BOOK REVIEW: "Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowland #1)" by Sarah Fine

Title: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands #1)
Author: Fine, Sarah
Published: October 16th, 2012 by Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing
Edition Language: English
Source: purchased e-book

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.

Mrs. Beamer's Review:
Wow.  I haven't enjoyed a book this much since The Hunger Games!  It's one of those books I didn't want to end.  While it took me a little longer than usual to get hooked, once I was...there was NO turning back.  Planes could have landed in my backyard and I wouldn't have noticed.  I was captivated.

There are many, many layers to this story.  Most of the book takes place in (something resembling our idea of hell).  The two most powerful story lines, for me, were the romance between Lela and Malachi (of course!) ~and~ the idea that one can control, to some extent, their afterlife.  The characters have so much depth.  Lela rocks as the heroine and shows us SO many different sides of herself...strong/fragile, determined/uncertain, fearless/scared, selfless/selfish...I could go on and on.  And Malachi...wowza :)  He is SO incredible...there aren't enough adjectives to describe how perfect he is as the leading man.  *sigh*  The supporting cast of characters was compelling, as well. 

The author has a gift...she perfectly blends all elements of this story.  There is plenty of action...lots of romance...humor and sadness (I laughed out loud AND got teary-eyed at different points in the story)...suspense and mystery...moments for deep reflecting...etc.  I found myself re-reading passages so I could experience her words over and over again.  

As the first book in a series, this one delivers it all!  I am DYING to read the next book...and was pleasantly surprised at the initial setting for book two :) HAVE to read this book!!

My Favorite Quote (from this book):  "Figures.  The first time a guy tells me I'm beautiful, I'm in hell and he's delirious".

Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 1
Violence: 2
Sexual Content: 2
Drugs/Alcohol: 1
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: middle school
Potential Controversial Topics: suicide

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