by Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands #1
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
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
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