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Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands #1)

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  10,110 Ratings  ·  1,075 Reviews
“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 wit
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Hardcover, 417 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Marshall Cavendish Children's/Amazon Children's Publishing (first published October 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stacia (the 2010 club)
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of dark fantasy such as Shadows (Rephaim) and The Dark Light
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Isamlq
THIS. This is absolutely not what I expected. But I mean that in a very good way.
It's dangerous to fall in love in hell.

4.5 stars. Believe what your friends are telling you about this book. It's all true.

Sanctum is unlike anything I've read before. It will be given a place of honor alongside various other books I've read featuring some sort of mystery involving a foreboding struggle with the darkness that surrounds the main characters. I love this stuff. These types of books are the ones whi
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
I have book ADD, I really do. Even when I like a book, by the time I reach the second half, I get impatient, eager to be done with it and be free to discover a new world. It’s a definite downside of having so many books to choose from, and it’s something I need to work on.

Therefore, I was more than a little surprised by the enormity of my despair when I reached the last page of Sanctum. It’s rare that a book leaves me desperate for more. Sarah Fine’s rich and imaginative world, althoug
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Brigid
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't mind a little dark YA.
Shelves: favorites
Yay!! This is out now, so I can gush again!!

I could tell you all about how Lela is badass and strong willed and smart, and about how Sarah has written an amazing story of loss and redemption and courage and grief, but I know you're all skimming this paragraph to hear about the boy, right?

So let's talk about Malachi. He's insanely hot. I mean, he's a skilled fighter, a leader-of-sorts of his "people" (I use the term loosely), and he's a total badass, but he's also kind and clever and good. Is he
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Wendy Darling
4.5 stars Fantastic debut! Written like an adult urban fantasy, and a must-read for fans of Vampire Academy. There is, ahem, a very Dimitri-Rose dynamic going on with this one.

Had a great ending, am very curious to see what will happen next...
Keertana
Sanctum is one of those books where you think you know what you're getting into when you start it, but it manages to surprise you at every turn. You see, I had this craazy idea that Sanctum was a paranormal/fantasy story of sorts about this girl who went into a mysterious land to rescue her best friend; I suppose that, from the surface, that is exactly was this book is. Yet, it's also so much more multi-layered, deep, and provocative than I ever imagined a paranormal/fantasy novel to be. It's a ...more
Alexa
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing

My review can also be found on my blog Collections.

I 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 and better, and that once I'm done I just want more people to know about the book and to read it too! Sanctum was that type of read for me. The characters were multilayered and extremely likeable, the world was fascinating, and the story made it hard to stop reading.
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♥Rachel♥
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to ♥Rachel♥ by: Alexa
4.5 Stars

I loved this story!

Seventeen year-old Lela has a promising future which is surprising considering her past. She went from foster home to foster home, ending up incarcerated in the juvenile system of Rhode Island. Finally she is set free to her first caring foster parent, Diane, and starts high school again. While trying to keep her nose clean and fit in as the new girl, she comes upon a disagreement between one of the popular pretty girls and a junkie on the playground. When Lela real
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Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers)
5 FREAKING, AMAZING, STARS

That was the most amazing book that I have read in a very, very, long time. Well, maybe not that long, but I LOVED it nevertheless!!

I mean when I say I loved this book, I mean freaking I L.O.V.E.D this book sooooo freaking much!!! I just can't describe my feelings as I'm shaking while writing this now!! I already started listening to book 2 on audio. I just couldn't wait any longer!!


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Arlene
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Arlene by: Alexa
The gift was helping me understand my friend and forgive her for leaving me.

Sanctum by Sarah Fine is one of those unique book experiences that blends both despair and hope in equal measure to deliver a hauntingly beautiful journey.

I was left floored with a gamut of emotions that I will now try to sort out in the best way possible. But first, let me state a clear and undeniable fact – Fine has an amazing writing ability. And, it’s not only because of how easily she continued to hook me into her
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shady boots | #WatchPOSE
Okay, to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed right now.

Why, you ask? Because I haven't been squealing like a schoolgirl over a YA guy in a long, long time. And Malachi simply won my heart. I was swooning all over him left, right and center.

If you knew me at all, you'd know that it's really difficult for me to be swayed by guys of YA, cause they're usually the average perfect-looking bad boys who are complete and utter jerks that constantly love to tease and toy with the MC's feelings and whatno
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 ⚔ Sh3lly - Grumpy Name-Changing Wanderer ⚔
So, I had this idea for a July theme buddy read that focused on all these young adult books I've had on my TBR shelf for years. I convinced some folks at the MacHalo group to join me and so far, every single one has been a DNF for me.

There's nothing wrong with this, but I think I'm just not the target audience anymore. It's not doing anything for me. I got to about 40% and am calling it quits. I think if I would have read this way back when I first got it, I probably would have liked it better.
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Theresa
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. The idea of a female friendship so strong that a girl would forge a path through hell (or something very similar to it) to save a friend is story that needs telling as often as possible. But, as too often happens, angsty teen-romance ends up taking over the narrative and shoves aside anything that could have been meaningful in this story and reinforces the basically sexist assumption that anything can be fixed if a girl can only find the right boy.

"Sanctum" is
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Nomes
True confession: I had never even heard of this book. And I saw a two star review of it on goodreads, which for some reason (?), had me intrigued. I downloaded the sample onto my kindle, and at the end of the sample I clicked the buy-now-and-continue-reading-thingy. I am still baffled at myself. I don't even read this genre, guys (me? Urban fantasy?).

I know nothing about this genre, so it's not like I can compare, all I know is this: I was drawn into this world and spent most the day finding exc
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Hanna
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-reads
....bleach...?



Lots of things reminded me of Bleach (in a good way):
Lela = Ichigo

Nadia = Orihime/Rukia in season 1

Guards = Soul Reaper

The City = The Soul Society

Zones = Districts

Mazikin = Hollows

Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
That was one harrowing ride of a book! I just had to comment on the fact that Lela on the cover has straight hair and in the book she has wild curly hair. It bothers me when they don't match! I had no idea what was happening because things happened so quickly, but I had so many questions as to why and how she ended up there by the Suicide Gates.

I also pretty much loved Lela's character for being so determined to help her best friend Nadia get to a place where she belonged, and in the process al
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Ash Wednesday
3.5 STARS
Not that I had a ton of experience but this was the freakiest slumber party I'd ever attended.

I think I came into this book expecting something entirely different from how it turned out to be. Some turned out better but more just left me unsatisfied.

The story starts with Lela and Nadia forging the unlikeliest of friendships: Lela is the school misfit who smokes, does push ups and beats up abusive foster fathers while Nadia is the school's Queen Bee. They meet in the most auspicious m
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Ashley
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sanctum by Sarah Fine - Don't confuse what you want with what you need

BookNook — Young Adult book reviews

Oh my god, you guys!!! I did not expect this book to be so amazing. I bought this book completely on a whim. I never do that. I saw an ad for it on my Kindle screensaver, thought "That's kind of a cool cover," and bought it. Well, Sanctum blew me away.

I think I'm going to burst if I don't mention the romance right away, because it was incredible. I didn't expect a great romance from a paranormal story. Usually when I want a great romance, I look towards contem
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Jessica
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody! Please read this :)
Recommended to Jessica by: Alexa
Oh wow! This was pure awesomeness!

LOVED the concept! I haven't read anything like this before. Great worldbuilding, great characters and a love interest to die for. I couldn't get enough of this story and I'm dying to get my hands on the sequel! Hurry up Sarah, I need more of this! Good stuff!
Ashleyjo
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For paranormal romance/action, this book was 5 bright, twinkling stars!

The plot was engaging, begging each page to be turned to find out the fate of all the characters and delve deeper into the world. No lulls... Every moment is pushing the action, blooming emotional attachments, or overall plot forward.

The world was realistically imaginative, captivating, & yet scary as hell (literally) without being all brimstone and fire. I absolutely love an author that's able to give and show readers
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Penny
I liked it. It was good.
Ails
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jan Bethel, Ira, Jill, Lexie, Erika, Stephanie, everyone!
"My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Keep us safe. Find a way out. Simple."

IT'S BEEN A LOOOONG TIME SINCE I FELT THE RUSH OF ADRENALINE FROM READING A BOOK. I miss it. I need it. I am C-R-A-V-I-N-G for it. Craving for that pumped up feeling and the need to stay up late merely because I can't put it down.

THANK GOD I STUMBLED UPON THIS BOOK.

I'm not going to lie. If it wasn't for 'Angelfall,' I wouldn't have found & read Sanctum. I googled "Books similar to Angelfall on goodreads" (Oh
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Isamlq
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Holy Moly! It’s been ages and ages and ages since a YA PNR’s (UF?) left me feeling this pumped. She’s dark and broken and fancies herself damaged, but is also moving passed that. She’s friends and connections and finally sees something more out there for her. ‘Till she loses her someone and finds herself in this twisted version of not-quite-hell, maybe purgatory.

It’s twisted this place: getting all you want but never being happy with whatever that happens to be! It’s twisted this place with the
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Katerina Kondrenko
2 out of 10

Too retro for my nowdays taste. Too cliched and eye-rolling as well.
Tandie
Six stars. I am in heaven. The book gods have poured sunshine all over my brain. Will review when I regain my senses.
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Where the hell was I when this book was released last year?  Seriously.  The only reason it was even on my radar was because of a blog tour wherein I believe parts of Malachi's journal were revealed.  [I still need to check those out, so don't spoil anything for me.  ;)]  And apparently, Amazon Children's Publishing is touting this as their next big thing for fans of Susan Ee's Angelfall.  As a HUGE fan of that book, I can tell you that Sanctum was just as good as Angelfall.

While Angelfall enter
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Jasprit
4.5 stars

Sanctum was a thrilling I want to gobble you up in one sitting type of book. But lo and behold the time I decided to pick it up, it was as if the world was conspiring against me. It took me five days to finish this book, and by the end of these five days my nails were ruggedly bitten.

Sarah Fine gave us a world full of despair, a world where no one wants to go to by choice, but this is what our MC Lela decides to do. Her best friend Nadia who meant the world to her has taken her life, Le
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Jilly
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Not what I expected at all.

I thought maybe this would be a fantasy journey into a Dante-like hell that a girl goes through to find her friend. Instead, it was a story about depression, suicide, abuse, and overcoming. I was struck by how well the author was able to explore such dark and depressing subjects without depressing the reader. Instead of feeling sad and hopeless by the despair that is so well depicted, I felt encouraged by the overall message of fighting to overcome the past and to keep
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Anna

Anybody familiar with Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy where the dead's soul or afterlife moves along whether in the gates of heaven; the fires of hell; or to wait in purgatory. These are the state where in theory we thought might happen. In Sarah Fine's paranormal fiction series, Guards of the Shadowlands, she created a world like you'd never imagine, where when somebody dies in their own will would be most likely to arrive at the Suicide Gates armed with huge, armored guards, and wandering
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Kristy
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have just died and gone to Malachi heaven.

I needed this book, I have been in a tragic state of book slumpage. This was a nice dose of pick-me-up (yes, even though it's a book about suicide.)


Super Basic synopsis:

Lela is a tough, rough-n-tumble, foster child. Her life has been pretty dreadful, from bouncing around foster homes, to having no friends, to having her step-father do some pretty heinous acts. She reaches her boiling point and tries to end it all, only he will not give her the satisfac
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Lili
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2012
I’m struggling to write a review for this book because I loved it so much. Completely unexpectedly, this is a journey full of hope, darkness, despair, and redemption that’ll make your heart beat ten times faster than usual. Seriously, I may have hyperventilated out of both anxiety and eagerness several times as I read because my eyes couldn’t read the words fast enough.

The world building in this book was one of many things that completely blew my mind. This book essentially takes place in a re-i
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When I'm not writing, I'm psychologizing (really, I even get a paycheck for it). Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.

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Other books in the series

Guards of the Shadowlands (3 books)
  • Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)
  • Chaos (Guards of the Shadowlands, #3)

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“Some people can’t keep fighting. Some people want to escape. Some people are not ready—are not able—to find a way to deal with what’s in front of them. Sometimes there’s no one to help them. Sometimes they don’t know how to ask for help. Sometimes it feels like there’s no choice but to end it. No other way out. And sometimes it’s impossible to see past that.” 81 likes
“Don't confuse what you want and what you need.” 52 likes
More quotes…