Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands #1
Published by: Skyscape
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
“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 finally did it! I’ve heard high praise for Sarah Fine’s books for years, but hadn’t read them. Hell, I even bought five of them, so I figured it was about time to get on the Fine train. I decided to read Sanctum first because I found the blurb intriguing. Okay, and because I was told it’s pretty dark. I love a good dark read, so that sealed the deal for me. Turns out I made the right choice.
The whole premise of Sanctum is really creative. Lela going to hell in order to save her friend who committed suicide … now that’s what you call friendship. There’s more to it though, and it gets fairly deep. Now, it is a little on the darker side because it’s dealing with suicide, but the author handled it really well.
Despite the subject matter, there’s actually quite a bit of action and excitement. Mostly thanks to the Mazikin. Talk about creepy! And the world-building is fantastic! However, would I ever want to visit the eerie Shadowlands? Hell freaking no!
I like the characters a lot, especially Lela. She’s been through her own hell, but has come out stronger. The girl is loyal and will not give up on Nadia. I love her toughness and vulnerability, and her willingness to do whatever it takes. A true fighter to the core.
Malachi and Ana are great secondary characters. Malachi is head of the Guard, and Ana is basically his right hand. They’re both badass, and I loved the three of them together. I wasn’t too sure about the budding romance between Lela and Malachi at first, but it didn’t take long for me to start rooting for them. At the same time, I had a pit in my stomach, because I was so anxious about how everything would turn out. I was extremely invested, that’s for sure.
Overall, Sanctum was a superb read, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
I’d watched those girls shrink back as I walked down the hall. I’d heard them whispering about how I’d killed someone, which was totally untrue. I’d almost killed someone.