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Sanctum
     

Sanctum

5.0 12
by Sarah Fine
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Lela has passed through a string of troubled foster homes. Two years ago, when she was sexually abused by her foster father and unable to see a way out of the situation, Lela attempted suicide. That close call allowed Lela to witness the horror waiting for those who enter the Suicide Gates. Now seventeen, with a caring foster mom and best friend, Nadia, Lela believes in her future. But Nadia was hiding severe depression and overdosed on pills. Still strongly connected, Lela is determined to join her friend, keep her safe from the body-snatching Mazikin, and escape to the peaceful afterlife of Countryside. The biggest obstacle in her path is Malachi, the dedicated and skilled Captain of the Guard, primarily charged with keeping Mazikin from escaping this bleak city. When the two meet, sparks fly. Malachi and Lela make an unexpectedly compelling couple considering their bleak, unhappy surroundings and the brief quiet times between violent street fights against Mazikin. Action sequences and secondary characters keep the story moving quickly, making the few flirty moments seem special. Many original, interesting ideas create this complex world and creatures lurking through the afterlife, but there is also a handful of confusing moments where helpful details or explanations have not been provided. Adults should be aware the author does not shy away from including salty language and multiple mentions of sexual assault, making this best for older teens. Readers willing to overlook a few pieces of missing information will be excited to find this is first of a trilogy. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—As an abused victim of the foster-care system, high school senior Lela never had any real friends until she met beautiful and popular Nadia. But Nadia faces her own demons, and when she commits suicide, Lela is alone once again. At her own peril, she gets a surprising opportunity to rescue Nadia's soul from the Suicide Gates, a version of hell reserved for those who take their own lives. To free her terrified friend, Lela enlists the help of Malachi and Ana, two Shadowland Guards who vow to keep Lela safe from the evil Mazikin, who will stop at nothing to possess the souls forever. As a modern-day "Orpheus and Eurydice," Sanctum will be a hit with urban fantasy readers, who will love its top-notch world-building, page-turning action, and slow-developing romance. While the lustful staring gets a bit tiresome, the romance itself is sweet, and teen girls will swoon over Malachi's gentle treatment of Lela. Suicide is a major part of the plot, but previously suicidal characters can overcome their mental problems and become successful in the afterlife. While entering the Gates serves as punishment for those who ended their own lives, the city beyond also serves as a place of healing and an opportunity for redemption. A unique debut, Sanctum will be popular with readers who can handle the sexual content, including rape, and mature language.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612184425
Publisher:
Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
10/16/2012
Series:
Guards of the Shadowlands Series , #1
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
823,232
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now. Sanctum is her first novel.

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Sanctum 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
woven More than 1 year ago
Love the feeling of going into a novel, not knowing what to expect, and realizing right away that I'm going to like it. And that as I get further in the story keeps getting better & better, and that once I'm done I just want more people to know about the book & to read it too! Sanctum was that type of read for me. The characters were multilayered & extremely likable, the world was fascinating, and the story made it hard to stop reading. I can easily say that it is one of my top five favorite books this year! "Welcome to Suicide Gates!" Those words & the frightening, otherworldly city where she first heard them have haunted Lela ever since she tried to end her life two years ago. Lela knows that place is where she could have ended up if she had died, but she doesn't realize how true that is until her best friend Nadia commits suicide. Lela starts having nightmares, visions, about Suicide Gates through her friend's eyes, and she becomes determined to save Nadia from that dark place even if she has to sacrifice herself in the process. The journey is nowhere near easy though. Suicide Gates is a harsh & bleak world. Everyone who ends up there must work hard to come to terms with what happened to them & to find strength within themselves so that they can finally move on. And not everyone is able to do that. Lela's feelings towards Nadia were powerful & the driving force behind most of her decisions in Sanctum. She did everything she could to save Nadia, even if she later regretted the choices she made. This is one of the few books where I truly felt the strong bond a character has with a friend. I remember thinking that I wanted Lela to succeed, I wanted Nadia to be saved, and I wanted happiness for them both. It really was heartbreaking, and it made me just admire & adore Lela even more. She felt so real to me. She's been through so much in her life, yet she stays strong & focused for the friend who believed in her & made her a better person. Not only is Sanctum about friendship & sacrifice, it's about love & overcoming gripping fears bit by bit. After Lela arrives at Suicide Gates, she's captured by the Guards of the city. They know she's different from the humans who are suppose to be there, and she's interrogated by their brave & intimidating Captain, Malachi. Lela & Malachi don't trust each other at first, but once they open up, Lela begins to feel safe around Malachi & he begins to feel protective of her. There's a gut-wrenching reason why Lela wanted to die two years ago, and when Malachi finds out he helps her overcome some of her fears of allowing anyone, especially a man, to touch her. He's so respectful & let's her be in control. I absolutely loved their relationship. It was sweet & beautiful & touching. They are amazing people & brought out every single bit of goodness in each other. They are also kickass & helped each other survive along the way to finding Nadia. They're the main reason why I cannot wait to read the next book. Sanctum brings up many heavy, emotional subjects & there are plenty of terrifying moments, but it still manages to be filled with hope & love. When a story is awesome & has wonderful characters & relationships, it makes me really happy. I wish I could talk more about the unique world in Sanctum, but it's complex & something you need to discover & experience yourself. Highly recommend Sanctum!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sanctum by Sarah Fine offers an engaging blend of fantasy, action, romance, and contemporary social issues, sure to appeal to a variety of readers. Protagonist Lela Santos has spent most of her life in foster homes and the sexual abuse she suffers at one causes her to attempt suicide. Her abuser interrupts the suicide, but Lela was gone long enough to glimpse hell. When her best friend Nadia kills herself and Lela dies accidentally soon after, she is determined to save her friend from the city that preys on souls’ worst fears, insecurities, and vices. Problem is: Lela doesn’t belong there. The city won’t sustain her, which puts her at risk of dying–again. Another problem: Creepy creatures called Mazikin claim broken souls and are preparing to bust out of the city. The fights are fierce between the Mazikin and the Guards, and Lela proves to be a badass even before any formal fight training. Yet another problem: Lela is falling in love with Malachi, the leader of the Guards. And while the romantic tension between them is hotter than Hades itself, a love affair in this setting isn’t likely to last. Plus, Lela is still healing from traumas experienced in her mortal life, which means she doesn’t easily trust people even in the afterlife. One of the things I liked most about Sanctum was the development of the characters’ emotional journeys through pain and into healing. They all suffered so severely in life they decided to commit suicide, and that decision landed them in a place that continues their torment. Still, as difficult as it is, in life and this afterlife, some are able to overcome the worst experiences and find purpose in life and even love. I won’t give away what happens when Lela finds Nadia, but I will say I wasn’t entirely surprised at Nadia’s response to the rescue effort. The point that we all heal at our own pace is an important one to remember (in real life) when trying to help people with mental health issues.
Addicted_Readers More than 1 year ago
5 AMAZING Stars Set in a dark terrifying world, SANCTUM brings originality and adventure, romance and friendship, like I've never experienced! SANCTUM was so addicting, yet so terrifying, and SOOO much fun to read!! I did NOT want to put SANCTUM down to save my life. It was just that good! There was honestly not a thing that I did not like about SANCTUM! Seriously, it was so awesome, for so many different reasons. Every chapter had me more engrossed, wanting to know more about the scary-amazing world that captured my heart. I felt hard for these characters and their struggles and experiences, and really wanted them to succeed. I think SANCTUM is a book that EVERYONE should read and experience, no matter your preferred genre. THE PLOT Lela's been though it all. And she's as tough as nails and doesn't take any crap from anyone because of it. But there's a good reason why she is the way she is, and she's about to be tested just how far she'll go to save the ones she loves... Lela has been in and out of different foster homes for as long as she can remember, and they haven't been the most pleasant experiences either. But when Lela finally settles down in her last foster home, everything seems to be on the up in up when she meets Nadia, a girl who seems to like her for her. Which is unusual Lela thinks, but she gives in to this relationship that she's never experienced, and slowly a beautiful friendship blooms, and Lela has finally found something worth living for. But then drastically, Nadia starts experiencing extreme depression and turns to drugs to cope with her feelings. And eventually life becomes to much for Nadia and she commits suicide. And then Lela's world is shattered, everything she found worth living for is gone, and she is left utterly alone, and more helpless then ever. Until Lela starts having terrifying recurring dreams of a hellish City that souls go to when they die, and when she see's who's ended up in this hellish world, her world collapses... When Lela was with one of her worst foster parents, life became to much and she tried to commit suicide. But Lela was pulled back at the last second by her vile foster father, and was able to be revived. But when she was under, somewhere in between the living and the dead, Lela ended up at the gates of the Suicide City, and was just about to be ushered in when she was pulled back to living. And ever since that day, she's had recurring vision and dreams of being there in the Suicide City and watching all the terrifying events unfold, and that's exactly where she see's Nadia after she killed herself, and Lela can't help but to believe it's all really real. But when Lela accidentally falls off a cliff to her death, she realizes just how real it really is... Now Lela has a choice; spend her afterlife relishing in the heaven-like country where she belongs. Or she can go inside the hellish Suicide Gates and search for her suffering friend. The answer comes easily to Lela, and she plots her way into the Suicide City Gates, determined to find her friend, save her from herself, evade the Mazikin that's hunting them, and get them both out of the City of hell that they've found themselves in. But when Lela crosses paths with the dangerous and equally deadly, Captain of the guard, Malachi, her world changes forever... Malachi's tough, deadly, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes to stop the Mazikin from killing and claiming the bodies of the souls in the Suicide City. Malachi is set on ridding his dark city of Mazikin, and he just so happens to think Lela is working for them, and he's determined to get the truth from her, one way or another. But soon Malachi realizes that Lela is not working for the enemy, and they both start to developed feelings that neither one of them has ever experienced before. And before they know what they've gotten themselves into, their caught in a spiraling downfall of electrifying feelings, terrifying creatures, deadly atmospheres, and tortured souls, But if they have any chance of making it out alive, they will have to bound together and build a trust that neither one of them is good at giving. I loved this book so soooo much!! UGH, I just can't put my feelings into words and express my love for this book properly!!! It is truly one of the most original books that I have personally read in a very, very, long time, and I loved that so much!! I listened to most of SANCTUM on audio, but also went back and forth on my eBook and paperback ARC. But I loved the narration so much that I preferred the audiobook over actually reading the book. The narrator Amy McFadden was one of the best narrators that I've came across in a while. She preformed Malach, the male love interested with such beauty, and with an enticing accent that always made me want to curl my toes in desire!! Sarah Fine is an AMAZING story teller, and knows how to write a burning romance that makes you want to jump through the pages and endure all the pain and suffering that the characters are going through just to get a chapter in that sizzling romance!!! Overall, SANCTUM was a fast-paced, action-packed, terrifying adventure that I will read again and again for sooooo many years to come! The world building was original and truly addicting, the characters were believable and will developed, the ending ROCKED, and the friendship was truly beautiful. SANCTUM is a book that I think everyone should read!!! It's just that amazing, absolutely, breathtakingly wonderful!!! And I am so eager to get back in this series, but hesitant, because I don't ever want it to end!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't think I would enjoy this book, but I loved it! The second book is just as good, maybe better. I can't wait for the third in the series. I just wish they a digital copy for Nook!
APratt0414 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Lela has been living a rough life as a foster child.  She has had to deal with abuse, neglect and other horrors while bouncing around from foster home to foster home.  She finally lands at a nice one and has to go to a new school.  On her first day there, she saves Nadia from the school's resident drug slinger and they become friends.  Lela loves who she has become with Nadia's help.  She is going to be going to college (if she gets the acceptance letter) with Nadia after they graduate.  She doesn't have any more thoughts of suicide.  She actually wants to live and to make a life for herself.  That all changes when Nadia kills herself.  Lela feels responsible. She feels like she could've done more to help her best friend.  She doesn't understand what happened to her popular, outgoing, always smiling best friend.  It isn't until she gets a glimpse of Nadia in a place that could only be described as hell.  She is able to connect with her subconscious and she what she sees.  In an attempt to "zone out" to check on Nadia, she has an accident.  Now, she's in hell....and she chose to go there.  She is determined to find her best friend and get her out of that place.  The city and it's inhabitants, have other plans. I really liked the premise of this book and it intrigued me.  I had never heard of another story like this and wanted to see where it led.  I am really glad I decided to read it!  It is really a great story - well written, fleshed-out characters that are believable and sometimes get your heart racing with their antics, or sometimes their looks.  It is somewhat of a paranormal romance in that Lela starts to develop a crush on her guard Malachi.  She isn't sure what to think of him.  He seems different than the other guards that are there, more like her.  He has secrets of his own and she is trying not to get involved.  Something happens though when two people are thrown together in a fight for their lives.  They tend to get a little closer and more personal than they ever thought possible. There is somewhat of a cliffhanger at the end of the book, but since the 2nd one is out, it shouldn't be a big deal for readers.  I know it wasn't for me. 
Bookish-Brina More than 1 year ago
I wish these books were more well known. I read this yesterday and couldn't put it down. Such a unique story, exciting, romantic. Loved every second!!
alicialovesbooks More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely exceptional. It was full of such deep emotions and took place in a setting that even after reading hundreds of books I haven't experienced before. I only wish it was more available to the public, becaus it is definitely worth the read!!
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Sanctum by Sarah Fine Book One of the Guards of the Shadowlands series Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing Publication Date: October 16, 2012 Rating: 5 stars Source: Public Library Summary (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. What I Liked: It is SO easy to review books I love. And seriously, I loved this book. I haven't rated a new book with 5 stars in a long time! Nor have I found a new favorite in a long time! This book is definitely a new favorite. There are books that you enjoy, that you really like, or maybe even love, but then, there are those that you absolutely love and know it's one of your favorites. Well. That's this book. It's no secret that I love fantasy books. I believe this book is considered fantasy, and perhaps paranormal. The world that Fine creates outside of the current, modern-day world is fascinating. Th setting is amazing, and it feels like it could be a real place! I got a feel of its dank, suffocating nature within the first pages of Lela being in the city. The setting is... wow. The characters are even more amazing. Lela is a fantastic heroine - tough, spunky, and hardened. She is hurt immensely from her past, but she works through her problems as the book goes along. That was something I did not expect. YA heroines rarely have cruel backgrounds, and yet Lela has had a difficult past. Her past makes her strong, and ultimately keeps her alive. Malachi... oh, Malachi. That guy is TERRIFIC. I can't even begin to express how much I truly like him. He is the Captain of the Guards (hot guy signal number one), and he handles his power with ease and grace (hot guy signal number two), even though he is young (hot guy signal number three). He has a haunted past - and I am NOT kidding when I say haunted (hot guy signal number four). He's a geniunely good guy though (hot guy signal number five). And, well, he's HOT. Physically. Trust me.  The plot of this story is pretty straightforward at first: get Nadia out. But there are so many bumps and twists along the way! I did see some coming, but then others, especially the end, I did not see coming. And while I'm there, the ending is a good one. A little different, but good. NO LOVE TRIANGLE! EVERYONE, REJOICE! This probably couldn't be one of my favorite books if it had a love triangle. But it doesn't! And I now have a new favorite book! Bliss :D (And if anyone wanted to know; I waited three days before writing this review - just so the book would sink in, and I could truly assess the book.) What I Did Not Like: NOTHING. There was nothing that I did not like about this book. Or at least, that I can think of right now. Don't judge me! Would I Recommend It: YES! And believe me, I mean that. It's been so long since I regarded a book as one of my FAVORITES, and thus making the series one of my favorite series. But one thing is for sure: I can't wait to read Fractured! Rating: 5 stars. I am so happy that I found a new book to love. It's not very day I give a book 5 stars, or call it one of my favorites. It's been too long! I really hope other readers will take a chance with this one.
TeenBlurb More than 1 year ago
“I wanted the chance to give him something, to give him the best of me, as pathetic as it was, damaged and broken, warped at the edges, hardly worth having. I decided that if I had the chance, if he asked, if he needed, it was his.” ¿ Sarah Fine, Sanctum Sarah Fine weaves a unique story that draws you in and doesn’t let go. Lela and Malachi meet in unlikely circumstances and engage in a fierce tango of wills and emotions that leave the reader crying, laughing, dreaming, and wishing right along with them. Lela had been tossed from foster home to foster home. She has never really fit in and does not expect to at yet another new school. Then, of all the kids at the school, she is befriended by the most popular girl at school. Lela notices right away that there is more to Nadia. The two instantly become best friends. A year later everything changes… Nadia commits suicide and her soul is sent to “The Suicide Gates.” Lela has seen it before, briefly, when she herself tried to kill herself. But now Lela has something to live for and she will not abandon her friend to the horrors that await there. Lela will stop at nothing to make sure that Nadia finds the peace that she deserves. Lela finds herself up against Malachi, Captain of the Guards of the Shadowlands. He is stubborn, dangerous, and very hot. Lela starts wanting and feeling things for him that she thought she would never feel. Lela must race against time and her own fate to rescue Nadia. She will have to make a difficult decision. Will she make the right decision?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago