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Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Fine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,133 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down! Learn more | See more from Sarah J. Maas

Book Description

"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

"In this well-developed concept of the afterlife, details are well-executed and the setting is described flawlessly. Without a doubt, readers will look forward to the next installment of the Guards of the Shadowlands series." —Library Media Connection

"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

"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

From the Back Cover

    The stubble on his jaw scraped against my temple as he spoke. "You said you sneaked into the city. Didn't you arrive at the Suicide Gates?"

    "No, not really. When I . . . died, I arrived outside, in a field. But I saw the city, and I knew that's where she was. I couldn't stay out there when I knew Nadia was trapped in here."

    "Are you telling me you arrived in the Countryside and chose to come into the city? To rescue your friend?" He sounded completely baffled.

    I clenched my teeth. "I have to find her. It's the only reason I'm here."

Product Details

  • File Size: 1484 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape (October 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KOR0Z2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,508 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
195 of 212 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Several hits but one really big miss November 19, 2012
By BookY
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was excited to read this. The premise is unique and interesting -- A girl determined to save her best friend embarks on a rescue mission in a special section of hell reserved for those who commit suicide.

So, you'll notice right away that this book deals with some pretty heavy issues - depression, addiction, abuse and suicide are major themes in the story, and rape is also implied. Yeah, I know - sounds like kind of a downer right? But don't worry, these weighty subject matters are skillfully and delicately dealt with, and are tempered nicely with Lela's frank and sometimes even witty narration.

The writing is pretty good for the most part, although there were some scenes that felt a little disjointed. I hate it when authors try to ram details down your throat and thankfully, that is not done here. The setting is artfully described and I had a vivid picture of our little corner of hell. The world-building is adequately done, although there's definitely still a lot of things left unexplained but I'm guessing that's being left for the next book.

All that being said, there was an aspect of this book that I really didn't care for, and it happened to be something that is hugely important to me -- the characters. I really liked the main character, Lela - at first. As the story goes on, however, we see that she has a habit of making really STUPID decisions. It was irritating. Look I don't need or want my protagonists to be perfect, but when their character flaw is "dumb idiot", it's kind of a turn off for me. (*mild spoiler - Also, this is just a personal pet peeve of mine so I didn't take away a star for it, but towards the end of the book the author uses one of my most hated cliches: the Misinterpreted Overheard Partial Conversation. Ugh.
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy, sci fi and romance November 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just finished Sanctum, and it was AWESOME for any age of reader. I am over 40. I read it in a day in a half. Beautifully written, the characters were well developed, although I would have liked the relationship between Lela and Nadia to have been developed a bit more before Lela's journey. Lela is a high school senior who has a lot of emotional baggage, who loses her best friend, Nadia, to suicide, and while in mourning, accidentally falls off a cliff to her death. She then realizes she is in heaven, but upon learning Nadia has not reached heaven, and is in a part of hell reserved for suicides (which I perceived to be a kind of purgatory), she heads for the dark city in search of her friend.

Lela encounters one of the guards of the city, Malachi, and with his help she embarks on a seemingly impossible quest to locate Nadia and somehow get themselves out of the dark city and into the countryside (heaven). A romance develops between Lela and Malachi along the way, and there are dangerous twists and turns, all culminating in an unexpected ending which left me wanting more. I was relieved to see a second book is coming out next year and I can't wait. The dialogue was smart and believable, and the plot twists clever. Also, the descriptions of the scenery were so well done I could see everything in my mind's eye very clearly. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope the story becomes a movie. I was a huge fan of Hunger Games but I have to say I think Sanctum was better.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous July 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
It took me almost a month to read Sanctum, I drove my blogger bestie to distraction because of it but sometimes a book comes along that is...Magic and you're so caught up in it's world that you never want to say goodbye. My last experience of this was reading Harry Potter so Sanctum was a very special book indeed.

It had everything I could possibly want in YA. Strong, sassy, confident heroine who's likeable, NOT perfect, willing to sacrifice her happiness for her FRIENDS rather than a man, a hero who's honourable, kind, not abusive, not manipulative, who has standards and values, and a story of hope, love and courage. The FEELS! It's taken me almost a month even sit down and *think* about writing this and heads up I will not do it justice. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

Lela has had a tough life, she's dealt with things no child should ever have to deal with and to protect herself she's crafted a hardened mental shell to shield herself from trusting anybody with her heart and body. When Lela meets Nadia - seemingly perfect, peppy, high-school queen bee and saves her life, Lela is the one who ends up being saved. For the first time in her life she has a friend who cares for her, wants to protect her and pulls her into the land of the living. When tragedy strikes and Nadia kills herself Lela is left bereft. Why would this girl who has everything going for her, friends, family, college want to take her life? Sinking into depression, Lela seeks answers no-one can provide. On the day she finally lets go of her friends ghost Lela's own life ends by accident and the place she's only seen in her nightmares becomes a frightening reality.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Alicia

Set in a dark terrifying world, SANCTUM brings originality and adventure, romance and friendship, like I've never experienced! SANCTUM was so addicting, yet so terrifying, and SOOO much fun to read!! I did NOT want to put SANCTUM down to save my life. It was just that good!

There was honestly not a thing that I did not like about SANCTUM! Seriously, it was so awesome, for so many different reasons. Every chapter had me more engrossed, wanting to know more about the scary-amazing world that captured my heart. I felt hard for these characters and their struggles and experiences, and really wanted them to succeed. I think SANCTUM is a book that EVERYONE should read and experience, no matter your preferred genre.


Lela's been though it all. And she's as tough as nails and doesn't take any crap from anyone because of it. But there's a good reason why she is the way she is, and she's about to be tested just how far she'll go to save the ones she loves...

Lela has been in and out of different foster homes for as long as she can remember, and they haven't been the most pleasant experiences either. But when Lela finally settles down in her last foster home, everything seems to be on the up in up when she meets Nadia, a girl who seems to like her for her. Which is unusual Lela thinks, but she gives in to this relationship that she's never experienced, and slowly a beautiful friendship blooms, and Lela has finally found something worth living for. But then drastically, Nadia starts experiencing extreme depression and turns to drugs to cope with her feelings. And eventually life becomes to much for Nadia and she commits suicide.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
I typically don't like Young Adult Books. But this series has become one of my favorites. The subject is dark and the characters are complex.
Published 2 days ago by M.L. Clausen
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
The story was a bit slow in the beginning, not quite sure where it's going. The main character can be annoying at times with her assumptions. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Ann Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars I love characters in pain... (I'm weird I guess)
Well bless you Miss Sara Fine... Even though this series is geared towards teens (I'm 30, but I do remember my teenage years haha), I love that these characters suffer and... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tessa
2.0 out of 5 stars Had to skim to finish
The main character is beyond narcissistic. Completely selfish and unbearable. Far more noble and LIKEABLE characters are sacrificed at the temple of her stupidity and narcissism. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Annette Rivas
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read book 1
I loved this book.l couldn't put it down till l had finished it. I can't wait to get started on book two.
Published 16 days ago by W. Chamberlain
5.0 out of 5 stars This story really pulled me in
I don't think there was a dull moment or a wasted chapter/scene. The story was kind of dark and deep, but thats what I like to read... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Tia
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
sarah fine's discription of hell is illustrious
Published 19 days ago by melis yargic
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good book.
Published 20 days ago by T. Florian
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Surprisingly good Considering the price. I'm hooked
Published 24 days ago by RicanPecan82
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
The ending was boring and predictable. I still liked it though. The characters were like able. I chose this rating because I stayed up all night to Finish it. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Rocco Valenti
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More About the Author

Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast. When she's not writing, she's working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now.


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