Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands #1) by Sarah Fine

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands
Pages: 433
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing
Amazon: Sanctum

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

“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.

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Sanctum was such a pleasant surprise, the dark and gritty setting Sarah Fine has created was filled with vivid imagery, likeable characters and a world which is compelling and unique. I was literally glued to the pages and I’m more than eager and excited to read the next book in the Guards of the Shadowlands series.

Sanctum follows the story of seventeen-year-old Lela Santos who is fraught with despair after her best friend Nadia commits suicide, when she takes some time out to say her good-byes she inadvertently ends up falling to her own death and finds herself standing in a countryside paradise but instead of entering, she turns to the dark and dreary suicide gates in the hopes of saving Nadia from the nightmare she has seen in her visions.

I thought the world and rules of Sanctum was written really well, Ms Fine has created a place filled with danger and hideous creatures, it was dark, gritty and full of gloom and Nadia’s arrival has resulted in her capture by the Guards, led by human Malachi Sokol.

Malachi has been the leader of the Guards for a very long time and boy did I instantly adore him! He’s lethal, intimidating, super smexy and devoted to ridding the dark city of the Mazikin – creepy venomous creatures with an agenda of their own. I loved the way he protected Lela and helped her to overcome her grief and fears, their relationship did happen very quickly but in this instance I didn’t find it too much too soon, it was believable and their interactions were really sweet.

Both of the main characters were amazing! Lela was tough, capable but also vulnerable, her devotion to Nadia was extremely selfless but I felt at the same time it was too much, she never felt for herself and put others at risk. She has a past which was traumatic so her plight was certainly without cause but it was just a little OTT.

Sanctum touches on some sensitive subject matters such as rape and suicide but Ms. Fine wrote them in a way which shows there is still a chance for love, healing and hope.

Overall, if you are after a book with a fast-paced plot, wonderfully written, flawed yet likeable characters and a romance which leaves you gushing and hoping for more then I highly recommend Sanctum


  1. I love the dark and gritty aspect..love your review!

  2. I always get fooled when I look at this cover, thinking it's a nice YA, not something darker. :) It does sound like something I'd like, even with that bad-past-saddled MC - hot guy balances everything. A series though...ugh. Why? *cries*

    Awesome review, doll. :)

  3. Yay! I'm so glad that you liked this, Sharon. I loved it when I read it too, and I was very surprised by how good it was. Had a couple of blogger friends of mine not shared this with me, I would never have known its awesomeness.
    Love your paragraph on Malachi! Wasn't he the smexiest? Love the passion that the guy had.
    Awesome review, Sharon! :)

  4. Great review! I like how this book talks about another world, that is always fun to read. I will definitely put this on my TBR list.

  5. Oh wow, I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds really amazing. It has such a unique and gritty sound to it. I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for this one.

    Great review!

  6. Dark, gritty world, and amazing main characters? Okay, you've got me excited now. I need to start this one, ASAP.

    Great review :)


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