Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)


Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands
Published: October 16th 2012
Publisher: Amazon Children's
Hardcover, 433 pages
Buy: The Book Depository



I have book ADD, I really do. Even when I like a book, by the time I reach the second half, I get impatient, eager to be done with it and be free to discover a new world. It’s a definite downside of having so many books to choose from, and it’s something I need to work on.

Therefore, I was more than a little surprised by the enormity of my despair when I reached the last page of Sanctum. It’s rare that a book leaves me desperate for more. Sarah Fine’s rich and imaginative world, although grim and depressing, captivated me entirely. She almost (but not quite, I’m not crazy) made me want to visit Suicide City and take a look around. It is where suicide victims end up, condemned to wander the city, lost in their own despair. Can you imagine a more hopeless place in this world or the next? And for the very few conscious enough to want to escape or cause trouble, there are the guards, merciless creatures led by a human, their fearless Captain, Malachi.

Enter Lela, a worthy, if somewhat unconventional heroine. She came to Suicide City willingly, to save her best and only friend, not knowing what she might have to do, but ready for any kind of sacrifice. From the very first page of Sanctum, the readers know they won’t be getting a Mary Sue: she smokes, she curses, and she beats up bullies with terrifying ease. It takes a while for her tender side to be revealed, but she is lovable from the very start.

And Malachi… oooops, there goes my dignity! I haven’t felt this strongly about a fictional character since Sean Kendrick and I doubt I will anytime soon. With his warmth and Lela’s unflinching bravery, it’s no wonder they’re my new favorite couple. Which brings me to the girl I can’t stop thinking about – Lela Santos. Some would say she’s damaged beyond repair, and in some ways, they’d probably be right. But there’s so much love and hope in her, despite not having had an ounce of luck her entire life.

Sanctum is a dark, dark book, and although most of it happens in this hellish, unreal place, the horrors described are very real. Brief glimpses of Lela’s past were more than enough to make me want to run the other way, but I guess I absorbed some of her astonishing bravery because I kept reading even when it made me sick. This is where I truly applaud Fine; a lesser writer would have chosen a safer, less controversial road, especially when writing for young adults, but I could tell that Sarah Fine doesn’t believe in pulling any punches, and I admired her for it.

I’m sorry, guys, I’m very much aware that this review is all over the place. It was hard for me to put into words how much I loved this book. On December 6th, Sarah will share Malachi’s journal entries on several blogs, including The Nocturnal Library, so make sure to stop by. If you haven’t met Malachi yet, you’ll definitely want to after that.
Brava, Ms. Fine! I’m thoroughly impressed.



23 comments:

  1. The timing of this review could not be better. I was just going over my "Holiday Wishlist" and noticed that this book was on it and for the life of me, couldn't remember what it was about or why I put it on my list. I was going to go to GR to check it out, but this review helped me make up my mind...I must get this book.

    I understand how sometimes it is so difficult to put coherent thoughts together about a book you really love...

    You can visit and review the ones I managed to get down on paper - on my blog as the case may be :) http://loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com

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  2. I went through your fantastic review, Maja, and decided to buy Sanctum as it's on offer at Amazon at the moment :) Looking forward to reading it!

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  3. I'm getting this one on my to-read list. Frankly, when a book comes with this kind of recommendation from you... That means it's truly epic and will probably drive up a wall too.

    You'd say Malachi is better than, say... Froi, then? I'm very curious about that, because if so I might have to not only read this, but also ranksack the nearest library (which, okay, might be the kindle library but who cares) and start reading yesterday.

    Great review, Maja. Might not have been as organized as you usually are, but that's better to show exactly what kind of book this is!

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    1. Haha, I wouldn't go that far. Froi is in a league of his own, no one is quite like him. But I think you'd adore Malachi, I really do. By now, I have a pretty god idea what you might like, and Malachi is definitely it. :)

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  4. YAYY! I am SO happy you loved this one, Maja! It completely surprised me and MALACHI! YES! I'm re-reading TSR at the moment and I have to agree that both Sean and Malachi's quiet sense of understanding and sexiness that they simply exude is SO attractive. I can't wait for the sequel to this one now and I'm eagerly counting down the days till we get more of Malachi! ;) Fantastic review, Maja! Also, you're reading The Lost Girl! :D I hope you love it! *fingers crossed*

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  5. I LOOOOVED this book. Fantastic review, and yes to everything. There are so many things I admire about Lela, and Malachi won me over utterly.

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  6. I agree! I have my review (not as eloquently written as you) on this book scheduled for later this week. It's a must read.

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  7. I haven't read many reviews of this yet but you've defo made me stop and take notice of this book! I really enjoy reading about realistic and fun/witty/brave characters, too! Sounds like a very good read, Maja!

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  8. I told you so...This had Maja written all over it when I read it. I am so glad I got to introduce you to Malachi! Hey I have book ADD too!

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  9. Oooh, I haven't heard about this book until now, Maja! It sounds REALLY interesting.. I don't think I've heard of anything quite like it. I'm glad you loved the depressing world! *chuckles* Lela sounds like quite the character. It seems like it would take a while to really start to like her as a person, since she sounds so tough! I'm going to look for more reviews of this book, and perhaps I'll pick it up soon! And review was NOT all over the place. It's brilliant, as usual!

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  10. Yes! I'm squeeing right now because you loved this too! I have no dignity where Malachi is concerned either. Lela is a wonderful character as well. Wonderful review Maja. :)

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  11. I completely understand you book ADD, it happens to me a lot too. This book sounds very good. It reminds me a little bit of the movie "What Dreams May Come" (you should check it out if you didn't watch it already) where husband goes to suicides realm of past-life to save his wife.

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  12. A lot of reviewers I know have been surprised by this book and I totally get why, Fine has managed to create an epic book with so much potential oozing out. I wouldn't think that this is a book that I would normally go for, but your passion and enthusiasm has convinced me otherwise. Another wonderful review darling! :)

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  13. This is an awesome review as usual Maja, it's great to find a new book couple that you just love. I can't wait to meet Malachi and Lela. I'll have to pick this book up now :)

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  14. Maja I love when a book grabs you like this, what an awesome review adding this to my list.

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  15. Never heard of this book but if it grabbed you then it means it's something that I must check out. I'm having a case of book ADD right now too. I started and put down 4 books already-just can't get into anything right now.

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  16. I want to meet this Malachi! And Lela too for that matter. :) I'm so glad I grabbed this recently as I haven't yet come across a negative review from any of my reviewer friends. I'm feeling quite positive about it. Lovely review, Maja! It isn't all over the place at all. ;)

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  17. Oh wow, this sounds amazing. I'm fascinated by books that deal with suicide so this sounds like a very unique way of dealing with the issue. I actually like dark books too so to hear it was done well is another plus. Yay for loving a book so much it bypassed your book ADD! :)

    -Lauren

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  18. This book was quite relentless wasn't it? I think I was barely breathing when it ended. :)

    Oh wow. You're so lucky you get to be a part of the Malachi's Journal reveal! So, so jealous.

    Btw, who's Sean Kendrick?

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    1. Sean Kendrick is the main character in Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. :)

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  19. Oh my gosh Maja, I have the same book ADD! That happens to me all the time - I'm mid-book, enjoying it, but then I longingly glance at my TBR pile and have the intense desire to start something new. I need to work on that as well.

    So glad this book kept your ADD in check, I've heard nothing but amazing things about it. And if Lela and Malachi are your new favorite couple, I definitely need to be meeting them!

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  20. Maja, I know just what you mean about book ADD! I'm having the same problem lately...I think that's part of what happened with me and The Raven Boys. I'm so glad this one held you though! Between this review and Keertana's I'm officially convinced that this one needs to be on my TBR.

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