28 April 2013

Book Review: Sanctum by Sarah Fine

 Book: Sanctum (#1 Guards of the Shadowlands)
Author: Sarah Fine
File type: Ebook
Release date: October 16th 2012
Publisher: Marshall Canvendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing.
My rating: 3 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.

I wish I could say that this book was awesome. But unfortunately, I can't.

Sanctum comes forward with a really unique and refreshing concept. I, in no way, can question the originality of the story.A mission to rescue your bestfriend from the dark streets of Hell? Me Gusta. Now add a hot guard ,a badass female,a strong protagonist, a thoroughly sarcastic and smart writing style and the evergreen beauty of hell to the mix. Me SUPER Gusta. 

I should've loved the damn book. What's not to like? It has everything that usually wows my idiot mind. I didn't even carethat the guy's name was Malachi and I tend to run away from awkward names because awkward names mean awkward situations where the girl tenderly looks at the guy and the guy begs her to say his name so that he can hear it and then she says, that awkward name and rather than melting into a gooey puddle of nonsense, I'm either on the floor laughing or just mentally cringing everytime that awkward name is mentioned. And Malachi, for me, is an awkward name.


I did not mind it. 

For every 'Malachi' there was my heart demanding me to melt. And melt, I did. Initially.

Sanctum started out really great! I was so mesmerized by it's awesomeness that I knew, in my mind, that THIS was going to be epic. Seventeen year old, Lela Santos is a likable female. She's tough and strong. She doesn't take bullshit and neither does she give bullshit. I understood her love for Nadia and I agreed with whatever she did and whatever she thought because when I looked at her, I saw her doing and thinking things a normalteenage girl whose been through a lot in her past would normallydo. And then she said bye bye world and arrived in heaven. I loved how her loyalty towards Nadia led her towards the Suicide gates in hell, so that she could rescue Nadia's soul even if she had to sacrifice her eternal peace for it. Sentiments towards best friends are my undoing among many other things. It was because of these sentiments that I had liked Code Name Verity. And then she meets Malachi. The guard of the dark city.

See, I had absolutely no problem with the details and setting of the plot. I was really in favour of the whole 'I'll kick your ass if you lay your fingers on me' feel. I was also particularly in love with Malachi because the strong man had a sensitive side to him from the very beginning. What I didn't like was the Lela-Malachi dynamic. 

It was so unreal and weird for me to see both Lela and Malachi falling for each other as quickly as they did. Considering Lela's feelings about touch, I was pretty surprised to witness the 'I WANT TO KISS HIM AND WILL KILL HIM.' side of her. I wouldn't blame the girl and in a way, she was voicing my thoughts in the book as well, but it just didn't work. All things considered, the pace of the romance was very fast for me. And also very weird.

Everytime, there was a scene of conflict and everytime Malachi saved Lela, all I could think was how convenient it was for Lela to be so stupid in the presence of Malachi when all the while before she even entered hell, she was smart. I'm all for the protection mode of a guy but dude, please. Give it a rest. 

By the second half, I was sure that this book was disappointing. But the presence of Ana's and Raphael's character made it worthwhile. 
It all felt so bland to me and after some point, I was irritated with Lela and her actions. And the end was also pretty okay to me. All of this was enough for me to say 'WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?' to the book.
I liked this book. It wasn't all there but it was alright. Maybe.


  1. Hey there! I haven't read Sanctum yet, but I have to say I loved your review - especially the part about the weird names :) Now, I'm kind of undecided about Sanctum. The premise sounds definitely intruiging and unique, but then again I get what you mean about the second part beind disappointing. I hate when books start out so well and then simply seem to fade away. Mhm...anyway, a girl entering hell that at the same time has a witty and sarcastic voice that will probably have me laughing out loud no matter where I am? I guess I'll have to try it :) Once again - great review!

  2. Oh hi! :)
    Thank you so much. Really. Weird names kill everything. You're looking for the emotions and then suddenly 'awkward name' and the whole moment is dead. A similar thing happened to me while reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer. Have you read it?
    I do think that you should give it a try. The writing was great and the concept was interesting. The sequel will probably be better. I hope. Fingers crossed!:)