Sanctum : Guards of the Shadowlands

  • by Sarah Fine
  • Narrated by Amy McFadden
  • Series: Guards of the Shadowlands
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A week ago, 17-year-old Lela Santos’ 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

unusual YA take on the afterlife/angels

I thought this book was well-written and well-paced. The world of the different afterlives is very interesting and unusual. The version of "angels" and "Judge" is a great twist on what I expected to find. The idea that these two girls had such a strong friendship that one would follow the other into Hell to save her friend after she has committed suicide is fascinating and intriguing. The lead character's background of sexual assault and neglect making her unable to even hug her friends is touching and creates some good tension as she attempts to learn to trust other people.

Unfortunately the book begins to devolve into sexist and cliched territory. Our luxuriously-haired teenage heroine doesn't have enough self-esteem to value her own life and doesn't think she is attractive or worthy of love. She meets The One, falls in love immediately and deeply, as does he - and he is able to break through her barriers in a very extremely short period of time. He saves her physically from monsters and thus she trusts him as no one else... and soon they are kissing and she is attracted to him sexually (despite her previous extreme fear of intimacy). They stop communicating their feelings and thus question each other's love and loyalty repeatedly, creating dangers that seemed easily avoidable. She rushes into danger all alone and has to be rescued. Her friend becomes an afterthought and is relegated to an abruptly easy afterlife and is conveniently pushed out of the story.

The plot never really lives up to the promise of the unique setting and world-building. The romance is too perfect, too quick, and too intense, as is typical of YA paranormal romances. That said, the writing is smooth and well-edited. The author's talent kept me reading while hoping desperately that the plot lines took more advantage of the action plots rather than the romance.

2.5 stars

Audiobook version note: the narrator's mangled accent for Malachi make me wince. He sounds like a bad fake Russian Dracula.
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- Gypsycat

Exciting story, cliche characters

I started reading this book before knowing anything about it so I was surprised when the story went from her regular school life to falling off a cliff and dying very early on in the story.

I generally like books/movies with strong female characters so this had promise. The main character Lela started out as physically and emotionally strong in the beginning, became wimpy, foolish and lovestruck towards the middle and deteriorated into a weak Disney princess at the end. She was so self-absorbed thinking everything was about her and constantly apologizing. Get over yourself - the world does not revolve around you. Her character started out as a 10 and ended up as a 2.

The supporting character who commits suicide, Nadia starts out interesting but ends up like a boring zombie. I had no interest whether she stayed in purgatory forever or not.

I would have liked the characters to be less cookie-cutter and more internally conflicted. The good guys are all good, the bad guys are all bad - there is nothing complex about them. The most interesting characters have a bit of both (think Breaking Bad).

Aside from the teenage melodrama and angst, the concept of the underworld was very interesting and the description of the houses, the people and how things worked were fascinating. The story line was exciting and moved quickly.

I was a little confused at the end of the book - like why the characters ended up where they did with that particular job. I like stories being wrapped up so that was good but I definitely had a moment of "Wait. What?" It seems like the finale was crow-barred.
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- Bookworm

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-16-2012
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio