Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Spotlight: SANCTUM

Ever get all giddy when you receive a book in the mail? Well, I sure did with this one, especially once I began reading it.

Author: Sarah Fine
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing
Expected Release Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 433

I'd like to thank both Author & Publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book for review.

Favorite Line/Passage: I turned back to the Gates, clenched my teeth, and marched forward. Others pressed in behind me, trapping me against layers of bodies, filling me with nausea as they pushed against my back, reminding me of things I'd worked really hard to forget. I wriggled myself along, carefully nudging past arms and shoulders, chests and heads, toward the outer edge of the crowd. Time for a close encounter with the Guards. I wailed and cried, uniting my voice with others' despairing sobs.

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.


My Splats: riveting debut brimming with heart-wrenching endings, thought-provoking beginnings, and unforeseen choices in a world that only death can bring on.

Taking the initial quote from SANCTUM'S blurb: "My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple." Now, we all know that nothing is simple during the teen years. And SANCTUM stays true to that course, contemplating the delicate subject of teen suicide and what really happens 'after.' 

From her scattered foster care life, Lela has a different scale with which she measures life. That scale grows more unbalanced as the only friend she's ever had takes her own life. Grief and guilt are immediately evident within Lela, only adding to her already complex emotional shelf. She dreams of a place where only desolation exists and knows it's the place her friend has gone. Lela is searching, longing for closure over her friend's tragic decision. But even more for the pain of her personal past to heal and release her. 

Ultimately, she ends up in the same place as her dreams. There she meets Malachi, who shares her anguish of a disturbing past with the inner turmoil that creates. Lela finds her inner and outer conflicts followed her into her afterlife - insecurities, loneliness, and longing for peace and acceptance - where Malachi has been stirring in his afterlife, healing, and moving toward a new beginning. But for Malachi, meeting Lela with her quest to save her friend means a new beginning of unknowns and uncertainties. 

Fine captures the poetic beauty in such a struggle, holding the reader's attention with humor as well as the more serious; it's quite drawing. The structure of events, and personal reflections and revelations are strategically placed to feed the reader a desire for more. Surprising inner revelations direct Lela and Malachi to evolve as the story nears its climax. And the shocking ending left me only longing for Book II.

The world Fine created pieces together plausible elements in just the right places to make it believable and thought-provoking, like souls seeking frivolous things to fill their emptiness and the inability to see past those and hope. This isn't simply a YA story that draws in the reader, but a tale which urges contemplation of one's own existence and future.

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  1. I've seen the cover for this but didn't know what it was about. Glad to know you liked it so much.

  2. This one is very difficult for me. I've had it for a little while now, but have been holding off, because I want to read and review it closer to release. I don't know how much longer I can hold out, though!

  3. Best book of the year! ;-)


  4. Sounds really, really, really good. Loved your favorite line. It reminded me of an antiguities painting of hell.

    Hugs and chocolate,


  5. I read the book while it was on submission. I can't wait to read it and see all the changes Sarah made. He he. I've read the sequel. Now I'm dying for book three. :D

  6. Oh, what an original concept! Sounds like a great story. Thanks for the review!

  7. Wow, Sarah! This book sounds absolutely fascinating! I bet you're all riled up for the launch, huh?

  8. Sweet! thanks for sharing. Adding to my TBR pile. May have to move it up a bit.

  9. Wow - does that sound good! Thanks for sharing with us!

  10. Woohoo! I love a good book. Thanks for the review Sheri. This is definitely going on my tbr pile!

  11. I got an ARC from Sarah too, and I was waiting to do a post on it a little later too. But now I'm thinking, why wait too long? The world is so vivid and the longings of the characters so clear.

    1. I hear you, Kristen. I was originally thinking the same thing. But then I thought, "Why not create a bit of buzz about the book for Sarah? It's worthy."

  12. This novel sounds amazing. I better update my TBR with this one. I have a feeling I'll want to reader much sooner than later.

  13. Ooo, that novel sounds so cool! I haven't heard of it before.

  14. omg, this book looks and sounds so freakin awesome!!! I can't wait to get my copy. Best to Sarah! :o) <3

  15. Sounds like a book worthy of those splats!

  16. Yay for Sarah! This sounds awesome!

  17. I can't wait for Sarah's book to come out....

  18. Wow! Sounds like a brilliant read. Thanks for the review!

  19. This sounds like an amazing book! Thank you for the review. :)

  20. I started by reading the 9/7 post and you write so well that I just kept going when I got to this one. What a great review! It really makes me want to read the book. You make everything look easy, Sheri, but I know it takes hard work to do that. Keep on keepin' on. :-D


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