Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands) - Sarah Fine

Book Description

 October 16, 2012  14 and up  9th and up
"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.

Editorial Reviews


"As a modern-day 'Orpheus and Eurydice,' Sanctum will be a hit with urban fantasy readers, who will love its top-notch world-building, page-turning action, and slow-developing romance." ~School Library Journal

"Many original, interesting ideas create this complex world and creatures lurking through the afterlife. [Readers] will be excited to find this is first of a trilogy." ~VOYA

"This is one of my favorite books of this year! Smart and sexy." ~Reading Teen blog

"This is an unexpected read full of hope, despair and something that's a bit dark and a little beautiful all at the same time. Sarah Fine's well crafted story and incredible world building really set the tone for this book." ~Mundie Moms blog

"I would have to say that the Guards of the Shadowlands series, if it capitalizes on its first novel's promise, will be quite gripping indeed." ~Teenreads.com


"Dark, gripping, and impossible to put down. SANCTUM is smart, original, and pulls no punches -- just like Lela, one of the strongest heroines I've ever met." ~Erica O'Rourke, author of TORN“Theology be damned, though: Lela and Malachi are both likable protagonists, and readers will be happy… this trilogy opener has a lot going for it. " - Kirkus

I love the feeling of going into a novel, not knowing what to expect, and realizing right away that I'm going to like it. And that as I get further in the story keeps getting better and better, and that once I'm done I just want more people to know about the book and to read it too! Sanctum was that type of read for me. The characters were multilayered and extremely likeable, the world was fascinating, and the story made it hard to stop reading. I can easily say that it is one of my top five favorite books this year! I'm so excited to read the next book in this series.

"Welcome to Suicide Gates!"

Those words and the frightening, otherworldly city where she first heard them have haunted Lela ever since she tried to end her life two years ago. Lela knows that place is where she could have ended up if she had died, but she doesn't realize how true that is until her best friend Nadia commits suicide. Lela starts having nightmares, visions, about Suicide Gates through her friend's eyes, and she becomes determined to save Nadia from that dark place even if she has to sacrifice herself in the process. The journey is nowhere near easy though. Suicide Gates is a harsh and bleak world. Everyone who ends up there must work hard to come to terms with what happened to them and to find strength within themselves so that they can finally move on. And not everyone is able to do that.

Lela's feelings towards Nadia were powerful and the driving force behind most of her decisions in Sanctum. She did everything she could to save Nadia, even if she later regretted the choices she made. This is one of the few books where I truly felt the strong bond a character has with a friend. I remember thinking that I wanted Lela to succeed, I wanted Nadia to be saved, and I wanted happiness for them both. It really was heartbreaking, and it made me just admire and adore Lela even more. She felt so real to me. She's been through so much in her life, yet she stays strong and focused for the friend who believed in her and made her a better person.

Not only is Sanctum about friendship and sacrifice, it's about love and overcoming gripping fears bit by bit. After Lela arrives at Suicide Gates, she's captured by the Guards of the city. They know she's different from the humans who are suppose to be there, and she's interrogated by their brave and intimidating Captain, Malachi. Lela and Malachi don't trust each other at first, but once they open up, Lela begins to feel safe around Malachi and he begins to feel protective of her. There's a gut-wrenching reason why Lela wanted to die two years ago, and when Malachi finds out he helps her overcome some of her fears of allowing anyone, especially a man, to touch her. He's so respectful and let's her be in control. I absolutely loved their relationship. It was sweet and beautiful and touching. They are amazing people and brought out every single bit of goodness in each other. They are also kickass and helped each other survive along the way to finding Nadia. They're the main reason why I cannot wait to read the next book.

Sanctum brings up many heavy, emotional subjects and there are plenty of terrifying moments, but it still manages to be filled with hope and love. And when a story is awesome and has wonderful characters and relationships, it makes me really happy. The ending freaked me out so much though. (I was scared and praying it wouldn't end at a cliffhanger!) It also made me pumped for book two. I wish I could talk more about the unique world in Sanctum, but it's complex and something you need to discover and experience yourself. I highly recommend Sanctum, especially to those looking for a dark, yet hopeful read. It's easily one of the best YA urban fantasy novels I've ever read!

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