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The Sandcastle Empire

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  2,579 ratings  ·  586 reviews
When all hope is gone, how do you survive?

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned he
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Elle (ellexamines)
I'm really sad I hated this book so much when pages 1-100 were SO GOOD. I don't think I've ever gone from loving to hating a book so fast.

The Sandcastle Empire originally pulled me in with - and I'm not trying to joke about this - a completely awesome opening. We begin on a beach where Eden is waiting to execute her escape plan. Shit gets real very fast and Eden encounters Alexa, Hope, and Finnley. Both Eden and Alexa felt like characters with a lot of potential. There was a bit of infodump
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book kept me up all night with a fast-beating heart. It had so many twists, turns, secrets, scares, and romantic moments. I don't want to give anything away, because I think it's best to go into this book blind. If you liked LOST, you'll definitely love this book. I predict that it will be the next big dystopian novel! ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-dystopian, sci-fi
This book is insane. It starts off as an awesome dystopian and first 100 pages were amazing but it quickly changes from there and becomes sci-fi. Now that's not a bad thing at all but it just got so confusing, SO CONFUSING!
I may be the only one who feels like this way but I understood the basis of the story but things just kept changing quickly, so many new characters were introduced and there was so much scientific jargon.
I did enjoy the writing, it was beautiful.I also enjoyed our main chara
The fire pops, hisses. War is like this: consuming, ravenous, feeding and feeding until there’s nothing left to take and all that’s left is ash.

YA dystopians can be pretty hard to resist and the concept for this one intrigued me. It doesn't hurt that it had already gotten optioned for film prior to release, so I figured there must be something special here. And the comparisons to the TV show Lost didn't hurt one bit. I didn't particularly care for the turn the plot takes later in the book an
**2.5-stars rounded up**

I received The Sandcastle Empire in one of my OwlCrate boxes. I loved the cover and the premise sounded promising. Overall, it sadly fell a little flat for me.

I found the dialogue, especially toward the beginning, to be quite childish. The four main girls seemed to use the phrase, "hey guys" every time they spoke to one another; slight exaggeration here but still enough for me to notice and cringe EVERY TIME.

It also dragged in some places and then in others, to not be e
Sarah Elizabeth
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“I have to believe in something.” I dare to meet her eyes. “And I think you do, too. No one runs with that much conviction unless they know what they’re running toward.”

This was a YA dystopian story set during a world war.

The characters in this were okay, and I felt quite sorry for them that they were stuck in a war zone and had had everything taken from them. I did find it quite hard to connec
Anna Priemaza
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I devoured this book and loved every last second of it! From the very first chapter, when Eden stands on a boardwalk near a mine-littered beach, planning to make a break for it and escape the Wolves who stand guard, the story grabbed hold of me and didn't let go until the very end.

The main character, Eden, was the perfect mix of strong/bad-ass and flawed/scarred to make her super loveable, the secondary characters all popped out of the page, and the entire book was an action-packed, non-stop pag
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
As a survival story - 5 stars
As a dystopian/futuristic corporate run society story - 2 stars
As a standalone with a resolved ending - 1 star
As the first part of a series or duo - 3.5 stars

"The enemy wore sheep's clothes for many years before it bared it's fangs and went for blood. Fathers. Brothers. The barista who your daily latte, the guy behind the fish counter at the grocery store, the girl in Sephora who taught you how to line your eyes. All seemingly unconnected, until one day they were
It’s A Game Of Survival With Questionable World-Building

This review will be posted on Happy Indulgence

Apparently this book has been optioned for film, which I believe is a waste of time after finishing it. The Sandcastle Empire unfortunately rubbed me in all the wrong ways, and I wouldn’t really recommend it to readers looking for something with substance. The only thing it has going is the story of survival and each characters’ intense desire to keep living. The non-stop action does a good job
Emily Murphy
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"No one ever prepared me for hope to be so tangled with fear."

And this book is flush with both, in the best possible way.

First of all--the writing. The prose is beautiful. Olson's words shimmer like the lush jungle setting she's created, and the plot slithers, curves, and strikes. I loved the descriptions--gorgeous lines like "trees [are in] all shades of green until shadows stain them black." The main character, Eden, takes this book beyond simply boasting a killer plot--which it does in spades
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
As one summary listed, this book could be described as a cross between The Maze Runner and the TV series "Lost". I would add Lord of the Flies or The 100. Very descriptive writing with a semi-original plot. There is a nice balance of plot twists and compromised characters to keep the story interesting. The love interest/story seemed a bit immature for teenagers; that may be keeping to the dystopian theme and lack of relationship experience. Although I'm accustomed to short chapters in YA novels, ...more
If only the story could have lived up to that beautiful cover.


⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 3.5/5
Main Characters: 3.7/5
Secondary Characters: 3.2/5
The Feels: 3/5
Pacing: 3/5
Addictiveness: 4/5
Theme or Tone: 4/5
Flow (Writing Style): 3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Book Cover: 5+/5
Narration: 5/5
Ending: 3.8/5 Cliffhanger: Nope.
Steam Factor 0-5: 1
Narration: Andi Arndt
Setting: A Mysterious Island
Source: Audiobook (Library)

Total: 3.5/5 STARS - GRADE=B-

⇝My Thoughts⇜

The Sandcastle Emp
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing in this book was incredible!! I'm shook. It was confusing (in a good way), and I was so invested in this story and its characters that I had trouble putting it down!! Highly recommended- it's definitely a new favorite. :)

"The enemy wore sheep's clothes for many years before it bared its fangs and went for blood. Fathers. Brothers. The barista who made your daily latte, the guy behind the fish counter at the grocery store, the girl in Sephora who taught you how to line your eyes. All
Gwen Cole
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-debuts
The writing in this book is just so fantastic and captivating, and along with the amazing imagery, you'll be transported into this world where nobody is safe. An excellent debut to start off the new year, hitting shelves this June! ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


I liked a lot of things about this book, but there was one pretty significant thing that dampened my excitement. But, let's talk positives first!

The Good:

loved the plot! I was constantly kept guessing as to what on earth was going on in this world- and how it could be fixed. I didn't see any of the twists coming (except one or two minor things) and was incredibly eager to k
Anatea Oroz
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It has been so long since I've read a dystopian book, and I have to say, I've been really missing the genre. I always get so excited when I am finding out about the post-apocalyptic world and how the things are, who is in charge and what's there left of the normal world.

The Sandcastle Empire had a pretty slow beginning and only at around 30% did it really pick up in speed. After that, the action was full on. We started finding out what is happening on that island, what is happening in the worl
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-releases
3.5 stars. To round up or to round down... this book is excellent and I'm not disappointed or anything - just feeling kind of meh, after finishing? Strong start, blah end, that kind of thing.

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

When all hope is gone, how do you survive?

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream,
Zenki the Pixie
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I carry my past wherever it fits: tucked in at my back, hanging from my neck, buried deep in my pocket. A tattered yellow book. A heavy ring on its heavy chain. A vial of blood and teeth.

Wow, honestly, I think almost all YA these days are amazing. I might find some small similarities here and there between different works but as an entire piece, each one is unique in itself. The ideas I come to encounter are just endless and the authors keep proving to be worthy artists, original, cr
Chelsies Reading Escape
I won't lie to you the cover did make me hesitate to pick this up. It just doesnt appeal to me but the premise was something that really interested me, especially the deadly island part. The Lost TV Show vibe had me even more excited because I loved that show. I thought the mysteries of the island were thrilling and the technology was interesting. I love the concept of being stranded and needing to figure out how to survive.

Global warming has led to many natural disasters and a lack of clean wat
Carlie Sorosiak
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anything can happen to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.

You know when you pick up a book, you're two pages in, and you can visualize everything? When you immediately know a world like your own skin? That's The Sandcastle Empire. It's a deeply immersive experience, and I can absolutely see why the film rights got snatched up so quickly. Lost comparisons are totally accurate. This book really has everything: suspense, intrigue, futuristic (yet scarily realistic) technology, love, family, bet
Jilly Gagnon
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh my god, this book was CRACK.

Seriously, from the moment I started reading I was addicted to the story. Olson creates a world so vivid, so rich with detail, that it's almost impossible not to be sucked in almost immediately.

This is the kind of book where too many of my favorite moments are tied up in spoilers, but suffice it to say that I devoured the incredibly well-thought-out world, the fascinating, unique characters, and the all-too-plausible plot like a hungry...

...I'd say wolf, but yeah,
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Review to come!

"Your mind is stronger than your circumstances, Eden"

Another book with mixed feelings.
I thing that I have to recognize that this book never slows down a second. It's packed with action and events.
I loved the setting. The "deserted and safe" island that soon will be full of perils. I was so excited when I was reading the first part of how this little group of people arrives there and how they interact with the wild and try so hard to survive considering that what they left behind is even
Trigger warnings: death of a parent, death of a friend, violence, war, blood, a weird amount of hypodermic needles.

This book was...IDEK, to be perfectly honest with you. The first hundred or so pages? Was super compelling. It was a fascinating world, I liked the protagonist, and the entire concept was intriguing.

And then it just got...weird? There was some bizarro Hunger Games style shit going on, where the characters were traipsing through a jungle full of booby traps and murderous insects an
In Kayla Olson's cutthroat and dangerous new world, she provides a realistic portrayal of what could happen if global warming continues on its current path. The oceans have risen, eating land masses as dangerous water is wont to do, giving survivors very few options of where to live. Add to that, the divide between the privileged and underprivileged has reached a dangerous apex, and the poor have created a war, one that they're currently winning. Anyone viewed as upperclass prior to the Revoluti ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Survivor on steroids.

Taken from their homes and taken to the island guarded by the wovles until one day, today it had to be today Eden wouldnt have another chance like this... Eden and three others made it to the boat and set off to find the mysterious island an island that Edens dad talked about in the only thing Eden has to call her own. A survival book, filled with her dads notes and maps.
Will they make it to the mysterious island or will the ocean swallow them up or will they push one anot
Lola Sharp
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Y'all, put this book on your Must Have list, because this book is special!! The plot is exciting & fast paced, the stakes high, and yet, on a prose level, the writing is GORGEOUS. Truly beautiful writing. I'm sincere when I say I loved this ms and Kayla is very talented and I expect Big Things in her future. ...more
A.V. Geiger
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some books are worth reading because of gorgeous writing. Some because of a brilliantly original plot. Some because they challenge us to think critically about the world we live in... And then every once in a while, a book comes along that has all three of these rare qualities in equal measure. The Sandcastle Empire is one of those books. This one is special, folks. You don't want to miss it. ...more
What a surprising book! I really enjoyed it and I'm hoping there's more to the story!
also, ALSO you should TOTALLY add this book because the writing is AMAZING and the story is BRILLIANT and i'm really excited for everyone to read this okay.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I downloaded this book when it first came out last July and I didn't end up reading it until now, I wasn't impressed a lot with this book, it was an okay read but I wasn't 100% encaptured with the story. ...more
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Kayla Olson lives in Texas, and can usually be found in near proximity to black coffee, the darkest chocolate, Scrivener, and an army of Sharpie highlighters.

Latest book news:
THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE was recently optioned for film by Paramount, with Leonardo DiCaprio/Appian Way producing.

Internationally, THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE is slated to hit shelves in Italy, France, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Brazil

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“Survival is fighting, every single day, to climb out of the ruins and into the unknown, come what may.
We are all as strong as we have to be.”
“I imagine the Wolves are sandcastles, easily crushed and easily washed away. I imagine there will be a day when they are nothing but a memory.” 4 likes
More quotes…