids, because that could be a thing. We also get to see what I can only call water bending (anyone out there fans of Avatar: the Last Airbender?) and also learn about shades, which are elves who can use their shadowvapor in creepy and cool ways. Additionally, we have some fantastic reveals and a couple new kids join the team, to epic effect. Let’s see…what else can I share without totally ruining it for you…fire fighting fire. A sweeping, city crashing wave. Tree houses. Dinosaurs which scream a cyclone hole in the ocean, by way of travel. Traps within traps. Flying shoes. And–argh! The rest would definitely count as spoilers.
I will say just one thing more. There was one reveal which I’ve seen coming since book one (being way too good at predicting these things) and another that I suspected for a couple books now. However, there was another twist which I found deeply poignant and did not see coming at all. It was the kind which will stay with me, however, and made for such a beautiful capstone to the book that I suspect it will always be associated with this series. Lovely, truly lovely.
And, that brings us to Apricot-kitty’s thoughts:
“I liked the pajamas the teens wore, when they stayed in the tree houses, and I still love Mr. Forkle. He’s got the heart of an elf, tenacity of a human, and wisdom of a cat. However, I did not like all the time they spent holding their breath in the water, and I could do without ever again seeing everblaze fire, as well!”
Did you all notice how she took my entire blog post and summed it up in one short paragraph? Times like this…I suspect she’s trying to make me look bad. But then again, maybe she can’t help it, cause she is a cat. 😉
For more Marvelous Middlegrade Monday posts, spotlights, reviews and interviews, stop by Shannon Messenger’s blog. And, happy reading!