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

Sarah Fine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (986 customer reviews)

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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

Review

"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

Review

"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


Product Details

  • File Size: 1422 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612184421
  • Publisher: Skyscape (October 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KOR0Z2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,127 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
152 of 166 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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58 of 63 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Sanctum by Sarah Fine April 21, 2013
By Alyssa
Format:Hardcover
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Sanctum by Sarah Fine
Book One of the Guards of the Shadowlands series
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Public Library

Summary (from 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.

What I Liked:

It is SO easy to review books I love. And seriously, I loved this book. I haven't rated a new book with 5 stars in a long time! Nor have I found a new favorite in a long time! This book is definitely a new favorite. There are books that you enjoy, that you really like, or maybe even love, but then, there are those that you absolutely love and know it's one of your favorites.
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13 of 15 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
surprisingly addictive! I read book 1 & 2 in 3 days!
Published 2 days ago by aurora
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It held me captive until the very end! The ending was kind of confusing...
Published 4 days ago by BurlyKim
5.0 out of 5 stars Grace's Touch
I believe that the resounding theme for this book would have to be "The sacrifice of love." This is the strongest of motivations and source of courage for Lela as she risks... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Chelsea Head
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, unique idea
Interesting concept for a book! A different outlook on things. Well written with action, romance, and cliffhangers. 2 book series.
Published 9 days ago by Kittycat524
5.0 out of 5 stars oh-so-good
Review to come, but this book is officially one of my favorites solely for being captivating every second, while managing to do it without relying on romance... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Dawnie
5.0 out of 5 stars A very refreshing book
Even though the book takes place in a paranormal setting, it is very realistic in portraying the struggles that all people go through. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Jessicah Erondu
2.0 out of 5 stars Aren't you ashamed of yourself?
Sappy, cheesy pageturning that will turn you instantly into a giggling 15 year old girl, even if you're a guy like me who prefers thrillers where **** gets blown up a lot. Read more
Published 23 days ago by wkessler
3.0 out of 5 stars started slow
It was tough to get through the first half, but it picked up and developed a hook as pages turned.
Published 1 month ago by Leslie Holm
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
I'll admit I was a little hesitant when I started this book but it was totally engaging and now I am half way through the second in the series! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
I really liked this book. It has a very interesting view on death. Will be reading it again and the 2nd book.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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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, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she's not writing, she's working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now.

Website: http://sarahfinebooks.com/
For more information about the Guards of the Shadowlands series, and to read excerpts from Malachi's personal journals, visit www.GuardsOfTheShadowlands.tumblr.com

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