Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sanctum by Sarah Fine [Review]

The way this story is constructed makes it hard to give you a synopsis without spoilers.  Suffice it to say that Lela's first day at a new high school after exiting juvie is when she makes her first and only friend, Nadia.  Nadia just so happens to be trying to buy some oxy off of the school drug dealer when he tries to rip her off and Lela steps in.  Instant friendship.  Unlikely friendship.  Strong friendship.  One that Lela finds herself going to the depths of hell to save. [literally]  Don't worry, there's romance in there too.  And action.  Lots of action.  But if I tell you more, I'll totally spoil it.

Here's the deal.  Amazon Children's Publishing doesn't have a strong track record with me.  So when this was recommended to me as an AWESOME story, I checked it out, saw Amazon on it, and kinda just gave a huge internal 'meh.'  Let me be the first to say I was wrong.  But only after the first fifty pages or so.  You think you know how this story is going to go.  You think you have a concept of what's going to happen and how it will end.  And then comes the twisty, sassy ending that makes you want to read more right away.  You start out the story thinking Lela is just a poor abused stereotypical foster kid who has served time.  She's not.  I thoroughly enjoyed her character and her journey.  I enjoyed the peripheral characters and their quirks.  The amount of detail in the setting is just enough to give me a picture and not too much to make me think I'm picturing it wrong when the next detail rolls along.

Overall, I was surprised at how good of a read SANCTUM was.  I don't generally pick up anything that happens when people have to die to meet their journey or that has anything to do with the afterlife, but this one was different, and it kept me intrigued, and I bet it will peak your interest too... if you give it more than fifty pages.  But if you're anything like me at all, I'll understand if you bail after ten.

People who will like this are people who enjoy WWII history, world religions, Buffy fans (I know I say that a lot, but there's an actual reference to the HYENA episode).  Joss Whedon should totally get his hands on this.  For reals.

People who might not like this are people who have a closed mind about the afterlife, people who don't believe in aliens, and people who think heaven is a shopping spree in NYC.  

There is a short story called CAPTIVE that shows another perspective to some of the first events of the afterlife portion of this book.  It's free if you preorder the next installment of the GUARDS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series, FRACTURED.  It doesn't show up if you search for it, so follow the link to find it.  Additionally, for Kindle device owners who have Amazon Prime, SANCTUM is free to borrow.  

Have you read about Lela and Malachai?  If yes, spill.  Like/dislike, Love/hate, Guards/Mazikin?  Which side are you on?