Sunday, April 14, 2013

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

Title: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
Author: Sarah Fine
Published: Ocotber 16th 2012
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing
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.
When I started this I didn't really know what to expect. I've seen a lot of my friends loving this and I just thought maybe I'd enjoy it too but nothing really extreme. So imagine when at the middle of the book I realized I was already in love with Malachi this book? This book is so much more than I have initially thought. There were so many layers in this story that you wouldn't though it would've when you read the synopsis. Don't take this as just some usual and normal paranormal book out there because this one is definitely not. It offered me a lot more than I have truly expected. Sanctum turns out to be a very very pleasant surprise for me.

The world-building is definitely a highlight I enjoyed very much about this book. I've read a lot of stories where different versions of the places where dead people go - Underworld, Hell, Sheol, Purgatory - were described. In this novel, Sarah Fine created her own version of it but exclusive for those souls who committed suicide. And I tell you what, it was one hell of a version! It was something I haven't seen before, how things work there - souls wandering around, their wants and desires so intense they made something out of it. It was sinister and unnerving but oddly very interesting in a way that you would also want to explore it.

Lela Santos, the main character, is definitely one of the most loyal and determined characters I'd ever met. Her decision to enter the Suicide Gates willingly to find her best friend and save her was very brave and...crazy. Yeah, that's what I thought at first but as the story went on we got our chance to see more reasons to Lela's actions and decisions. I was able to see how their friendship started and developed, how deeply Nadia had gone through her walls and at the same time saved her. Through that I was able to understand her and greatly connect with her. She was a very well portrayed character.

Malachi, ah, how do I start with this one? Well, he's very Aiden St. Delphi and Dimitri Belikov of a character! Ha! He was dedicated, strong and could be really dangerous at times but he was also just as gentle and caring to people he cared so much about. He was so genuine and selfless and although he has an awful haunting past I saw that he was a character that is moving on and learning from it. His character development as a hero and love-interest is striking. He was a very very lovable character.

And the ending! Did you know that I put this on hold for almost a month because I was so so afraid the ending would turn into a cliffhanger in a very awful situation? Well, yeah I wanna smack myself after I finally read it! Because it was a very very lovely one and cute too! Yet it still made me wish that the second book is already out, I just couldn't get enough of Lela and Malachi after that kind of ending. Haha! They're definitely one of my favorite couples now!

So if you haven't pick this up yet go pick this up now! I'm sure you'll get a very wonderful and fantastic reading experience with this one. I highly recommend this.


  1. This sounds like it was a really great read. I love when the characters are awesome and the world building is unique and done well. I may have to look into this one a little further. Thanks for the awesome review!

  2. Oh goodness, I need to read this book! I have to admit that this "underworld" that Fine has created is definitely unique and unlike all of those other stories out there. I'm excited to meet these characters that you love so dearly! Lovely review, Eunice!

  3. You can admit your love for Malachi, Eunice. It's okay. ;)

    I was the same as you--I saw the rave reviews, and I was like...ORLY? <.< But it was awesome! Such a nice surprise with both story and characters. I'm so glad you loved it! Now we just have to wait for book two. *sigh*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. I am THRILLED that you enjoyed this, Eunice! Going into it, I had no idea what to expect either, but I certainly didn't see all that darkness and complexity coming. I am seriously in awe of Sarah's writing and character development.
    Fracture can't come soon enough if you ask me.
    Lovely review, hon!

  5. I NEED TO READ THIS EUNICE!!!! Malachi's like Aiden and Dimitri? WIN! I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book, I don't know why I haven't picked it up yet. I can't tell you how excited I am to learn there's no cliffhanger, that's pretty much sold me on this book. Like you, I tend to put off things I think might end badly and then torture me with a year long wait until it can be fixed, I'm thrilled that's not the case here! Beautiful review:)

  6. Yay, I'm so glad you loved this one! It's a favorite of mine and MALACHI is just utter perfection. Not to mention the entire cast and world itself. I'm so excited for the sequel now!(: Fantastic review, Eunice! :D

  7. Aw, awesome review :D Glad you loved this book. <3 Even though I don't think I will read it. Maybe. One day :D The romance sounds amazing. <3 And Malachi sounds awesome too :D Thank you for sharing. <3

  8. wow this is kind of the novel I've never try before. But I would like to broaden my reading horizon.

  9. Wohoo! I loved this book too (I mean Malachi of course). ;)
    It's probably one of the best books of last year and I was completely surprised by it.
    Glad that this worked for you too, Eunice! :)

  10. I saw hints of Dimitri in Malachi too! That probably explains why I liked him so much. ;) I loved the world-building in this book and can't wait to see what happens next. I thought it ended brilliantly. Great review, Eunice!

  11. Yay I'm glad that you ended up loving Sanctum too Eunice, I think I've put this book off for way too long, it's definitely not a book which falls into my comfort zone, but something which I think I would enjoy! Wonderful review Eunice! :)

  12. Thrilled that you loved this, too, Eunice! I totally agree Malachi has similarities to Dimitri and Aiden, which is fine by me because I love them! Wonderful review. :)

  13. This was one of my favorite reads of 2012. I was one of the first to read it and I had to convince a lot of people to read it and they all loved it, too. It is just phenomenal and wonderful even though it is dark. Malachi is just awesome. Yes, I was worried about the ending as well but I loved how it all worked out. I can't wait to read the next book!

  14. Malachi is similar to Dimitri Belikov? That's it. This is the next book on my TBR list! He sounds like a swoonworthy character, and the MC sounds great too.

  15. Is the main character clingy? Im not trying to be rude or anything its just that i hate when the mc are clingy >.<


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