Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review: Sanctum by Sarah Fine

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)

  Sanctum by Sarah Fine 
  Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/
  Amazon Children's Publishing
  Publication Date: October 16th 2012
  My rating: 4.5 Stars

"My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple."

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos's best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn't just anyone – she's determined to save her best friend's soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she's captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city's endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn't – the dark city isn't the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.

I loved this story! 

Seventeen year-old Lela has a promising future which is surprising considering her past.  She went from foster home to foster home, ending up incarcerated in the juvenile system of Rhode Island.  Finally she is set free to her first caring foster parent, Diane, and starts high school again.  While trying to keep her nose clean and fit in as the new girl, she comes upon a disagreement between one of the popular pretty girls and a junkie on the playground.  When Lela realizes that this popular girl is about to be assaulted, she steps in and defends her, making a friend in the process.  Nadia the popular girl takes Lela under her wing, and Nadia’s acceptance and friendship encourage Lela to go for a life and future she never thought possible.  She and Nadia are accepted into college, and so Lela is hopeful for the first time in her life.

Unfortunately, Nadia hasn’t been truthful about her mental state and has been miserable for a long time.  In her despair does something rash and takes her life, thinking this is her way out from all her pain.  Lela knows this to be exactly the opposite.  You see, a couple of years ago, Lela was just as desperate and tried to take her own life, but what waited on the other side was nothing close to relief.  She passed through the suicide gates for a short time before she was revived and now experiences terrifying nightmares of her brief time there.  Knowing this is what her friend Nadia will face, Lela is determined to go after her and help her get free.  Nadia helped Lela find a life and hope that she never thought could be possible, so she’s not about to fail her again by letting her stay in that terrifying realm.  When Lela arrives there though, her efforts are thwarted by a deadly but beautiful Guard, Malachi.

Lela was a character molded by tragic events yet she wasn’t a bitter person.  I easily connected with her right away, loving her loyalty and determination to help her beloved friend.  She was a tough cookie but an endearing character.  Plus, you got to love a girl who loves Buffy!  It’s a rule!! When Malachi shows up in her life, a need she never knew existed was filled.  Here’s a swoony quote for you:

That simple moment, touching him, feeling him breathe, his hand stroking my hair—it was all I could have hoped for, all I could have wanted.  I was filled up with it, this warm, buzzing feeling in my chest, and it was completely satisfying.  I wondered if it might be what I needed after all.

Malachi, oh my heart, Malachi!  Boy is he fierce and protective, yet he has his own sad story that hurts your heart when it’s revealed.  I totally swooned over him the entire book *sigh* and I now must add him to my ever growing list of book boyfriends!

This was a fresh and original story, and I thought the author did a wonderful job creating a realistic world and paranormal world, intertwined together.  The pace of this story was a little slow in the beginning but it picked right up and then I was turning the pages quickly to find out what was going to happen next.  Sanctum leaves us with a satisfying conclusion but also changes everything!  I can’t wait for the next installment. 

I want to thank my book-angel, the lovely Alexa at Collections, for lending me her precious copy!


  1. *sigh* I've read so many amazing thigs about this book already, and now you just had to make it sound completely irresistible. You wrote the passage about Malachi with such passion that I have no choice but to meet him.
    Amazing review, Rachel!

  2. I agree with Maja. Malachi sounds like someone I have to meet now. And yes, how can you not love someone you likes Buffy? Lela sounds like my sort of character. Brilliant review, Rachel! I'm glad you enjoyed this. :)

    1. Thank you and I hope you ladies enjoy this when you pick it up.

      And yes, we must love anyone who likes Buffy, Sam. :)

  3. Yay for the 4.5 stars, Rachel! This sounds like an amazing read. And Lela seems like a very tough character. I'm very curious with her journey in saving her best friend and meeting Malachi! Fantastic review, Rachel. Glad you enjoyed this book. :)

  4. Great review, hun! I am pretty sure this is the first one I've read of this book! Lela sounds like a fantastic MC and now you have me wanting to meet Malachi :)

  5. Gosh, I need this book so badly! It was like...made for me, I swear! It's a fantasy and if I thought I was excited about it before, I'm even more excited now! I'm thrilled you enjoyed this one so much, Rachel, so I have high hopes for it! I definitely need to meet Malachi too and once again, you always pick the best passages to quote! ;) Wonderful, wonderful review Rachel! I can't wait for this one to release! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  6. Wow, I love the idea of Sanctum! And the characters sound amazing too - especially Lela, who seems like a very strong girl.

    Oh my gosh, that quote you shared was brilliant and I have got to read this, if only just so I can meet Malachi!

    Thanks for your wonderful review, Rachel. :) xxx

  7. Such a pretty cover on this book Rachel! That alone makes me want to read it. Then you just had to go on about Malachi and his sexiness and now I need to get my hands on him, wait, hands on the BOOK as soon as possible! Also, high five for girls that love Buffy!

  8. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see that this book lives up to its impression of awesomeness. And I swear, every time I read the name Malachi my heart melted a little bit more. I need. To meet him. Beautiful review, Rachel! :)

  9. Oh I want this! A trip into hell, sounds awesome. And a swoonworthy Malachi.....this sounds like my kind of thing. I haven't heard of this one before Rachel, thanks for the great review.

  10. This book sounds really interesting. Great review!

  11. Malachi definitely sounds intriguing, and Lela seems like an awesome protagonist. I shall have to keep this series in mind! :-) Thanks honey, this is the first time I have come across it.


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