Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Keeper of the Lost Cities Book #3 Everblaze Kindle Notes

These are the passages that I marked in my Kindle book.  The passages were marked either because I felt they contained significant information or because I simply found them interesting or amusing.  Seeing which passages I marked are not spoilers for later books, although they could lead readers to wonder about certain things.  The final part of this post is marked with a spoiler warning so that you can stop reading if you have not yet read the later books. 

Page 19   Or, she was until Keefe showed her the message.  Wait for instructions and stick to the plan.

Page 27   "But if you must know, I have noticed that my blue pathfinder is missing."  

Page 29   His hand barely touched her, but she still gasped and clutched her shoulder.  "I'm fine," she promised, glancing at Sophie.

Page 33   Dex's parents were known for playing by their own rules and not following social conventions.

Page 51   "What happened three days ago?" Sophie asked when Keefe turned slightly pale.  "That's when my dad had the effluxers installed."

Page 57   "You two certainly know how to give someone a heart attack," Kenric said, laughing as he nudged Alden.  "And I'm pretty sure you made this guy squeal."

Page 58   Sophie glanced at Keefe, trying to figure out how much to say.  She hadn't planned on having to tell the Council herself.  "I think I'll let you guys talk privately," Kenric jumped in, almost like he knew what she was thinking.

Page 67   "In fact, I made the same point to Kenric while he was here.  But he explained to me that that's the problem.  Fintan's easy.  With or without his mind healed, he's guilty, and had he given us the information we needed in the first place, we still would've exiled him for his crimes."

Page 68   "They've accepted that now is a time for change.  But they want to make sure it's the right change, and they need more information before they move forward—information that Fintan hopefully has."

Page 75   Things are happening, and I need your help. When and where can we meet?

Page 112   Your request is denied, for your own protection.

Page 118   "My brother said it hurt—he said he felt kind of achy all day before he manifested—and then his foot sank into the floor and he realized he was a Phaser and was like, 'oh, that's why!' "

Page 128   "You kids always need me right when I'm sitting down to lunch," he complained as he stepped aside to let Sophie pass.

Page 129   "I heard you had some excitement today," Master Leto said, checking his overly gelled hair before pressing his palm against the wall and opening the hidden doorway to the main tower.

Page 133   "I don't have a wife."  His voice had turned thick, his face twisted with emotion—though Sophie doubted even an Empath could translate it.  "I'm sorry," she said quietly.  "It's not… And I still… Not that it matters…"  She wasn't sure if he was talking to her anymore.  His gaze had turned distant, like he'd fallen deep into a memory.  And as she studied his face, she realized Master Leto was much older than he looked.  His ears weren't pointed, but he had ancient eyes.

Page 133   "You'd better go," he reminded her.  He didn't follow her as she headed up the twisting staircase.  And when she glanced down a few floors later he was still standing there, staring into space, looking even more confused than she felt.

Page 140   "Because they never asked.  And most of the reports I sent the Council seemed to vanish into some sort of void, never to be mentioned again.  I sent them all kinds of information about what I discovered of the true nature of ogre technology."

Page 155   "Well, you don't fascinate me as much as she does," Councillor Terik admitted, pointing to Sophie.  "Hers was the only reading I couldn't translate.  Everything I felt was too… divided."

Page 163   "It was probably the most talked about thing at the party—even more than how many times Councillor Kenric asked Councillor Oralie to dance."  Sophie smiled, imagining Kenric following Oralie around like a lost puppy.  She'd long suspected he had a crush on the blond-ringletted Councillor.

Page 210  "Here," Master Leto said, taking her hand and cleaning the blood off her finger with a silky handkerchief.  She waited for him to let go, but he leaned closer, squinting at Dex's ring before tracing his finger over her star-shaped scar.  "Looks like you've had an interesting few weeks."

Page 212   "My place," Kenric corrected, "is to ensure Sophie's safety—since you have proven that you will not always act with her best interests at heart."

Page 215   "I believe the first step is to identify the emotion you want to unleash," Kenric offered quietly.  "At least, that's what I remember studying."

Page 216   "Oh please, it's only been a few seconds," Kenric told him.  "You're doing great, Sophie."

Page 218   "Stay calm," Kenric told her, taking Sophie's hands and waiting for her to look at him.  "Whatever's happening, you have the power within you to fix it."  "How can you be so sure?"  "Because I've seen the wonders you work, Sophie.  You just have to believe."

Page 218   Sophie hoped he was right, taking three deep breaths before she shoved her consciousness into Bronte's mind.  His memories felt like sludge.

Page 221   "Besides, it wasn’t the anger that took him down.  That was actually how I got him out of it.  Which seems weird, doesn't it?  I mean, he was basically allergic to happiness."  "Um, you have met Bronte, right?"  "I know.  But I've been in some messed-up minds, and I've never felt anything like that sludgy darkness I felt today."

Page 221   Especially when she factored in the way Bronte's mind had blocked her from his memories.  Almost like he had something to hide…

Page 222   But what Sophie wanted to know was, How did everyone know so many classified things?  The information had to be leaking from someone in the Nobility—and a lot of the things people had heard about were things only the Councillors would know….

Page 224   He was right.  Bronte was far too grumpy and suspicious not to catch on.  But he was also hiding something—she could feel it.  There had to be a way to figure out what it was.

Page 249   "Because it was only a theory. You'd told me this Mr. Forkle—whoever he is—can slip past your mental blocking."

Page 250   "But subconsciously, I suspect your minds share a mutual trust based on years of close training.  Don't you believe that it was Mr. Forkle who planted the Black Swan's secrets carefully within your memories?"

Page 280   "Councillor Kenric's a Telepath?"  "Did I never mention?" Kenric asked with a grin.  "That's why I was part of your original committee of three.  They wanted an Empath to get a reading on who you were as a person, a Telepath to judge your capabilities, and Councillor Grumpypants because, well, he insisted."

Page 319   Alden pulled her close, his body shaking harder than hers as he told her, "I'm afraid he is.  Kenric charged Fintan when the room started raining Everblaze.  He managed to shove you, Fitz, and Oralie away, but then Fintan's body exploded with flames.  There was nothing we could do.  I—"

Page 326   "In fact… I think that's why you're here—why you grew up where you did.  So you could see our world through different eyes.  Help us find our way."

Page 343   "And I'm guessing there's no chance this could all be a mistake again?"  Fitz shook his head, twisting the piece of bark in his hands until it crumbled.  "My dad saw it happen."

Page 377   "You can implant something without the person ever really looking at it."  "Okay…," Sophie said slowly, her brain struggling to keep up.  "So is implanting bad?"  "Of course not.  It's just a super-hard skill only a few people can really pull off."

Page 390   "But he thinks I might be able to restrict someone's ability instead."

Page 397   Careful plans have now been changed;  So a meeting must be arranged.  In three days time, when the evening star ascends;  Find us where the lost have no end.

Page 399   The days ahead will be dark and dour.  You must not fear yourself or your power.

Page 400   "I don't either," Sophie admitted.  "I mean, why reach out to us now, after all these weeks of silence?"

Page 438   We meet tomorrow at sunset.  Outside my old home.  You bring the answers.  We'll rearrange the gnomes.

Page 441   Okay.

Page 447   "Because"—Mr. Forkle tapped the nose of one of the gnomes and the air shimmered around them—"I just put an impenetrable energy field around us."

Page 447   "They were many things, depending on what I needed.  Twelve years was a very long time to be separated from my world, and these ridiculous statues were all I had to remind me why I was here."

Page 447   "You are my greatest achievement, Sophie."  There was a softness to the words.  A warmth.  But the words were still wrong.  "That's all I am to you—an achievement?"  "What more would you like?"

Page 448   "Simple deduction.  You really think we would set fires in the shape of our sign, just to catch Alden's attention?"  "I guess not," she mumbled.

Page 448   "Somehow the Neverseen knew you were here.  They just didn't know precisely where.  So they lit the fires to flush you out, taunting us with our own symbol—and framing us in the process.  That's when I sent the newspaper article to Alden—the one that led him to you so he could take you away."

Page 452   But the Sencen family crest fit perfectly.  Hadn't his dad only given it to him recently?  And now that she thought about it… hadn't he given it to him after he found out Keefe was working on something with her?

Page 453   "Because their leader is a Pyrokinetic.  He left his burns on Sophie's wrists—burns that took me nearly an hour to treat."

Page 455   "Could you betray your own father?"  "I've done far worse," Mr. Forkle whispered.

Page 458   "Prentice called his the day before he was captured," he added quietly.  "I still haven't figured out how he knew it was coming."

Page 458   "Wait!" Sophie called as he pulled out a noticeably blue pathfinder.

Page 490   The rest of the Council nodded in agreement, except Terik and Oralie, and—quite surprisingly—Bronte.

Page 490   "The Council has already considered all other possibilities," Councillor Emery interrupted, emphasizing the word "Council" to make it clear that Magnate Leto was not a part of it.

Page 494   "Or, if I may," Magnate Leto jumped in, "I might not be a Councillor, but I am a Telepath, and one of my strengths is knowing if someone has invaded my mind.  If Sophie is able to get in, I'll be able to tell."

Page 496   If you can hear me, Sophie, do not let them know.

Page 500   And the last thing she saw as she stepped into the light was Magnate Leto, giving her a quick wink.

Page 503   "The Black Swan made me to do something—I don't know what, but it doesn't matter now because I'll never be able to do it and the whole thing is a waste."

Page 509   "Dude—even my dad thought it was messed up,"  Keefe jumped in.  "If that doesn't say something…"

Page 525   "Ah, I was under the impression that nothing was impossible."

Page 526   " 'It takes a special person to see darkness inside of someone and not condemn them.' "

Page 526   Now Bronte was one of the only Councillors still on her side—even if she did still think he was hiding something.

Page 526   "No, there was one other part.  He said, 'Inflicting comes from the heart, not the head.' "

Page 527   "That's not what I've seen.  I have it on good authority that nothing can stop you from being who we need you to be."

Page 533   "I still had to read between the rhyming lines, but it sounds like they want everyone to meet at Kenric's Wanderling at sunrise."

Page 569   "Green?" Mr. Forkle sighed when Sophie nodded.  "Green crystals go to the ogre cities."

Page 589   "Three!" Mr. Forkle shouted, belly flopping onto four of the dwarves closest to Fitz and Sophie, crushing them with his massive girth.

Page 594   Mr. Forkle said, limping toward them from a snowdrift Sophie was sure had been empty a second earlier.  "How did you...?" she started to ask, but Mr. Forkle waved the question away.

Page 596   "Yes, I remember," Mr. Forkle murmured.  "It took all of my mental energy to hold him back from snatching you off the street that day."

Next, I give my thoughts about what some of this might mean.  Stop reading NOW if you have not read through all of the books.  My comments include significant spoilers from later books.


The blue pathfinder is mentioned on pages 27 and 458.  Lord Cassius thinks that Keefe stole his blue pathfinder, which allows a leap to the Forbidden Cities.  Later, Mr. Forkle is in the Forbidden Cities with a blue pathfinder.

Only certain elite nobility such as the Councillors and emissaries have blue pathfinders.  The stolen pathfinder might be tied to Kenric having just died.  If Kenric is Forkle, then having faked his death might mean that he couldn't use his own pathfinder.  He might have had to steal one to that he could meet with Sophie.  It's also important to note that Sophie and Keefe called the meeting, not Forkle.  For whatever reason, Forkle had to scramble to get a blue pathfinder.

The first time I read this book, I caught onto how strange it is on page 58 that Kenric acts like he knows what Sophie is thinking.  He immediately makes an excuse and leaves when Sophie worries about having to tell what happened to a Councillor.  Kenric admits to being a Telepath on page 280.

The decision to heal Fintan instead of Prentice has never made sense to me.  I continue to wonder if someone on the Council is with the Neverseen and wanted Fintan healed.  The top suspect would be Kenric, which was one of my theories.  I still think Kenric is Forkle, which would eliminate him as the secret evil Councillor. 

The mention of Jensi's brother manifesting as a Phaser on page 118 is a possible clue to the identity of one of the members of the Collective, Blur.

Page 128 gives us another "you kids" clue about Leto being Forkle.

Leto often checks his "overly gelled hair" (page 129).  Kenric's hair is "wild" and would need to be gelled in order to lay flat like Leto's.

On page 133, Leto is quite emotional about how he has never had a wife.  This also points to Kenric, who can't be with his beloved Oralie.

On page 215, Kenric gives Sophie a suggestion on how to inflict, but then he quickly adds, "At least, that's what I remember studying," as if he needs to explain how he knows so that it won't be suspicious.  If Kenric is Forkle, then he does know about Inflicting, since he worked on genetic experimentation with Inflicting.

On page 455, Sophie asks Forkle if he could betray his own father.  Mr. Forkle says that he's done far worse.  I've been thinking about what that could mean.  Of course, it could mean anything, but I want to focus on betrayal.  If Kenric is Forkle, then he betrayed Oralie by faking his own death.  That would be a very deep and hurtful betrayal.  

Leto gives off quite a few clues that he is Forkle.  The author deliberately places an increasing number of clues in the text as the story nears a coming big reveal.  In book 4, it will be revealed that Forkle and Leto are the same elf.  This is why I believe that all the clues that are in book 9 foreshadow the forthcoming reveal about who Forkle really is as well as the identity of Sophie's other biological parent.  

Monday, May 29, 2023

Keeper of the Lost Cities Book #2 Exile Kindle Notes

These are the passages that I marked in my Kindle book.  The passages were marked either because I felt they contained significant information or because I simply found them interesting or amusing.  Seeing which passages I marked are not spoilers for later books, although they could lead readers to wonder about certain things.  The final part of this post is marked with a spoiler warning so that you can stop reading if you have not yet read the later books. 

Page 37   The first was when she was five.  She'd woken up in the Emergency Room, and the doctors told her she'd fallen and hit her head and her neighbor had called 911.  From that moment on she'd been able to read minds.  She knew now that Mr. Forkle had triggered her telepathic abilities that day.  What she didn't know was why.  Five was incredibly young to manifest a special ability...

Page 37   The second incident was when she was nine.  Again she'd ended up in the hospital, this time for a severe allergic reaction.  The human doctors never figured out what caused it, but a few months ago she'd found out the hard way that she was deathly allergic to limbium, a special compound that affected certain areas of the brain.

Page 109   "Can you really communicate with her?" Kenric asked.  With his vivid red hair and wide shoulders he was the easiest to recognize—and one of Sophie's favorite members of the Council, thanks to his warm smile.

Page 135   "What exactly does limbium do?"  "Many things, depending on what you mix it with.  Mainly it affects the limbic system."  A diagram from one of her old human science books filled Sophie's memory.  "That's the emotional center of the brain, isn't it?"  "And the center of behavior, long-term memory, and motivation.  It's also the root point of any special ability.  Not something to be tampered with lightly.  Which is why we put it in very few elixirs—and only use a drop.  Though in your case that's still a fatal amount…."

Page 191   Everyone looked at Sandor, who seemed to debate with himself before he answered.  "There... is a way to trick our senses."  

Page 191  "The Councillors, and a few select members of the nobility.  No others."

Page 209   If the Black Swan really were the good guys, then Prentice had technically been innocent.  He did hide something from the Council—but he was hiding her.  Probably trying to protect her from the real bad guys.

Page 221   "If anyone's mind should be broken, it's hers.  She's hiding more secrets than anyone."

Page 312   "That was hands down the most foolish thing you've ever done!" Tiergan shouted, and Sophie was surprised to realize he was the one hugging her.

Page 320   Tiergan smiled sadly and offered her his hand.  They'd walked several steps before Sophie realized how natural the gesture felt.  Tiergan's usual awkwardness around her seemed almost forgotten.  Like he'd stepped into Alden's role without even realizing it.

Page 322   "I suspect your upbringing helps you process grief better than the rest of us," he added, like he knew what she'd been thinking.  "Death and loss are so much more common for humans."

Page 344   Seconds later a tall elf with far too much shiny gel in his jet black hair opened the door just far enough to lean out and tell her, "You kids don't seem to realize that interrupting elite study time merits a week's detention."

Page 344   Neither did his sigh as he pulled the door open with a clank of metal on metal and said, "Well, this is going to be interesting.  I'm Master Leto—the Beacon for the Silver Tower.  Welcome to the elite, Miss Foster.  We've been waiting for you."

Page 347   He laughed like his joke was the funniest thing he'd ever heard, and it pretty much cemented for Sophie that she wasn't going to like Master Leto.

Page 351   When she didn't move, he nudged her forward, and she tripped on her too-long cape and slammed against the door, which swung open and sent her toppling into the room.  She could hear Master Leto snickering as a Mentor with raven black hair and midnight blue eyes leaned over her and said, "This is going to be far worse than I imagined."

Page 372   "Once again your ignorance astounds me.  Only negative emotions can be inflicted, Sophie.  Fear and pain and hopelessness work best.  Though anger works too."  He crossed his arms.  "Well, go ahead, then."

Page 385   "He's covered the walls in portraits and awards and has a life-size statue of himself in the center—carved out of Lumenite, so it glows.  I used to have nightmares about it coming to life and trying to eat me."

Page 389   "He thinks that the new abilities the Black Swan triggered aren't working right—and that it's affecting your other abilities."

Page 389   "If anyone's malfunctioning, it's him—I heard him try to laugh one time and he sounded like a freaked-out banshee."

Page 400   "Or maybe Silveny just has good taste," Keefe said, stepping close enough to lean in and whisper, "Just so you know, you're pretty much my hero now.  It takes serious talent to freak out the entire Council.  I may need you to give me some pointers!"

Page 418   "I hadn't realized the fear had spread this far," he mumbled.  "I rarely walk among the masses like Bronte and Kenric do.  This must be why they're pushing so hard for the alicorn's relocation."

Page 421   Books she'd read so many times the bindings were creased and frayed—though they looked a bit ridiculous now with their wizards and dragons and demigods on the covers.

Page 423   He held out the journal, pointing to scraps of torn paper running along the inner spine.  She had no memory of tearing those out.

Page 423   She tried not to imagine Mr. Forkle's chubby, wrinkled body skulking around her house when she wasn't home, tearing out the pages.  Or maybe she had been home.  An image of him looming over her while she slept filled her mind.  When else would he erase her memories?

Page 456   The message was only two words written in bold black ink.  Patience.  Trust.  But when she flipped it over, she found a tiny scrap of hot pink paper attached next to another message.  Stop searching for things you are not ready to understand.  Wait for us to give your next command.

Page 462   "But I've checked her—many times," Elwin argued.  "I would've seen if there was something wrong."  "Only if the problem is physical," Master Leto corrected, like he was suddenly the expert on everything.  "If it's mental—"

Page 462   "Why are you still here?" Sophie shouted.  "Don't you need to get back to the tower and do—whatever it is Beacons do."  His lips twitched—almost like he wanted to smile.  "It's just a suggestion.  That's how the mirror works."

Page 463   "It really is the light," Master Leto said, staring at Sophie so intently it felt like his eyes were peering inside her head.

Page 467   "Think about it, Keefe—how do they even know I have the journal?  They have to be watching me.  They're probably watching us right now, making notes on any plan we come up with so they can thwart it."

Page 468   The Black Swan had given her pins as clues before, and this one, like the others, looked like it was a Prattles' pin.  When she flipped it over, she found a tiny digital readout that said: #1 OF 2.  So not only had they snuck into Havenfield, tricked the goblin's senses to avoid getting caught, opened the lock that needed her DNA to open, but they'd also managed to get their hands on the rarest Prattles' pin of them all.

Page 469   Well, they could forget it.  She was done being controlled.  Especially when she saw the message on the note:  Face your fears.

Page 476   There were two lines of text on the note when she unfolded it, but her eyes only saw the first.  A small sob slipped through her lips as she read the four words that changed everything.  We can fix you.

Page 478   The note had another sentence.  One that was just as vague and unhelpful as the other times she'd heard it:  Follow the pretty bird across the sky.

Page 484   "But we do know that clearly the Black Swan can get to Sophie any time they want"—she pointed to the notes in Grady’s hand—"so if they wanted to hurt her, they could've easily done it by now.  And they haven't."

Page 500   A heavyset figure stepped into the light.  "You kids and your screaming."

Page 500   Sophie felt her jaw fall open.  "Mr. Forkle?"  "That's one of my names, yes."  "Want to tell me the real one?"  A tiny smile played across the wrinkles of his bloated face. "When the time is right."

Page 500   Mr. Forkle laughed—though it sounded more like a wheeze.  "You're not the only one with an impenetrable mind.  That's why we're alone right now.  Can't have you searching for things you're not yet ready to understand."  Sophie glared at him.  "I deserve to know what you're hiding from me.  And I want my memories back—and my journal pages!"  "It's not a matter of deserving, Sophie.  Knowledge is a dangerous thing.  Trust me when I say that it's better for you not to know."  "All I ever do is trust you!"  "I know, Sophie.  And we appreciate it."

Page 503   "Wait."  She rubbed the temples of her still foggy head.  "There's a way through my blocking?"  How else do you think I gave you your memories? he transmitted.  His mental voice didn't sound screamy like Fitz's, but hearing it in her head made her want to claw the words back out.

Page 503   She shuddered at the memory.  "So, you did want me to fix Prentice.  That was what your first clue meant?"  "In part.  We needed Alden to take you down there in order for you to have access to Prentice, so the message was also meant to convince him that you should be his guide.  But yes.  We knew when we started Project Moonlark that we could very well endure some casualties—especially with our Keepers—so we gave you the ability to heal broken minds.  That way you could recover anyone who was lost."

Page 504  "A nook where things can be hidden.  We trained our Keepers to hide a part of their consciousness there during a memory break, so that we could rescue them later."

Page 504   "But I can't inflict positive emotions."  He gave her a knowing look.  "I can?"  "Only in theory—though it's looking much more likely now that I've seen the connection between you and Silveny.  I modeled many of your genetic manipulations on alicorn DNA."

Page 505  Especially when he added, "I have often wondered if that's how you ended up with brown eyes, though."

Page 509   "I mean it, Sophie.  Despite what you may think, you are not our puppet.  We may give you suggestions and guidance, but in the end the final decision is always up to you.  You can leave right now and remain just the way you are."

Page 514   "The guy who posed as my old next-door neighbor to keep tabs on me around humans.  And apparently he's the guy who made me."

Page 526   She may be an anomaly and a freak and created for things she didn't understand, and her real father may or may not be some mysterious elf who kept abandoning her when she needed him most.  But she wasn't made by murderers.  She wasn't bad.

Page 532   Kenric stepped forward.  "I think perhaps we're focusing on the wrong concern.  Sophie, do you still have the compass that led you to the Black Swan?"

Page 534   "You really believe you can heal his mind?"  Kenric asked quietly.  "According to the Black Swan, I was designed that way."

Page 553   Kenric stepped forward when no one else did.  "I will not concede to a Tribunal, Bronte.  No matter how you try to twist it, there's nothing about what happened that would merit us locking Grady away in Exile like a murderer."  He turned to the other Councillors.  "That's not justice.  That makes us just as cruel and reckless as the rebels we're trying to prevent.  And if that's the kind of action we would consider to try and prove our worthiness, then we deserve every bit of criticism we're getting."

Page 565   "Yes, Sophie and I were having a pleasant conversation.  So I'm sure this is your cue to ruin it."

Page 566   He released an epic-length sigh.  "No. I also wondered… is it true that you can inflict positive emotions?"  "I think so.  Why?"  His eyes dropped to his hands.  "Well, then.  Perhaps we'll have something to teach each other."

Next, I give my thoughts about what some of this might mean.  Stop reading NOW if you have not read through all of the books.  Significant spoilers from later books are mentioned.


It's apparent that someone in the Council is either feeding information to the Black Swan or is in the Black Swan.  I didn't pick up on that the first time I read this book.  Now that I have my suspicions about Councillor Kenric being Forkle, it's quite obvious.

Sophie asks Councillor Terik to help her with finding her journal.  Soon after, the Black Swan warns Sophie not to pry into her past.  Terik could've told Kenric about the journal.   When I first read this story, I focused more on Terik and thought that he was involved.

When I first read this book, I missed the clue when Leto says "you kids."  It's such an obvious clue that he is grumpy old Forkle.  Leto is a bit mean to Sophie in these early scenes in order to disguise that she already knows him as another identity.

On page 500, Forkle tells Sophie, "I know, Sophie.  And we appreciate it."  I originally interpreted that as meaning that the Black Swan is appreciative.  I now feel like the "we" could instead refer to both Mr. Forkles, since there are two of them. 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Keeper of the Lost Cities Book #1 Kindle Notes

These are the passages that I marked in my Kindle book.  The passages were marked either because I felt they contained significant information or because I simply found them interesting or amusing.  Some passages were marked when I reread this book after I had read the later books, realizing that the content was important.  The final part of this post, which is marked with a spoiler warning, should not be read unless you've read the later books.  

Page 6   The editor seemed as unhappy as they were.  The story was run in place of an article on the arsonist terrorizing the city—and they were still trying to figure out how the mistake had happened.

Page 41   Mr. Forkle could always be found there, rearranging hundreds of garden gnomes into elaborate tableaux.

Page 43   Mr. Forkle might be on the old side, but he was a large man, and when he straightened up to his full height, he made quite an intimidating figure.  They stared each other down for a few seconds.  Then the jogger shook his head and backed off.

Page 45   She couldn't even remember hearing Mr. Forkle's thoughts—now that she thought about it—and she could always hear his.

Page 53   "You've never had to watch someone fade away.  Perhaps if you had, you would be more cautious."

Page 57   Kenric was built like a football player, with wild red hair and a big, toothy grin.  Oralie looked like a fairy princess—rosy cheeks and long golden ringlets.  And then there was Bronte.

Page 58   "We don't know," Kenric said, scooting his chair a touch closer to Oralie's than he really needed to.  "No one's died of old age yet."

Page 60   Kenric's and Oralie's jaws dropped.

Page 61   "You're thinking that you're the only one at this table with any common sense," she announced.  "And you're tired of watching Kenric stare at Oralie."  Bronte's jaw fell open and Kenric's face turned as red as his hair.  Oralie looked down at her plate, her cheeks flushing pink.

Page 62   "Fitz also saw her lift more than ten times her weight with telekinesis yesterday."  "You're kidding!" Kenric gasped, recovering from his embarrassment.  "At her age?  Now that I have to see."

Page 63   Kenric applauded.  "Excellent control."

Page 64   Kenric clapped her on the back, pulling her out of her worries.  "I've never seen such natural talent.  You're even a natural at our language.  Your accent is perfect.  Almost as perfect as these guys'."  He pointed to Alden and Fitz.

Page 65   Kenric shrugged.  "I can't think of what that would be."

Page 79   "That’s an understatement."  He stared at Sophie long enough to make her squirm.  "You really found her—after all these years?"

Page 80   "So this is why Prentice sacrificed everything," Quinlin breathed, staring at the glowing double helixes as though seeing a long-lost child.

Page 81   Sophie counted the seconds as they ticked by.  Two hundred seventy-eight passed before he pulled away—so much for less than a minute.

Page 81   "It means she'll be the greatest Keeper we've ever known, once she's older," Alden said through a sigh.  Quinlin snorted.  "If she isn't already."

Page 81  A second passed before Alden answered.  "Some information is too important to record.  So we'll share it with a Keeper, a highly trained Telepath, and leave them in charge of protecting the secret."  "Then why would I already be one?"  "Quinlin was joking about that."  Alden's smile didn't reach his eyes, which made it harder to believe.

Page 83   "They're burning white hot—against the wind.  Like they were set by someone who knew what they were doing.  Plus… doesn't it look like the sign?"

Page 83   Alden frowned.  "No.  But you were the only one who knew what I was up to."  "Not the only one," Quinlin said quietly.

Page 85   "Bronte has his babysitter sitting outside my office all day, taking notes though," Quinlin grumbled.  "He could've at least picked someone who's a decent receptionist."

Page 85   "Bronte had specifically ordered us to ignore the evidence we found of your existence," Alden explained.  "He thought the DNA we'd discovered was a hoax and that my search was a waste of time.  That's why he was so hard on you today.  He doesn't like being wrong.  And he really doesn't like knowing that I've been working behind his back."

Page 91   Tiergan spun toward her and his eyes did a quick inventory, widening when they locked with hers.

Page 91   The way Tiergan was staring at her—like he'd just watched someone kill his favorite puppy—was officially weirding her out.

Page 92   Tiergan raised a hand, silencing him.  He took a step closer to Sophie, waiting for her to meet his eyes.  "Being a Telepath around humans is quite a burden.  I'll bet you've had terrible headaches and heard all kinds of things you didn't want to hear.  Right?"  She nodded, stunned by his sudden change in mood.  He sounded almost… kind.  He frowned and looked away, mumbling something she mostly didn't understand.  But she thought she caught the word "irresponsible."

Page 101   "You don't know who sent this to you?" she asked.  "I have a few theories.  No reason to worry."  "You keep saying that."  A hint of irritation crept into her tone.

Page 112   She closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to see her family's limp bodies, and counted the seconds until Fitz returned.

Page 122   "All I know is I woke up in the hospital and my parents were freaking out, saying my neighbor had called nine-one-one and that I'd been unconscious for hours."

Page 132   "She's still in pain," she said, not entirely sure how she knew.

Page 152   "Had to come see for yourself, Juline?" Grady asked.  "I'm allowed to visit my sister, aren't I?" she asked, her eyes riveted to Sophie.

Page 166   "I'm Jensi—whoa—you have really weird eyes—cool—anyway—so—everyone wants to talk to you—but they're all afraid—so I decided to show them how it's done."

Page 175   But Sir Astin—a pale blond elf with a soft, whispery voice—said she was a natural.

Page 183   "Of course not.  But please just call me Tiergan.  I am not a member of the nobility—Mentor or no."

Page 184   He frowned, like his mind had wandered somewhere else again.  "I have no doubt you are exactly the way you were intended to be."

Page 186   But Tiergan warned her that her impenetrable mind would make it hard for anyone to trust her—she could hide something too easily.

Page 195   "You must be lost."  The boy's deep voice brought her out of her trance.  He wore a green Level Four uniform, and was sprawled across a bench, watching her with curious, ice blue eyes.

Page 301   Sir Astin was always pale, but he looked downright ghostly as he jumped back and screamed, "Don't move!"  She froze.  "Should I wrap it back up?"

Page 302   "No, Sophie.  I never taught you that name.  No one teaches that name."  His voice was hushed—barely audible.  That explained why Dex and Elwin had never heard of it.  "But I had to learn it here," she insisted.  "How else would I know it?"  "I have no idea.  Elementine is one of the five unmapped stars.  Only the Councillors know their exact locations—and no one is allowed to bottle their light."  He swallowed loudly.  "You’ve broken a very serious law, Sophie.  This will merit a tribunal to decide how you should be punished."

Page 304   Kenric's was sturdy and simple, made of polished wood encrusted with large pieces of amber.

Page 306   Oralie nodded again and Sophie finally understood.  Oralie was reading her emotions—a living, breathing lie detector.

Page 306   A Telepath could monitor Sir Astin's thoughts for honesty.  His mind wasn't impenetrable, like Sophie's.

Page 312   "I was thinking how strange it is that you don't know the name of one of our most common trees—and yet you knew the name and location of a star only a handful of us have ever heard of, and only the Councillors know how to find."  

Page 320   The Council was right.  Information had been planted in her brain.

Page 323   "Only blue crystals take you to the Forbidden Cities, and only certain members of the nobility are allowed to have them."

Page 325   "Sophie, look at me," Tiergan said, waiting until she did.  "Prentice was exiled because he was hiding your existence—not because he was responsible for it."

Page 325   "Prentice was a Keeper for a group called the Black Swan, and the information he was hiding was you.  Where to find you.  I'd warned Prentice there would be consequences for helping the Black Swan, but he didn't listen."

Page 326   "A small group of insurgents in our society adopted the name.  A brewing rebellion—a black swan—in a society where rebellion isn't supposed to exist."  "How do you know so much about them?" she had to ask.  "You're not the only one with secrets you'd rather not share."

Page 356   A book was waiting on the center shelf of her locker: An Insider's Guide to Pyrokinesis.  It came with a note: "Hope this helps you find what you're looking for."

Page 361   "Did you know that this is a moonlark?"  A chill ran through her as she shook her head.  She'd barely paid attention to the cover.  "Suldreen," Alden said quietly.  "Moonlarks lay their eggs in the ocean and let the tide carry them away.  The babies hatch alone, and must learn to survive without family.  That's what the Black Swan called you.  Project Moonlark."

Page 361   "Prentice was a Keeper for the Black Swan, so the Council ordered Quinlin to probe his memories.  His mind broke in the process, and Quinlin was only able to extract two pieces of information.  A strand of your unregistered DNA, and your code name: Moonlark.  You were the egg they cast out into the sea of humans, hoping you'd survive."

Page 362   "Your human parents had trouble getting pregnant, so they saw a fertility doctor.  I believe that doctor was a member of the Black Swan—posing as a human—and that he implanted your mother with your embryo to keep us from knowing about your existence."

Page 363   "I never said you were a weapon.  I don't know why they made you, or why they wanted me to find you."  He smiled sadly when her eyes widened.  "It's safe to assume they're the ones who sent me that article about you.  I'm sure they wrote the article—I doubt it's a coincidence the title uses the word 'prodigy.'  They even burned their sign around the city where you lived to get our attention."

Page 367   "Stop!" she screamed.  "Stop right now. Stop!"  STOP!  Her mental plea was so desperate it transmitted.  Iggy froze and turned to look at her—eyes wide with shock.  Let go of the paper!

Page 387   "Balefire was Fintan's trademark.  It's a blue flame that requires no fuel.  You've seen it in Atlantis—he sealed it inside the crystal spires to light the city.  That was back when he was one of the Councillors.  He retired when pyrokinesis was banned—which he fully supported after what happened."

Page 387   "Fintan retired from the Council because he couldn't serve without a special ability.  But he's stayed close friends with most of the Councillors, and he's the only elf alive who can start Everblaze, so can you see why the Councillors might have a hard time believing he's capable of this?"

Page 389   "I can't even begin to guess, but everything they've done has put you at risk.  They gave you an illegal leaping crystal as a necklace.  They made you collect Quintessence.  Now they're trying to get you to make a very serious charge against a former Councillor—without evidence."

Page 395   Her eyes blurred with tears as she tore off the brown paper, unwrapping a silver orb and a note.  "You must help them."  Followed by three names: "Connor, Kate, and Natalie Freeman."

Page 427   "It's not important."  His voice sounded clipped, giving her nothing distinct she could recognize.  "Why are you helping me?"  "It's my job."  His job?

Page 460   "It's not a good idea to inflict pain on him."  Her jaw dropped.  "Inflict?" Alden nodded.  "It seems you're an Inflictor."

Page 467   "But… why could I hear his thoughts?  Shouldn't his mind have been silent?"  "Another part of his disguise.  A highly skilled Telepath can broadcast thoughts the way humans do.  He gave you what you needed to hear to not suspect him.  I bet that's how they planted some of the memories in your brain.  He certainly had enough access to you to broadcast subliminal messages when he needed to."

Page 471   The Council didn't take the threats seriously, but they forbade human contact of any kind and recruited Telepaths like myself to keep our minds open for suspicious activity.  All talk of rebellion vanished, and the Council was satisfied.  Crisis solved."

Page 471   "The Council has been forced to admit the rebellion exists, and you can rest assured that this threat will be resolved.  We have tremendous power at our disposal.  We just haven't been using it."

Next, I give my thoughts about what some of this might mean.  Stop reading NOW if you have not read the later books.


In this post, I lay out my theory about who Mr. Forkle really is.  I don't come out and say exactly what I think in these comments, although I do hint at it.  For that reason, you really should stop reading if you haven't read through all the books.

I am obsessed with Kenric, which is why I include so much of what he says and does.

I picked up on the importance of Sophie's neighbor, Mr. Forkle, the first time that I read this book.  It seemed odd that he was in his front yard all the time, and he was rather protective of Sophie for an apparently grumpy old neighbor.  He appears to force the jogger to run away through some kind of mental trick.

I'm certain that Kenric and Oralie's mouths drop open because they are both faking their surprise.  We learn in later books that both Councillor Kenric and Councillor Oralie knew specific information about Project Moonlark long before Sophie ever arrives in the Lost Cities.

It's important to note that Kenric has "wild red hair," since he would have trouble controlling his hair if he were to disguise himself.

Both Kenric and Astin use the word "natural" to describe Sophie.  I don't think this is just a coincidence.  

Only certain members of the nobility are allowed to possess the blue crystals for leaping to the Forbidden Cities.  Since Forkle must have a blue crystal, he must be one of the elite nobility.

It's significant that Sophie was given the location of the five unmapped stars.  Only the Councillors know of their location.  This means that someone in the Council is involved with the Black Swan, and perhaps that Councillor is also Mr. Forkle, who just happens to have one of the elusive blue crystals.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Memorial Day Sale at Jennifer's Series Books

All items are 15% off on both eBay and Etsy.  The sale runs through Monday evening (May 29).

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I need to jumpstart sales in order to clear shelf space.  Furthermore, I have no motivation to list when very little that has been listed is selling.  15% off is a greater discount than I usually offer, so this is a great opportunity for some great savings. 

The free shipping promotion is still in place.  Orders of $50 or more ship free to United States addresses.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: The Identity of Sophie's Creator

The purpose of this post is to reveal my personal theory about the true identity of Sophie's creator in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  I have split this post into two sections.  The first section is safe to read if you've read to at least partway through book 6.  As I read book 6, I figured out an anagram of a character's name that appears in book 3. 

I don't think I would have wanted to know that information quite as early as book 3, simply because the questions I had led to me enjoying the series more than what otherwise might have happened.  I feel that waiting until around book 6 is best, even though the information is available in book 3.  Knowing this information while I was reading book 6 did not spoil my reading experience.  

STOP READING NOW if you have not read books 1-6.  You've been warned.  


I did not allow myself to read any reviews or run any online searches for this series during the one month that I was reading the books.  Since I wished to avoid spoilers, I had no way of answering my own questions other than searching through the books and examining every detail.  Avoiding everything online caused me to draw certain conclusions that many other readers haven't.

We know Sophie's creator, the leader of the Black Swan, as Mr. Forkle.  For a time, I thought that his true identity was Magnate Leto.  I then realized that Forkle's true identity was unknown to us.

Meanwhile, Councillor Kenric died.  At least, Sophie is told that Kenric has died.  She didn't see it happen, and it doesn't seem that anyone else truly saw what happened.  Kenric supposedly burned up in the Everblaze with Fintan.  How convenient.  Whenever a body isn't found, I'm suspicious.

I kept wondering about Kenric's death.  There was no body.  It didn't sit right with me.  I mean, it really bothered me.  I'll admit this was mainly because I love Kenric, want him to be alive, and refuse to accept that he died in a scene that was only vaguely described. 

After I learned that Magnate Leto was one of Mr. Forkle's identities, I searched for Leto's name, finding that Leto's last name is Kerlof, an anagram for Forkle.  

I then wondered more about Kenric.  I wondered if he was involved with the Neverseen, since he disappeared/burned to death with Fintan, a member of the Neverseen.  However, Fintan later reappears very much alive.  If Fintan is alive, then why not Kenric as well?  I worried that Kenric's disappearance with a member of the Neverseen who then turns up alive meant that Kenric was in on the plot against Sophie.  Oh, no!  I was rather alarmed by this thought.

At some point I started thinking about Forkle and whether Kenric could be Forkle.  I had noticed that Forkle doesn't become prominent until after Kenric dies.  From Kenric's death forward, Forkle appears quite often.  Even though I wondered about it, I thought it was a long shot, since Sir Astin (another Forkle identity) insists that Kenric must be dead because he wouldn't hurt Oralie by not telling her that he is still alive.  That did fool me some, but I continued to be suspicious.  If Kenric is Forkle, then Kenric is Astin as well and would cover for himself. 

Since I had found an anagram in Leto's name, I wondered if there was an anagram in Kenric's name.  Kenric starts with "K" which is a letter in Forkle.  I felt like I had seen Kenric's full name somewhere, but I couldn't find it.  For some reason, it wasn't showing up in my Kindle book searches.

Note:  I could, of course, have found the full name online quite easily.  But I might have been spoiled, so I didn't look online.  That was not an option.

I kept looking at every mention of Kenric, trying to find clues.  Somehow, I finally stumbled across Kenric's full name, which apparently wasn't appearing in the search results because it was italicized.  Honestly, I found that a little strange, and it made me feel certain that I could find an answer in Kenric's full name.

Kenric's full name is Kenric Elgar Fathdon.

Now I could get to work!  I saw the "F" and immediately pulled "Forkle" out of the name.  It could have been a coincidence, but I felt like I was onto something.  That left me with:

e n r i c g a a t h d n

I came up with some words like "grand" which led nowhere.  After struggling for a while, I finally came up with the word "grin."  Oh!  Kenric grins.  This is stated several times in the books.  I was getting excited.  Where there's smoke...

So I had "Forkle grin" with these letters left:

e c a a t h d n

It didn't take long to pull "and" out, leaving me with:

e c a t h

And that word is "teach."

So I had "Forkle grin and teach."  I was astonished and thrilled, because it made perfect sense.

Kenric grins.  Leto teaches.

The phrase then translates to "Forkle, Kenric, and Leto."  I interpreted that to mean that all three identities are the same character and that Kenric isn't dead!  Yay!

Even though I felt 100% certain that I was right, I also wanted to back it up.  As I continued reading through the books, I looked for anything that could back up my belief about the three characters.  I do feel that the books have many subtle clues about Forkle and Leto that support what I gleaned about Kenric from the anagram.

This is a spoiler warning for the remainder of this post.  STOP READING NOW if you have not read all of books 1-9 as well as book 8.5.  You've been warned.  MAJOR LATE SERIES SPOILERS follow immediately after this warning.


I read through the books a second time to find additional clues.  While I will be including all of the passages I marked in a series of upcoming posts, I want to make a few points right now.

We learn in book 8 that Oralie is Sophie's biological mother.  Sophie has an odd habit of tugging out an eyelash when she gets nervous.  In book 8, we learn that Oralie had the same odd habit, which she went to a lot of effort to break.

If Sophie has an odd habit in common with her biological mother, then she might have one in common with her still-unknown biological father.  Sophie's other odd habit is that she counts the seconds.  Here are a sample of the many instances.

Book 1, Page 81   Sophie counted the seconds as they ticked by.  Two hundred seventy-eight passed before he pulled away—so much for less than a minute.

Book 3, Page 569   Two hundred and twenty-nine seconds passed before he released her, his swollen face paler than she'd ever seen.

Book 4, Page 581   Another two hundred and thirty-three seconds went by before dust rustled above them.

Book 8, Page 173   Five hundred and twenty-nine seconds later they were still climbing—and yes, Sophie counted.

Sophie counts a lot of seconds.  She always does this silently, so nobody knows.  When I read through the books for the second time, I realized that two other characters mention counting the seconds one time apiece.

Book 5, Page 474   "Yes you have," Mr. Forkle said [to Gethen].  "I can see the twitch in your eye.  I bet you have no idea how long you've been in here.  Maybe you should've thought to count the seconds."

Book 9, Page 199   "It's been about three hundred seconds," Kenric announced [to Bronte in a cached memory] several minutes later.

Hmm... I don't think it's a coincidence that Forkle and Kenric just happen to be the two characters who mention counting seconds.  This information points to Kenric being Sophie's biological father and to Kenric being Forkle's true identity.  In book 9, there are also a number of other clues that point to the same, which I'll get into when I post about book 9.

I've mentioned that many fans who discuss this series online don't think that Forkle is Kenric.  They do wonder about certain things.  One fan wondered why we know Kenric's full name, Kenric Elgar Fathdon, when we know only the first name of every single other Councillor.  Um, probably because Kenric's name is an anagram.

The fans also wonder why Kenric is mentioned so much in books 8.5 and 9, since he is dead.  Oh like, maybe he isn't dead... maybe he is Sophie's biological father... maybe he is Mr. Forkle...  He is being mentioned often for some particular reason that has yet to be revealed.

Additional observations will be included in my upcoming posts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Upcoming Keeper of the Lost Cities Posts

Yesterday I finished reading through the Keeper of the Lost Cities series for the second time.  I read through the entire series twice from March 13 through yesterday, May 22, a total of 10 weeks.  I have been completely obsessed this entire time.

This post contains no spoilers.

I mentioned in my previous posts my frustration with online discussions and reviews of this series.  Many readers are blind to the clues and don't see what is really going on.  Many of them have come up with bizarre theories that cannot possibly be true.  For instance, a number of people think one of the two most evil characters in the series must be Sophie's biological father.  Um, I'm sorry, but this series isn't going to end with a "Luke, I am your father" moment.

My dad read through the books after I had finishing reading them for the first time.  (By the way, after taking a break for a week, he just started reading through them for the second time.)  I kept checking with him to see how far he had gotten.  Finally, he announced that he had finished with the Forgotten Memories part of Book 9.  He immediately added, "It's obvious that _______ is Sophie's biological father."  I threw my hands in the air and exclaimed, "THANK YOU!"

The clues in the Forgotten Memories are rather obviously leading us to a certain conclusion which these people commenting online refuse to see.  I think that's in part because they must not have read the Forgotten Memories since many of them say that the entire Forgotten Memories part of Book 9 is boring.  Okay, whatever.

Around two weeks ago, I thought of Goodreads reviews, which I hadn't thought to check.  I thought maybe there were some good discussions there.  I didn't make it very far.  I saw more of the same complaints about how the Forgotten Memories are SO BORING in Book 9 (how can clues to the BIG SECRET be boring?!).  Ugh.  I saw a scathing review about how elves are stupid.  These elves are NOT STUPID.  I saw insults about how the books are a ripoff of Harry Potter.  

While there are unmistakable similarities to Harry Potter, how is that bad?  It's like how Nancy Drew is similar to the Hardy Boys, or Merivale Mall is similar to Sweet Valley High.  Um, fans of one type of book tend to like the ones that are very similar to it.  I love Harry Potter, and I tend to really like books that are similar to Harry Potter.  I fail to see a problem.

So my failure to find any semblance of decent, satisfying discussion of this series has caused me to spend over two months figuring it out for myself.  I decided to hash it all out in this blog.  I have a total of 12 posts on the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.  They are as follows.

Keeper of the Lost Cities:  The Identity of Sophie's Creator
Keeper of the Lost Cities #1 Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #2 Exile Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #3 Everblaze Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #4 Neverseen Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #5 Lodestar Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #6 Nightfall Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #7 Flashback Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #8 Legacy Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #8.5 Unlocked Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #9 Stellarlune Kindle Notes
Keeper of the Lost Cities #9 The Forgotten Memories

These posts are long (as in really long) and contain major series spoilers.  I will have each post flagged with a spoiler warning advising how far a reader must have read in order not to be spoiled by the comments I make.  The post on Sophie's creator plus the posts for #8, #8.5, and both posts for #9 will contain major late series spoilers.

If you are interested in reading these books, you won't want to read any of these posts ahead of time.  You can, however, read my previous posts on this series.  Please do, as I'd like to get more people interested in these books.  I love them So. Very. Much.  (I mimic the author a bit in these posts.  I can't help it since I have been immersed for over two months.)

My Keeper of the Lost Cities Obsession
Overview of the Keeper of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger
More on Keeper of the Lost Cities

Around 10 days ago, I received a message from Amazon about a $3.00 Kindle book credit expiring in 24 hours, which I earned from my purchase of the later books in the Keeper set.  Oh, no!  I wasn't interested in buying any Kindle books, since I was still reading these books again.  But then I realized.  (Yeah, author mimic time, sorry.)  Shannon Messenger has a short young adult series as well.  I figured that considering how much I love the Keeper books that the young adult series had to be worthwhile.  I went to Amazon and purchased the first book in that set to read when finished with rereading the Keeper books.

I started Let the Sky Fall last night.  It's good so far.  It's definitely a young adult book rather than a children's book.  I love both genres.  Actually, for modern books, I lean towards young adult in what I prefer to read.

Oh, I should also mention that the Keeper books are more of an upper level children's book.  That makes a difference, as well.  I can't say enough good things about the books.

Please try the Keeper series.  Oh, how I love them! 

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Last Chance to Get the Nancy Drew Novella + Recreated Jackets and a Musical

Just four days remain for the Kickstarter for the Nancy Drew action figures.  The fans who back the project are the only ones who have a chance to get a copy of the new Nancy Drew novella.

Nancy Drew Retro-Style Action Figures and an All-New Novella

The novella will be hardcover, and the cover art is by Ruth Sanderson.  The book will be written by one of Simon & Schuster's Carolyn Keene ghostwriters.  You must make a pledge in order to get the novella.  You can pledge for just one of the action figures and then can add the novella as well. 

The novella will not be offered in stores. The only way to get it is through the Kickstarter.

There are also some other exclusives offered through the Kickstarter as well, but I consider the novella to be the most significant of the three and the one that collectors would most regret missing out on.


Collector George Beatty has started a Facebook group devoted to reproduction dust jackets.  The group is currently set to public.

Boys and Girls Series from the Past

George is selling reproduction dust jackets.  I believe his price is $15 per jacket.  George's contact information can be found in the comments section of some of the posts.  Keep in mind that George has an expensive printer, and ink is expensive as well.  George is not profiting from the reproduction dust jackets.


Finally, a Nancy Drew musical is in the works.

Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor

Monday, May 1, 2023

More on Keeper of the Lost Cities

This post contains no spoilers.

The Keeper of the Lost Cities series is written in an engaging and interesting style.  It has lots of action along with great character development and a compelling story.  Best of all, the series has an intriguing mystery that has completely captivated me.

I spent a month reading through the set, staying away from online forums so as to avoid spoilers.  I figured out an important anagram on my own, discovering the clue to a big secret.  After I finished reading the latest book, I went online, expecting to see it all hashed out.  I found hardly anything.  How strange...

Since then, I have kept looking for people's theories.  People do have theories, and many people are thinking exactly what I am.  What's strange is that when these people mention that theory in a discussion forum, they get shot down immediately.  Everyone else says that it's not possible. 

I'm perplexed.  This seems so obvious to me, and there is plenty of chatter about it.  However, many other fans just don't see it.  The author has placed clues throughout all of the books, yet readers are missing these clues.

I think this is because most fans are children.  While these books are children's books, the detailed information and clues are above their level.  They will miss most of the subtext.

For instance, many fans find the first half of book 9 to be boring.  That is where the flashback memory scenes are detailed.  I have now read some parts of the first half of book 9 at least four times while looking for clues.  Since many fans find that part boring, this means that they are missing all of the clues and have no idea what is going on.

These books are definitely books that adult readers should consider.  I love searching for clues.  The only other series where I actively searched for clues was Harry Potter during the years in which that series was first being published.  The Keeper series has captured my attention in the same way that Harry Potter did. In fact, my obsession with the Keeper series goes far beyond what I felt about Harry Potter.
Going back to my theory, apparently fans have asked Shannon Messenger.  She's denied it.  But that's what J. K. Rowling did with Snape.  The author is the last person to ask about a theory.  They aren't going to spoil the ending since that would take all the fun out of it.  We don't need to know for sure.  It's fine just to follow the clues, think about it, and discuss with other fans.  It's fun.  So.  Much.  Fun.

I think about what I have read online since I finished reading the set.  If I had made the mistake of reading online content while reading for the first time, my reading experience would have been ruined.  This is because the comments would have led me away from my theory.

By not reading anything online about the series for a month, I focused on figuring out the mystery myself.  I was not influenced by anyone.  It was just me and the books.  It was a brilliant, wonderful experience.  I feel like a super sleuth.  Nancy Drew would be so proud of me.

Now, I am reading through the Keeper of the Lost Cities series for the second time.  I want to find more evidence to support my theory, and the fans who have posted online are no help since they don't see it.  I must do this myself. 

My rereading of the books is nonlinear.  While I am currently reading the fifth book for the second time, I am also jumping around and rereading certain passages from other books.  In some cases, I am rereading passages for the third, fourth, or fifth time.

A few days ago, I reread the lengthy flashback passages from book 9 slowly and was still unable to figure out what a certain scene really meant.  I let it rest and went back to reading the fourth book, which was where I was at the time.

Yesterday, I thought of that certain scene again and came to a realization.  Oh!  Now it makes sense, and it tallies with all the other clues.

There are two aspects to the major mystery in these books.  The first mystery involves the elf who created Sophie through donated DNA.  We do not know what this elf's true identity is.  We know him by three different names, but we don't know his true identity.  I think I do know.

The second mystery is who Sophie's biological parents are.  Late in the set, one of the biological parents is revealed.  Before the reveal, the author began to drop more obvious clues. 

We are still completely in the dark about the other parent, except that I'm certain that I've figured it out.  Today I came to another realization about one of the flashback memories.  I already knew that one memory was a clue to the other biological parent.  I have now realized that another memory contains a significant clue to that elf's identity.  Oh yes, clues are everywhere, and they aren't necessarily obvious.

Sophie has asked her creator point-blank several times about the second biological parent, and he tells her that she is wrong.  I suspect that one of her guesses was correct, and I believe I know which one.  

Of course, there are passages in which Sophie's creator makes lengthy specific comments that negate the possibility that what Sophie thinks could be true.  For that reason, fans feel certain that Sophie's other biological parent cannot be the elf that readers are most likely to suspect.  Therefore, everyone thinks that Sophie's guesses are wrong because her creator has explained exactly why they are wrong.

I think there's a trick.  Fans are taking everything this character says at face value, not realizing that he could be lying.  In fact, he has admitted that he has lied to Sophie.

In book 4, Sophie complains to her creator that he isn't telling her anything.  She tells him how another elf has been more open with her.  Why can't he?

From book 4, page 290:

"Have you considered that it's easier for her because she's just met you?" [Sophie's creator] asked.  "She's never had to lie straight to your face."

This means we can't be sure of anything that he has told Sophie.  While I believe that the vast majority of what he has said is true, I am certain that he has lied about all of the important secrets, like Sophie's parents.

Many people who discuss this series online are either children who aren't catching the clues or are people who just haven't read the books very closely.  I have highlighted probably hundreds of lines in my Kindle books.  The evidence is there, if readers would pay attention.  I'd like to discuss this with people who see what I do.

Since that is currently unattainable, I'm just going to hash out my theory in a series of blog posts.  The people who think like me should find me eventually.  Those posts will be marked as spoilers for the rest of you.

I suspect that fans of this series must skew pretty young.  It is a children's series, after all.  It also doesn't help that the series is about elves, and that might be a turnoff to adult readers. 

It shouldn't be!  These elves are great.  Many adults do read children's books for pleasure, and these books are worthy of being read.  Many adults read other fantasy series like Harry Potter and the ones by authors such as Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull.  And yet, I'm not sure that many adults have read Keeper of the Lost Cities.

On one of my recent searches in my umpteenth attempt to find a serious discussion about my theory (I failed), I found a discussion about inception.  This is what the elves call the moment of conception, which is when they begin counting age.  This means that each elf is nine months older than what the corresponding human age would be, since humans count age from birth.

In that discussion thread, lots of fans posted what their age would really be if they were an elf.  The answers were all numbers like 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.  They were all children.  So I just don't see evidence of many adults participating in discussions of these books. 

I'm sure that adult readers have spotted the clues, but they aren't in the discussions.  I'd love to read discussions with participants who have noticed what I have.  I just have to finish rereading the set and pondering this by myself, since other fans are on a different wavelength.

This series is continuing to keep a stranglehold on my life.  I've been obsessed since March 13.  This is an odd situation for me, and it's driving me crazy.  In all of my past experiences, other fans who are smarter and more observant than me end up noticing everything and posting it online.  In this case, I can't find any of the fans who see every minuscule detail.  I guess it's me this time.