Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, Book 1) by Sarah Fine



“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.

Review by Angela

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.  I give Sanctum 5 books!


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