by Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands #1
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
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
Sanctum by Sarah Fine is the first in the Guards of Shadowlands and it rocked my ears. Last year I listened to Sarah Fine’s adult urban fantasy series Servants of Fae and loved them. Blogger friends proclaimed I had to listen/read her YA fantasy and I grabbed Sanctum narrated by Amy McFadden. From the world building to the swoony romance and dark corridors beyond the gate, I easily slipped into this world.
Five Caffeinated reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Sanctum:
- Sarah Fine creates vivid imaginative worlds that come to life. In Sanctum, she leads us by the hand along with protagonist Lela Santos’s into the dark, grim world of Suicide City. Beyond the gates, you will meet those condemned to wander the city lost in their own despair, greed and hopelessness. Guards protect the city. These weapon-wielding guards are ruthless and show no remorse. They guard the city walls and contain those who try to create havoc or escape. Their fearless Captain is a human named Malachi and he leads the guards in hopes of earning his freedom.
- Lela our protagonist is strong, fearless and does not belong within the city walls. She snuck through the gates to save her best friend, Nadia. Nadia committed suicide and has haunted Lela’s dreams. Lela is not your typical young adult heroine. She will not hesitate to kick your ass and although untrained she is surprisingly good. She occasionally smokes, and will curse like a sailor but she is also loyal and tender. I found myself connecting with her and became caught up in her quest. Fine shares Lela’s past with us, and it is sad and dark making the light in her shine all the brighter.
- Malachi’s story ripped out my heart and I fell hard for him. Grab the tissues because you will need them. He is the leader of the guard but near the end of knowing and soon will be released beyond the gates. His interaction with Lela melted my heart. He is brave, fearless, and has compassion that knows no bounds.
- Amy McFadden was the perfect narrator for this story. She beautifully captured all that is Lela and Malachi. Her tone is pleasing and perfectly paced allowing me to slip into the world. She gave each character a unique voice and I loved how it enhanced my experience.
- Sanctum is a dark story set in a hellish world where hope seems impossible and love improbable. Yet, Sarah Fine manages to write a beautiful romance between two characters whose lives have been shrouded in darkness and despair. It was beautiful, compelling and only left me wanting more. The story was perfectly paced with tension, danger and twists. Secondary characters like the judge only added to the story creating an atmosphere that kept me fully engaged.
Sanctum delivered so many fronts and I am excited to return to this series with Fractured.
Listen to an audio sample: Sanctum
This series has been on my tbr for quite a while and I really need to get to it, especially after reading your review. So glad you enjoyed it!
I hope you love it Tressa 🙂
This sounds really interesting! I think I’ve actually seen the cover somewhere before, but I definitely want to read it now. Malachi sounds pretty wonderful!
Brilliantly done, I hope you grab it soon 🙂
Amazing Review Kim! I’ve been dying to read a book by Sarah Fine for a long time now I heard amazing raving reviews about her books. And this one looks and sounds absolutely and utterly amazing and fantastic. Which book series do you recommend to read first by Sarah Fine? Thank you for the awesome post Kim
If YA is your thing, go with this series first. I loved her UF series Servants of Fate as well, it’s adult and quick paced.
What a great review! I love dark books, and I do love romance. Plus I read Sarah Fine’s first Servants of Fate book and thought her writing was pretty good. So I’m considering this one. The whole concept of the Suicide City also sounds very interesting! I love seeing how the afterlife are portrayed.
I really enjoyed the Servants of Fate series on audio. I hope you try these 🙂
I just love a strong protagonist! This book looks great and I haven’t read any of Sarah Fine’s books yet. 🙁 I’m glad that you liked the narrator for this as well. I recently started an audiobook (I don’t listen to many) and the narrator was just THE WORST. I ended up having to switch to an ebook instead lol. Great Review! 🙂
Oh that makes it very hard Erin. I hope you listen to the sample of this.
I’ve had this book on my shelf FOREVER!
I’m glad to hear it’s good.
Karen @For What It’s Worth
Karen you need to dig it out!
I think I’m going to head over to Audible and grab this after I finish my comment, Kimberly. 😀 The premise intrigued me, as did your descriptions of Lela and Malachi. But it’s your description of the world – Suicide City – that sealed the deal. And I’ve been meaning to give Ms. Fine a whirl…I’m starting here! Awesome review!
I hope you love it as much as I did Brandee!
I actually thought about listening to this series in audio format. Your review is very helpful, Kim. Amy McFadden is a new to me narrator, and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed her performance. Great review!
The audio is wonderful Ksenia and the story is perfect for listening 🙂
I’ve heard fantastic things about this series and Sarah Fine’s books and it sounds like this one was done really well! Love the review Kimba, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Thanks Jeann. I hope you try this one. I love her adult Servants of Fate UF too 🙂
Braine Talk Supe
You’re killing me! I’m acquiring more than reading, bad Kimba… good Kimba 🙂
I need more Fine in my life
Bwahaha, I mean sorry. Nope. Yes–you need more Fine!!
The Bibliophile Babe
This has been on my TBR for months! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Ooo dig it out my friend!!
I LOVE this series. It is both dark and becomes beautiful. Now I know when I re-read it to try it on audio!
Beautiful description of the series Kay!
I’ll have to check, but I’m pretty certain I have this on my Kindle. My mind is so bad, but it looks familiar.
Ooo perfect weekend read/listen if its there! *winks*
Oh goodness, this sounds like something I would definitely read/listen to. Thanks for all the strong points you made in your review.
I hope you listen Leona. I was impressed!
Thank you for the wonderful review. I’ll have to check this author out. She is new to me.
I hope you check her out. I love her adult urban fantasy and this series is wonderful thus far 🙂
I read an ARC of this back in 2012 and I have been telling everyone to read it since then. It is still one of my all time favs. I agree, I adore Malachi, he is one of the best male leads ever. I am so glad you finally took the plunge and read this.
I am delighted I finally dove it and listened to ya’ll 🙂
oh I’m so happy you posted this review Kim! I was looking forward to knowing what you thought about Sanctum ! 🙂 Glad to hear you enjoyed it too. I LOVED IT! I just Love Sarah’s writing and world. Best writer of the afterlife I have found so far. I see you liked Servants of Fate too. Marked was a FIVE STARS for me 🙂 I have to finish these two series.
Yay glad you liked Servants of Fate too. I am excited to begin the next audiobook in this series.
Wow, Lela sounds like a really devoted friend! I love the sound of her as the heroine. Sounds like I need to grab a copy of this book! I am curious about Malachi’s story now too….
Malachi will wrap himself around your heart Sarah 🙂
Oh yes, this seriously sounds like an awesome fantasy! I’ve heard a lot of great things about this series, and Sarah Fine is always great! Glad this book was an amazing read for you! Lovely review, Kim!
I hope you try this series Cyn. I love Fine 🙂
This is my favorite book of hers (of those I’ve read). It totally blew my mind. I’m so glad you finally read/listened to it!
Glad to hear you loved it too Candace. I am glad I finally started it 🙂
YESSS, Kim! I’m so happy you read this one and loved it. Malachi is really one of a kind! And Lela is one epic heroine! All of Sarah Fine’s characters are so solid. I can’t wait for you to read more in this series.
Wonderful review, Kim!
Yay I am glad I listened to ya’ll 🙂
I’m so excited you are listening to this series Kim, it is by far my favorite from her. I love how gritty and dark it can be and still be hopeful and fabulous.
Ya I am glad you love them too 🙂
YEAH KIM!!!!! I still think this might be my all time favorite Sarah Fine book. Maybe because it was my first:) I still need to read book three though, I can’t believe I haven’t done that yet. I’m so glad to see you’re off to the best kind of start with this series, I can’t wait to see what you think of the next one!
I am anxious to listen to book two. Thanks Jenny. I enjoy her adult books but I am really glad ya’ll pushed me to try her YA books.
Quinn's Book Nook
This isn’t really the kind of story I enjoy, BUT I’m so glad that you thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thanks Quinn, you know me I like to mix it up 🙂
Great review Kim, a lot of my blogger friends love Sarah. Looks like my pile will get bigger LOL
You need to add her to your tbr pile my friend 🙂
Tyler H. Jolley
How’s the world building in this? I’m always interested in what other people’s interpretation of Hell looks like.
I would classify this as purgatory. Fine is really fantastic and bringing the landscape to life and setting the tone for the world. I personally wouldn’t want to spend anytime in Suicide City.
I think I own this! I will have to traverse the jungle of my Kindle to see if I do and FINALLY read it!!!!! I haven’t read anything by Ms. Fine yet 🙁
I love her adult UF and this was fantastic!
Even though this book was published in 2012, I haven’t heard about it before.
It sounds promising. Strong female character and an interesting world…
And I can see your rating is also pretty high. 🙂
I am glad I could introduce you to the trilogy Irena 🙂
It’s great to see that the author creates such amazing world and characters! I’m curious now!
I could see you really enjoying this Melliane 🙂
It sounds different, I like that
It was Linda. I am looking forward to listening to book two