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Sanctuary #1


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Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

480 pages, Hardcover

First published July 24, 2018

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Caryn Lix

4 books161 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 417 reviews
October 8, 2022
Heroes the TV show, meets Alien the movie with teenage Ripley as the Cheerleader!

I loved the book and can’t wait for the next one. The story revolves around Kenzie who is a young guard on the space station prison called Sanctuary. It is a high security prison for young offenders who are “anomalies”, meaning they were born with abilities and have used them to commit crimes. Her mother is the highest authority at the prison a and her father works there as well. Though the main security is AI, so only a handful of humans are needed and the prisoners have chips implanted to stop them from using their abilities.

The prison is run by a corporation called Omnistellar, Kenzie and her family have been corporate citizens all of her life and are dedicated to this corporation. Her Mother has taught her how awful life is for Government citizens and how they are the dregs of humanity. Most of the prisoners come from that group.

Kenzie guards via the control center using the computer and cameras since she is under 18, but after a training exercise she decides to go down into the prison to verify that two of the prisoners are actually in their cells. Because she thinks the exercise wasn’t normal. She meets sees and meets the prisoners for the first time. Of course the prisoners have no love for the guards or Omnistellar.

The following day a set of events take place that change everything and she ends up with the prisoners as a hostage while someone or something is stalking everyone in the prison. She finds that everything she thought she knew about herself, her family and the Corporation she had trusted all her life may not be what she thought. She also begins to trust and fall for Cage, the de-facto leader of the prisoners.

I saw one review before reading the book which talked about how she was happy that both Kenzie and Cage mentioned the fact that they should possibly not get involved because their feelings might not be real and just might be based on being in such an intense situation together. While that is true, I don’t see why people always say that. I think that you can tell if you are attracted to each other no matter the situation or experience. Also being together in a life or death situation foe 24-48 hours straight, you would probably get to know a person and their character better than dating them for a year. Just my thoughts on the matter.

I typically am not a big sci-fi fan, but this book really captured and kept my interest. I didn’t mind the expense at all and will happily pay for the next books as well.

Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,550 followers
July 8, 2018
Sanctuary by Caryn Lix is a young adult science fiction fantasy that also crosses over into the land of horror. The story centers around teenage Kenzie who has been raised in a world controlled by corporations and followed in her parents footsteps training to work for Omnistellar. Just having been made a junior guard Kenzie is working under her mother’s command on a space station known as Sanctuary.

Sanctuary is run by a powerful AI and built in order to become a prison for young teenagers with superpowers that were deemed too dangerous to stay on Earth. When what seems to be a normal drill for the guards takes place Kenzie gets the feeling there is more to the simulation this time but it isn’t until after her father leaves for Earth with a few of the other guards that it becomes clear the prisoners have found a way out of their cells but superhuman teens are the least of the worries on Sanctuary.

Alright, folks that normally follow my reviews are probably getting whiplash seeing a 5 star rating on an almost 500 page book, normally they would see me complaining about the pacing and the length being too much. Thankfully though Sanctuary is one of those rare gems that used every bit of the page count and I would have been ecstatic for more.

The world that Caryn Lix has built is just complex enough to make the story extremely interesting but she built it by peppering the story with details over the course of the book so it never bogged down the action. I was completely engaged in this one from the very beginning and impressed with the pace of the book all throughout.

Along with the wonderful world building the characters all seemed to be well fleshed out along the way. As more and more happens in the story I really felt myself caring about what was to come their way and on the edge of my seat waiting to see how it would turn out with little twists coming all throughout. In the end I found this one to be quite unique and well written and would definitely recommend checking it out!

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
514 reviews367 followers
June 23, 2019
"We might be foolish. We even be going to our deaths. But at least we were doing it together."

Sanctuary was such a wild ride and I loved every minute of it. Space Prison? Check! Superhuman child criminals? Check! Conspiracy, Corruption and cool dystopian setting? You got it babe! What about a terrifying unknown presence stalking the people on the station? Don't worry this book has you there too!

I've been really down for more and more sci-fi lately and this had a mix of dystopian with it (which is always good times in my eyes), so I was fairly confident going in that this was going to be my kind of book. I am happy to report - I was right on the money with this one.

We start off on some futuristic prison that is set in space - the reason being that they have some of the most dangerous criminal super powered kids on the station and they don't want them anywhere near Earth - that's pretty damn intense! I loved the setting - it felt very isolated and I could almost imagine how sterile most of it would be and just gave me this overall unfriendly feeling. We are introduced to our protagonist Kenzie very early on and learn that she is one of the younger guards on the ship, that happens to be run by both her parents. The story does as good job at taking the time to let us get to know the character, the setting and the general politics of the situation. I thought that was really important because it could have gotten confusing really fast once things really took off. I had zero problem following the story because Lix took that time at the start.

Things get moving when there is a prison break-out attempt and Kenzie is taken hostage by the kids. Things start to get crazy from there on out and it's a very fast ride after that. One thing I freaking loved is that this book seemed like we were going to hit the dreaded insta-love category almost immediately - We really don't! Yes, two teens are attracted to each other and clinging to each other but it's mentioned more than once that they are likely having intense feelings for each other because of the life and death situation they are being put under and they acknowledge that they don't have a clue who the other one really is and you will not hear any undying love speeches in this one. It felt much more authentic this way.

I'm wary to say too much about this story because I feel like you should read it and let it unfold in all it's fun glory. I should also say that if you are someone who is really hesitant about the sci-fi genre, don't be. This book is VERY accessible. There is no crazy jargon - you won't be lost. It's straight forward in that sense. It would be great for people who don't have an extensive background in reading sci-books. I ate it right up.

Overall, I would highly recommend picking this one up and the author is Canadian (that always makes me happy to see). The book is intense, rather than straight up scary, so if that is something that worries you then this one should be just fine. It's just a really good, fast-paced time.

Thank you to Simon Pulse for sending me an arc for my honest review.
Profile Image for Karlita | Tale Out Loud.
109 reviews79 followers
April 16, 2019
Actual rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

I decided to go blind on this knowing as little as reading the book’s overview. The first few chapters were a bit tedious but undeniably a sleeper for all the next scenes to come. So I’m not surprise that it’s a dormant black hole that sucked me in without meaning to stop because I could exactly imagine the goriness of every scene straight from an alien movie—not one from E.T but the legit ALIEN film series where badass Ellen Ripley fights off deadly-scary creatures while on space.

It all started with a routine drill where Kenzie is a junior guard on Sanctuary, a prison cell for superpowered criminal teens. With her Dad scheduled to leave for a training exercise on Earth with Jonathan and Noah, Kenzie, Rita and her Mom which also happened to be the Commander, were the only ones left to uphold Sanctuary’s security.

However, when a merchant ship distress call turned into something horrifying, while a prison break was in the making, the tension and danger were imminent not only to the space station itself but to everyone who’s on Earth. This automatically sets the story in motion and into a fast rolling action.

In the midst of fighting the unknown, whether they were a superpowered anomaly or a citizen living by the rules set by the Omnistellar Concept, Kenzie, Cage and the rest found an ally on each other for them to survive.

Kenzie’s character had a major shift, which was pretty obvious the way she empathized with the other prisoners. From being a loyal Omnistellar guard bound by rules, regulations, and protocols, she knew deep down that there’s an unfairness in the situation. As the story went on, I love how she developed a sense of independence and made a stand on her own decisions. She may not have a superpower like the other anomalies who run like the Flash or anything like pyro kinetic but her bravery is what makes her a badass character.

That same goes with Rune who was projected as calm and gentle but her shrewdness and ability were what brought their entire sector into safety for the majority of the time. And I couldn’t say less with Mia. She may act tough in front of everybody but she cares a lot in her own way.

I also love the wonderfully diverse cast of characters that presented the message of unity fighting for a single goal and realized that in times of difficult situations, whatever status they hold in the society, they're actually all but the same.

The injustices between corporate citizenship and government citizenship also didn't go unnoticed which is parallel to what is currently happening right now. 

Though there were questions that didn’t get answers in the end, which I think an author’s intention to put some sort of open-ended drama that sway readers and have that longing to know what will happen next to Kenzie and Cage; are they going to explore-like Star Trek wandering into the galaxy? I don’t know what to expect yet but I’m certainly excited for a second book.

Sanctuary is an eerie, thrilling and action-packed story that equally leveled the suspense and intensity of all sci-fi movies about aliens I have ever watched. If you are in for a ride and love to take on an adventure, I recommend you read this book and board the ship so you won’t miss the fun I had in space.

***Thank you to NetGalley, Simon Pulse, Fantastic Flying Book Club and Caryn Lix for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Tale Out Loud
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,221 reviews3,082 followers
January 22, 2022
I've just realised that even though this is one of my favourite books, I've never gotten around to reviewing it. The final book of the trilogy comes out in a couple of months so now's as good a time as any!

I actually clearly remember the fact that I was dying to read this book two years ago before it even came out. I wasn't a proper book blogger then, so I had no hope in hell for an ARC. Instead I obsessively reread over and over again a six-chapter sampler which the publisher had released. I had a feeling this was going to be a good book.

And I was right! Doesn't often happen.

Kenzie, our heroine, lives on Sanctuary, a floating spaceship which doubles as a prison for criminal paranormal teenagers. Her mother is the prison's chief controller. All her life she's been waiting to grow up so that she can work for Omnistellar, the inter-space corporation which built Sanctuary. When she eventually encounters some of the teen delinquents in the prison, it only strengthens her belief that they really need to be locked up.

But then - one night - the tables turn. Now it's Kenzie who's locked up, and the lunatics are running the asylum. She's trapped with only the dubious protection of Cage, the charming ringleader, standing between her and all the criminals who want to take out their frustrations on her.

You'd think Kenzie has enough problems to deal with already. AND THEN, because things aren't bad enough for her, Sanctuary is invaded by murderous aliens. What follows is a spine-tingling mix of sci-fi lightly touched with horror and liberal dashes of romance.

Really, it's pretty great. I LOVE how Lix does diversity without slamming it down our throats. Cage is Chinese, one minor character is Muslim complete with a hijab, and we also have Russian, Irish, and I believe at one point a Native American character too. But at no time is this forced down our throats. Great book, and I managed to get the hardback copy for an absolute steal, too.

[Blog] - [Bookstagram]

Profile Image for Lauren (The Novel Lush).
159 reviews474 followers
July 2, 2018
2.5 ish stars.

I tried and tried, but I just could not get into this book. It seemed that every page, I stumbled over another common YA trope. I also could not connect with Kenzie at all. There were several times where she pat herself on the back for being smarter or better than others, or hinted that she had more to prove and they were jealous of her, then seconds later she did something incredibly stupid.

I also kind of found her narrative to be a bit clunky in that she walked us through every single one of her thoughts, spelled out, in case we didn't grasp her meaning. For instance when she was referring to herself walking through the prison and she mentioned something to the affect of: "But a teenage girl walking through the halls (me) would be noticed".

The blind faith in 'The Corporation' was also, I felt, a bit of a stretch. As a guard of supposedly super dangerous criminals, the highest ranking official ignored possible issues because they should 'have faith in the corporation'. In that kind of job taking *anything* for granted could cost someone their life, so it annoyed me a bit.

The vernacular also got a bit corny to me at times, but I didn't take that into account in my star rating because it's a YA book, and that could be the reasoning for it? Not sure, but several cliche statements were made, such as "xyz could be the end of the world as we know it." It felt very William Shatner.

The romance was very, very "Insta" and the second half of the book in and of itself seemed like it should have been a second book? The entire shift of the story changed, but in a way that felt kind of disjointed, like moving from season 1 to season 2 or book 1 to book 2, not the same story.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this book very much unfortunately, though I wanted to because SciFi is one of my favorites.
Profile Image for Tara.
8 reviews
August 5, 2018
Normally I don't write reviews and such for books, I just rate them on Goodreads so I can have better recommendations and such.

But when I looked at the reviews of this book, and noticed they were all ranked highly, and then noticed most of them were ranked highly because they were sent arcs of the book, I decided I had to step in and warn others off of reading this book.

The writing was pretty average. I have nothing against it, other than the fact that it would seem to skip details sometimes, and the author would forget she never wrote a sentence here or there, and just move on as if she had. But it only happened a few times, so it was something I could get over.

What I can't get over?

The extraordinarily cliche storyline, horrible pace of the book, and the two-dimensional characters.

The plot isn't anything I haven't heard before, but what bothered me more were the decisions the author thought was okay for the main character, Kenzie, to make.

***Spoilers below***
Take this. Kenzie, who's spent her entire life thinking of these prisoners that she guards and prevents from escaping as the worst criminals. She thinks of them more as animals than humans, and her first run-in with them only proved that to her. She devotes her entire life to Omnistellar Concepts, always believed and understood their laws, and gets constantly told that her life was as good and luxurious as it was because Omnistellar took care of them.

As a result, she's extraordinarily loyal to them.
So you'd think.

Instead, when she first gets captured by these prisoners, she takes their word as truth. When they tell her Omnistellar was horrible to them, she maybe denies it for... an hour? Less?

Did I mention most of this book took place in less than 24 hours? Keep that in mind. It's important.

After only an hour (potentially less than that), she begins to doubt Omnistellar, which she'd had faith in her ENTIRE LIFE. I don't know about you, but if I were following something and believed in something and understood something for as long as she did, it would've taken me way longer than an hour to begin to doubt it; especially when I found this something to be justified time after time after time. The author went through so much to make it seem like Kenzie really thought Omnistellar was good and justified, but it all went to ashes in the span of just a few moments. Oh, also, it would've taken me way longer to doubt it simply because the people who were trying to convince me to doubt it were the very people who were wronged by it, the very people who I would've grown up thinking as animals and ruthless and cruel and DECEIVING. The people who had a bias against it, and have every reason to make me doubt it. AKA THE WRONG PEOPLE TO TAKE ANY WORD FROM.

But, nah. She doesn't even think any of it's an act (and of course it's not, cause an evil corporation isn't exactly new to anyone), and she proves to everyone that her loyalty is about as easy to sway as a flag in the wind.

The romance between her and Hu started way too quickly, and continued in such an unrealistic and somewhat awkward way. It was forced. Kenzie was holding hands with the leader of the prisoner's escape in less than twenty four hours. She was attached to him, wouldn't let him walk into danger or anything, all in less than twenty four hours.

Shakespeare, anyone?

I don't know about you, but if I were Kenzie, I would gladly let Hu walk into danger. I would gladly let every prisoner die, simply because they captured me, and I would've been brainwashed into thinking they were all cruel, despite what any of them say. You know, cause I can't trust them and all.

Brainwashing doesn't come undone in less than a day, okay? I'm sorry, it just doesn't.

Rune, Hu's twin, was about as unrealistic as the rest of them. What kind of person is held in a cell for 5 years and then befriends the prison guard, Kenzie, the moment they meet? Who. does. that.

There was a moment towards the beginning of the book and Kenzie's capture, in which she was expected to sit by and watch as the prisoners all cut into themselves and remove their chips, which suppress their superpower abilities. Obviously, this hurt the prisoners. So how does Kenzie react? Oh, first she clutches Rune's hand (whom she'd just met only minutes earlier and is an enemy of, of course), in support, and closes her eyes, not wanting to watch these prisoners--her sworn enemies for her entire life--hurt themselves in front of her. Then she does what any person would do in her situation. You know, she helps them remove the chips from their arms. Duh. Who wouldn't help their enemies become stronger and enhance their chances of escaping the prison? I, obviously, would. Obviously.

Whaaaaa? You mean you WOULDN'T? What a normal person. Pft. Kenzie, unlike you, is very trustworthy and finds the best in everyone, even her enemies. Wait, that's a bit of lie, sorry. She's very quick to find the worst of the corporation that basically gave her life. She's really grateful that way. Trust.

This book is really cringe-y. Hu's supposed to be that classic charismatic leader, that smirking character who finds everything amusing, but the author just made him a bit of everything, and nothing at the same time. Sometimes he's that arrogant character, other times he's that really sympathetic and sweet character, other times he's that self-blaming character, and then he's that idiotic character that falls in love with his enemy in the span of only a couple hours.

Sweet, isn't it?

I'm not saying every character must only be one, but to be a little bit of everything doesn't really make a character anything. Hu's just a bunch of fragmented characters placed into one, and everything he does feels forced. Hu's not his own character, he's the author's puppet, and it's easy to see that.

Furthermore, it seems the author falls into the trap of describing, but not showing. Often times, she'll describe how scared the main character is, but then Kenzie will act in a somewhat normal way. She'll calm herself down way too quickly, she'll react in a reasonable way, as opposed to being panic-driven at certain points.

And don't even get me started on the mom. I don't know what kind of mother would choose to kill her daughter just to prove her devotion to a corporation. If it were my mom, I know she'd gladly become a criminal to save me--she wouldn't even hesitate. And Kenzie's mom wasn't some obnoxious, spoiled person who couldn't live without luxury. She was a normal human being, a little strict, but she wasn't vain. So why wouldn't she throw protocol out the window for her only child? For her daughter? Why would she willingly send her off to death? If it only meant living life as a criminal and on the run, but her daughter would be ALIVE, why wouldn't she do that?

No one likes a slow-paced book, and that's understandable. But a book that's too fast-paced is much, much worse. At least with a slow-paced book, it pays off a little at the end. When a book moves too quickly, nothing that happens makes the reader feel good or victorious at all. This book kept jumping to the next thing so quickly that it was hard to truly connect to and understand the main character. It was hard to let her feelings (that were more described than shown), sink in before she began feeling a different way. In fact, I didn't connect to anything in the story, because everything was forced to happen so quickly (24 hours, people).

For some reason, this book reminded me of The Host by Stephanie Meyer. And though I hated Twilight (couldn't even finish it), The Host was much better, and much more enjoyable than both Twilight and Sanctuary. I'd recommend that instead of this. I wouldn't waste your time on this.
Profile Image for Melissa.
595 reviews820 followers
August 7, 2018
This book is so good!! I couldn’t put it down. Can’t believe it’s a debut😱

It’s an action-packed SF with a pinch of horror set in space, and it reads like an intense action movie: breathlessly. Can’t wait to read book 2! 🤗

Thanks to the publisher for my e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
602 reviews811 followers
July 8, 2018
4 stars

This was such an awesome read!

I mean, first off, conceptually it's such a great idea. Y'know I have a fondness for prison guards switching to the other side, as well as sci-fi, teens with mysterious superpowers, space, mysterious aliens, corporations, and all sorts of other science fictiony awesomeness.

And this reads like such an epic alien horror novel, in a non-tacky way! It's not like that low budget alien horror movie with the laughable effects, but the super big expensive one that really makes you feel like you're gonna be jumped by an alien any minute.

I loved the atmosphere, and it's a really unique one that I haven't really seen in YA before. I mean, alien horror just sounds totally amazing, doesn't it? I was definitely on my toes for a lot of this and may or may not have glanced behind my shoulder once or twice (okay fine, multiple times).

And it was all so intense and the action scenes are the greatest! I was extremely thrilled while reading, and now I know that if I could have only one thing from Caryn Lix, it'd be her stellar action scenes! They are thrilling and engaging and not at all stunted or awkward sounding. They flow seamlessly and it's like all this action is happening and you're right there with the characters as an alien attacks you! So fun! (Who doesn't love being attacked by aliens?)

I just had so much fun reading those parts, especially as the book got more and more intense and mysterious as it neared the end. I loved the pacing of the second half of the book, but I do think that the first half dragged a little too much for me. But despite it seeming lengthy in page count, I do need to add that I gobbled this up anyways and it didn't really slow my reading experience.

It felt like Lix was dawdling a bit in the initial couple hundred of pages as she set everything up, and although I did love reading about Kenzie's loyalty to the corporation, I think it was incorporated enough in the second half of the novel's narrative enough that her loyalty would be established without the first half being so long.

It's kind of like this novel is two pieces--establishing Kenzie's corporate loyalties and setting this up, and then fighting aliens. I wanted these pieces to flow a little more smoothly together, which could have happened through condensing the first a bit.

The corporation theme is super cool and the only thing I wish was different is if it was maintained as a theme more strongly throughout the second half too. It ends up being used more as a motivator rather than something the characters actually want to change and fight against, and in this book it was like I was holding my breath, waiting for the corporation fightback that didn't happen because aliens became an (unfortunate) thing.

My rating would have been a half star or two lower if I didn't get confirmation from the author that there was going to be a sequel. There's a lot of themes that I felt were left not fully explored and unresolved and I would not have been satisfied with this book if it was a standalone. So rest assured that there will be a book 2 next summer.

Which brings me to my (new) analysis of this book as the first of two--great job. Really great job of setting up the themes to be closed in book 2. (My reaction would be completely different if this was a standalone.) I definitely hope the characters will revisit corporatism, as well as some other themes in the novel like...

The aliens. How cool are these aliens? I mean, we don't know that much about them still, but what we do know is really interesting and I love how Lix set them up in the scope of the whole universe. And they're a vicious thing to fight against, which makes it really interesting.

These aren't really your "Let's contemplate if they're friendly aliens!" type aliens, but I don't really mind it. Maybe I'm in a warmongering mood (y'know, they did kill and kidnap a bunch of people from the start), but this type of alien murder touches in with my ruthless side.

And although the alien plotline is temporarily fixed for now, I feel like there's a lot in store for the teens still, and there's still a bunch of mysteries behind the aliens. So--cool beans, right? I hope we see more of that in book 2.

I have to admit, but I didn't really read this for the characters. I read this for the corporations and alien fights and larger scope of the picture that's more commonly found in adult sci-fi, so although the characters were fine and not irritating, I don't really have much to say about them. Kenzie narrated the story well and the romance wasn't really that invasive so I didn't end up minding the attempts at character development. Not the book's strong suit, but nothing terrible.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Sanctuary for all of the really exciting action scenes and badass alien fights. I'm really excited for Lix to begin exploring some of the more subtle and character based themes in book 2, and will definitely be reading the sequel next year!

If you love the sound of alien horror novels or something with fierce action scenes, then I definitely recommend you check out Sanctuary!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Vicky Who Reads
Profile Image for Michelle.
518 reviews49 followers
July 7, 2018
Book review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress...

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the free ARC copy of this book! I was so excited to receive an ARC of this book that I couldn’t wait to begin reading it.

This book was awesome. It pulled me in from the very beginning and kept my interest piqued throughout the entire book. I read through it in just over a day, and would have read it in one sitting if I didn’t have a few things going on. Seriously get this book, it was amazing! I loved it and devoured it, and I found that the pages were turning themselves.

This book follows the main character, Kenzie, a prison guard in training aboard the Sanctuary – a prison in space that houses super-powered and dangerous teenage criminals. Kenzie lives aboard this space prison, with her mom and dad and other prison workers, and it is up to them to make sure the prisoners do not escape and to protect people on earth from the dangerous prisoners.

On the Sanctuary there are 5 prison levels, that houses the criminals on each level. One day the Sanctuary is attacked by mysterious creatures, and Kenzie becomes trapped on one of the prison’s main floors that houses the criminals. The criminals somehow manage to escape their cells and hold Kenzie hostage. She is terrified. Surely her Commanding Officer, which also is her mother, will come to her rescue? However, Kenzie soon learns that her mother will stop at nothing to follow policy of the Sanctuary, and that is to protect earth at all costs, even if it means sacrificing her own daughter!

What are these mysterious creatures that have attacked the Sanctuary and what is it that they want? What will the dangerous, super-powered criminals do with Kenzie now that they have her as a hostage? Will Kenzie escape?

Without giving too much away this book was amazing. I enjoyed reading this and it was a pleasure to connect with the main characters in the story.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,527 reviews209 followers
July 21, 2021
All this needs is some queer characters.

All Kenzie has known is she's lucky to be a corporate citizen. Omnistellar Concepts is the most powerful corporation in the galaxy, and Kenzie knows that becoming one of their elite guards on their space prison, Sanctuary, is her best chance at securing a stable future. But Sanctuary is home to superpowered teens deemed too dangerous for Earth. During a routine drill, Kenzie is taken hostage by the prisoners. When her mother refuses to negotiate and sticks to Omnistellar protocol over everything, Kenzie doesn't know who she can trust anymore.

Sanctuary proves why sci-fi is the best. This book had it all for me: misfit crew, plot that kept me guessing, a sense of danger, and secrets. From the moment Kenzie was captured by the prisoners I was hooked. I could not wait to see what would happen and where the book would go. I definitely expected a ton of hostage-negotiation scenes, but there was maybe like 1-2 of those and that's it.

I really loved Kenzie. She was easy to relate to and seeing her go from a corporate rule lover to someone in a more gray area was so fascinating. She has to face several hard truths very quickly and in a short time. I hope we see more from her character in the sequels.

The side characters were so easy to love, especially Cage. There was just something about him that I loved so much. He is in charge but also very soft and that's what I love in male leads. Also his relationship with his sister was so precious, I love these twins!

Pick this up and be shook like I am!

Rep: Cast of teenagers with various anomaly abilities, Japanese male love interest, Japanese female side character, Russian side character, Irish side character, besides MC all characters were imprisoned.

CWs: Abandonment, blood, confinement (to prison cell/small vents/space station), colonization by alien species, death, death of parent, forced imprisonment, grief, gun violence, kidnapping/threatening and faking use of MC as a hostage, medical content (applying stitches, cutting chips out of arms), murder, violence, xenophobia (as prejudice against anyone with a type of anomaly power).
Profile Image for Jessi (Novel Heartbeat).
1,046 reviews612 followers
August 27, 2018


Fall down seven times. Get up eight.

Holy crap, this book was awesome!! To be honest I didn't know what to expect going in - I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not, and after seeing it pitched as compared to the Darkest Minds, I was skeptical. Surprisingly, I was blown away!!

I wasn't too sure in the beginning, though - I wasn't a huge fan of the writing for some reason that I couldn't quite put my finger on. But the premise was super intriguing - a prison for teens with superpowers?! It had a very X-Men feel to it and I wanted to know more. However, I didn't get super hooked until THINGS started happening. And let me tell you, it was SO CREEPY!! I loved it so much! When the breach happened it had an amazingly disturbing Alien feel to it, and I was HOOKED! After that I was 100% engrossed in this book. There were certain scenes where I was all

and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! I had to stop 100 pages from the end because um, sleep, and it killed me a little bit. This book was hella intense! Some of the scenes were super freaky and bone chilling and I was totally white knuckling it, you guys. It was give-you-goosebumps eerie!! Fair warning, though: This book is gory. Delightfully so (to me, heh).

I really liked the characters! I loved Rune and Alexei, and even stabby Mia (um, okay maybe her most of all). And I was surprised by how much I connected to Kenzie. She was a good blend of weakness and strength - she was a badass, but had her moments where she kind of broke down; but given the circumstances it was pretty realistic! I love that she stuck to her guns and always tried to do what was right against all odds. She was fierce and resilient! I loved Cage, too! He was steadfast and a great match for Kenzie.

Oh and did I mention there was some great diversity in the main cast? Rune and Cage were Chinese, Alexei was Russian, and Mia was Irish! There were some POC minor characters too!

I don't want to say much else without spoilers because I don't want to ruin anything!

This book was so cinematic! I had no problem picturing everything in my head, and it was all so convincing and vivid. Kudos to Lix for bringing the world of Sanctuary to life! It felt like a blend of Alien and Gemina with a pinch of the Flash (the show) and Contagion. Highly recommend!

This review was originally posted on Novel Heartbeat. To see a breakdown of my assessment, please visit the full review here.
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
642 reviews301 followers
May 15, 2020
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library
This literally feels like Twilight AU fanfiction, albeit one that is a hundred times better than the other famous Twilight AU fanfiction. Even pointing out that abomination makes me feel dirty, like I am sullying this review, since this particular Twilight-esque book was vastly superior in every way, unless you're into rape fantasies; and in that case, I'm not kink-shaming, but there's nothing of that sort here on this blog or in this book, so get out.

The similarities between this book's characters and Twilight characters were so striking I actually went in search of someone, anywhere, saying this originally was a Twilight AU fanfiction. Alas, I did not find any evidence to support my theory, but I present my own first hand evidence with the main characters of this book:

This book is about supernatural criminals on board a prison space station, and the main character, a non-supernatural teen guard, who falls into their coup.

Cage = Edward, in love with the dumb human but fighting it because reasons, and gifted with super speed.
Rue = Alice, Edward's nice sister who immediately befriends the dumb human.
Mia = Rosalie, mean girl.
Alexi = Emmett, the big tough guy in love with the mean girl.
Kenzie = Bella, the dumb human among all these super powered teens.
Kenzi's parents are separating and Bella's parents are divorced.

So as you can see, the coincidence is remarkable.

But luckily, that's where the similarities end, because unlike Twilight, Sanctuary is tightly plotted with excellent characterisation, a believable, respectful developing teen romance, a hefty dose of thrills, and actual antagonists who don't just show up at the end with weird motivation because someone pointed out to the author that there was no bad guy to get eh damsel in distress.

Not to mention Kenzie demonstrates over and over again her intelligence, determination, and sheer willpower to overcome her obstacles. She's not exactly going to collapse in a forest because the boy she likes says he's leaving her.

Sanctuary was a really great book that kept my attention and ramped up the excitement and engagement all the way through. I was pleased to notice that the attraction between Kenzie and Cage, although physical at first, really developed organically as they continued to risk their lives for each other, and over the course of their adventure, grew to respect and like each other. It certainly wasn't instalove, though I could tell Cage was going to be the romantic interest because of the way his introduction was written with particular detail on his attractiveness, as seems to be the complete norm for YA. No surprises there! But Kenzie and Cage were way too busy trying to save everyone to really spend too long on romance, which I also liked, because priorities.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Sanctuary and definitely recommend it as a very solid YA sci-fi. It's not only ridiculously good for a debut, but just ridiculously good.
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
472 reviews58 followers
January 31, 2021
Overall Rating : B-

"Fall down seven times, get up eight."

This book was......alright. Savage aliens in space isn't a new thing, but the plot twisted and turned enough to make it unique. And, of course, there always has to be an all-powerful corporation with evil intentions(why is that on par with sci-fi? That makes me wary of the future to be honest)

The characters definitely needed some fine-tuning. I almost wish this was in the POV of the prisoners since their motives were more driven than anything else. Kenzie was so bland it was boring every time she had some sort of internal crisis about "what would Omnistellar would think of her", and "I am a decent human being". So predictable. That Cage though.......he be alright with me ;)

This book also ended on a very uncertain future for our survivors and, of course, I'm going to have to read the other books to see what the hell is going to happen next. Hopefully Kenzie becomes a more interesting person than she is now.
Profile Image for Empress Reece (Hooked on Books).
915 reviews78 followers
January 27, 2019
10* Fave! This was soooo good! I'm absolutely dying to read the next book to find out where they're going to take this big ass alien ship. I really need to quit reading books until the whole series is released because I don't have the patience to wait and I forget everything that happened in the first books.

Profile Image for Bright Star.
418 reviews126 followers
December 3, 2018
DNF 35%

Oh gosh, this book was so boring! I almost fell asleep. The main character was super annoying and I couldn't stand her. She was so repetitive with her tedious interior monologues that I would have killed her on the spot.
Profile Image for Rian *fire and books*.
525 reviews149 followers
September 9, 2020
Really good start to a series. A bit juvenile in the writing/plot but completely forgivable. A lovely found family element with a ~twinge~ of insta love (BOO!).

That said, I think my one genuine complaint would have been to tighten the novel more so it felt more suspenseful.

Would highly recommend it for the sci-fi, first contact with aliens, powered people, corporations controlling its citizens, found family, and a host of other reasons. I’m excited for books 2 & 3 for sure.
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
June 18, 2018
"Where did my loyalties to the company end and my loyalties to humanity begin? Every nugget of truth I gave them about myself was against company regulations, but if there was a chance I could help, I had to take it."

Quick notes before review:

- I separate this book into two acts:
Act One: Corporatism
Act Two: Alien Entity
- Something with survival stories isn't quite clicking with me these days, because Act Two was basically a bunch of action with survival in mind against an unknown alien force.
- The thing about large amounts of action (which is definitely fun and exciting) is that it sacrifices relationship exploration, characterization, and world/story-building to make up for everything else that's going on. Because of this, I think certain interesting aspects of the story weren't drawn to their fullest potential.
- But in all seriousness, most of the characters introduced did not have such distinct personalities, and even those came out as weak at times. I really couldn't get myself to care about them.
- The corporatism could have been explored more fully for me. Yes, the company is bad. But where is this rooted from? How did they develop in this future? How can the characters combat this? This aspect of the story is thrown away in the second half of the book when the alien variable is added.
- Main romance is quick-paced and insta-attraction. The good news is that both characters know and acknowledge this fast progression. I thought it was pretty enjoyable.
- Very fast-paced! Never a dull moment.
- Kids with superpowers are trapped in a space facility with aliens. Exciting, right?
- BUT, the superpowers weren't even used that often against the aliens, with the kids being more in favor of guns and technology in regards to actual combat (versus defensive abilities like invisibility). So for me, this wasn't as particularly exciting as I expected.
- I do still think action-orientated readers will enjoy this.
- Personally, my qualm with survival stories is that when trying to stay live is the most immediate conflict, this gives very little to what readers are reaching for. Am I continuing this book to see kids end the hegemony of companies on planets? Kill all the aliens? Now that the mc realizes Omnistellar is bad, what is she going to do?
- Well-written internal struggle between the loyalties of Omnistellar that Kenzie grew up with and newfound knowledge that the escaped prisoners of Sanctuary present to her.
- Content Warning: explicit violence

Made aesthetics over hereee: https://twitter.com/aila_1woaa/status...
Profile Image for Patty Smith.
219 reviews74 followers
August 16, 2022
Thank you to Netgalley, Simon Pulse and Caryn Lix for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Rating 4.5 stars.

Okay, so I was soooo into this book that I didn’t notice I was reaching the end. And there had better be a sequel because I had no idea the book was ending. I mean, come on, give a girl a head’s up! I literally thought I was missing chapters. I thought, hmmm I have an ARC where the author actually forgot to include the ending. But nope, that’s the ending I’m stuck with until Caryn Lix decides to write another book.

I knew it was great from the first sentence, first page, first chapter. I was reading something else when I received the ARC and I was so excited I would read a sentence here or there, a paragraph if I was lucky and then I would get pulled away. But it stuck with me and I couldn’t wait until I could just sink my teeth into it.

Here we have Kenzie, an Omnistellar company girl who tows the line. She is part of a team that includes both her parents and a small number of guards that protect the safety of a prison that houses humans with extra special powers. Not just any humans, but this prison is full of kids. Aliens visited Earth and when they left certain people were left with special powers. For those who abused their powers they were sent to a prison housed on a planet. Adults on one prison planet and kids on another. Both of Kenzie’s parents have brought her up to respect the company, be loyal and appreciate the life that working for the company has afforded them. Kenzie is a little lost because her parents are getting a divorce and her dad is returning to Earth. Her mother is especially strict and when they are at work, very impersonal. Kenzie is now a junior guard and the company expects a lot from their employees, including, if necessary, putting their life on the line. I mean, all of these kids are criminals. They have abused their powers, endangered humans, had a trial and were sentenced to serve until they are eighteen years of age. A safety drill turns into a prison break and Kenzie is taken hostage. They need her to help them break out and get off this planet. Kenzie starts to realize that not all is as it seems. Maybe the company hasn’t been as fair to these kids as she thought. They certainly weren’t these animals intent on hurting humans as she was led to believe. How much of a hardened criminal can a 9 year old be? Yes, their powers can be scary but soon Kenzie’s whole world starts to turn upside down as she begins to bond with them. Especially their leader Cage. It’s not only his super speed that is making her heart race. But getting off the planet becomes a real priority as they learn that they are not alone. There is something far more sinister and far more alien that is hunting them down.

In case I didn’t make it obvious I loved this book. The action was exciting, the monster scary and alien. The world that Lix created was so interesting. Why did the aliens visit Earth? Why did the leave people with powers? We never get to know much about the alien story. I assume we will get to know more in the upcoming books. But there is enough juicy bits that I want to know it all. And the powers that people have. They fly, they read minds, they meld with computers, they are invisible and they are fast like The Flash. I loved all of the characters, their relationships and their interrelationships. Yes, Kenzie and Cage! What a sweet romance. But I wanted to know more about all of them, their backstories, all of it. Kenzie is a strong female lead. She is smart, strong and arc of learning that the world is never as simple as it seems is handled so well. Don’t become too attached - characters will die so stay on your toes. This is making it into my classroom library because I think kids will love it. There wasn’t much I didn’t love except the ending. It was so abrupt it was like finishing in the middle of a sentence. Even if there are sequels shouldn’t you close off the first book? It just was a little unsatisfying, but I still can’t wait for the next book.
Profile Image for ⭐Anny⭐ (Book Princess) .
452 reviews264 followers
February 11, 2021
4.5 stars
Wow, I had pretty high hopes for this but it really exceeded them! Unputdownable at times, this was a book for my liking!

(Find this and more reviews on my blog: https://anni-the-bookprincess.blogspo...!)

Sanctuary takes us to a space station of the same name that is actually a prison for superpowered teens. Written from the pov of junior guard Kenzie, we get a glimpse at her guard training under the watchful eyes of her commander (= her mother) before all hell breaks loose. The prisoners take her hostage and her super-patriotic and to her company devoted mother is willing to let her die. Then, they notice aliens have found a way onto Sanctuary, and the book turns from a sci-fi prison thriller to a sci-fi horror.
I didn't expect this, but I loved it!

After some initial repetitions and slight lenghts the pace picks up for the rest of the book, and there are a couple of cliffhanger chapter endings that made me go noooo. Parts of it I couldn't read before bed because these alien-monsters seemed to be lurking behind every corner. The atmosphere of the book is claustrophobic; this being set in space gives the word "trapped" a whole new meaning.

There were also a couple of really sad moments and quite a handful of deaths in this book. Some of the deaths aren't pretty, and there are relatively detailed descriptions of injuries and gore too, so it's not for the faint of heart. It was never over the top though, everything felt fitting and accurate for the genre.

The only thing that bothered me were the hints at a romance that could be called a case of stockholm syndrome. Luckily, there were few truly romantic scenes because the book focused more on the action, on making plans and on getting off that damned horror-station alive. Still, I could've done completely without the romance, but it's ya after all.
Exception: the romance between two of the prisoners. That was hella cute!

The characters were fine, I neither loved nor hated them. They had enough development to not feel shallow, but I mostly didn't connect with them either. The superpowers of the prisoners were a cool addition though and were well integrated into the plot. Also, Kenzie is a fangirl who asks herself what her favorite manga character would do in certain situations, and I think that's extremely relatable! I liked to read from Kenzie's pov because she's the outsider who has to adapt and come to terms with learning some unpleasant truths about her world. The world in this is definitely a dystopia, so this book really combines the genres I love.

All in all I give a clear recommendation. I never expected Sanctuary to be this gripping (and gruesome) and therefore was positively surprised. Caryn Lix has really taken a simple hostange scenario to a new level.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews574 followers
June 4, 2018
Lots of action and some young, insta-romance and an all-powerful corporation lording over the solar system. SANCTUARY by Caryn Lix deserves to stand on its own merit as fresh and not be compared to books that have gone before!

Kenzie believes the corporation is everything. She has spent her lifetime training for one goal, to become an Elite Guard on Sanctuary, a penal facility for super-powered teens. When a routine drill becomes a hostage situation for Kenzie, she will learn that blood may not be thicker than corporate loyalty, as she is left to fend for herself.

Has she been fooled by Omnistellar’s public face? Has the entire solar system? Kenzie will go against all she thought she knew in order to survive as an ancient evil permeates Sanctuary. The enemy of her enemy will become her unlikely allies as she must choose to stand with the prisoners in order to survive.

After a well-defined world is created, strap in and hang on tight for some fast-paced action and a chaotic bid for survival as Kenzie sees the truth behind the corporate Kool-Aid, discovers an unlikely romance at the worst time and fights evil in its most terrifying form.

Definitely a younger YA read! When the action starts, it is non-stop tension and movement, wonderful for holding a younger reader’s attention! More mature readers may clamber for more character depth or some more dirt on the corporation, but the target age is going to find this magnetic and I am all for grabbing readers while they are young!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Simon Pulse!

Publisher: Simon Pulse (July 24, 2018)
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Genre: Teen/YA Scifi
Print Length: 480 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
428 reviews106 followers
July 23, 2018
Sanctuary was everything I expected and more. It is the perfect space adventure with a splash horror.

Fifty years ago, alien probes arrived on Earth. At first nothing happened, but the next generation started receiving superpowers. Those that used their newfound powers for illegal activities ended up in Sanctuary, an extra secure prison out in space. When a distress signal is sent to Sanctuary, guards go to explore, but before they can figure out what is going on, prisoners from level 5 form an escape, and use Kenzie, a junior guard as a hostage. But when things don't go according to plan, and aliens start taking over the ship, Kenzie must join forces with the prisoners as they fight for survival.

I don't know what it is about space novels, but I've been really enjoying them recently. Although I do have to put Sanctuary as my top choice as of right now. The book truly captivated me, and I honestly could not put the book down. It's been a long time since I've stayed up way past my bedtime because of a book, but Sanctuary was definitely the one.

I absolutely loved all the characters in this novel. Kenzie was a fantastic main character. She's strong and very intelligent right from the beginning, but she does have her flaws, especially as she's dealing with her parents divorce, and being the youngest guard on the station. As her story progresses, Kenzie truly grows into an amazing person, her development throughout the story is absolutely fantastic. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about Kenzie.
As for the other characters in the story, I was really impressed with how many diverse characters this book had and how many different personalities there were. Some characters I loved right from the beginning, and others ended up growing on me throughout the story. Its very rare when I actually enjoy all the characters in a novel, but I truly don't have a character in Sanctuary that I didn't end up enjoying at the end.

The world-building is one of the main reasons why I gave this book 5 stars. You would think that since the story takes place in a small space station that the settings would get boring, but you are wrong. Not only is Sanctuary very well explained, but we also get tons of backstories from both Kenzie and the other prisoners about how life is back on Earth, and what has happened to the world since the alien probes landed. I felt like I knew everything that was going on in the world, and how different countries on our planet have reacted to these events.

The pace of the story was also fantastic. There was lots of action to keep the reader entertained, but there was also a lot of dialogue and character development where there was the perfect balance between action and getting to know the characters.

Overall, I highly recommend Sanctuary to all YA fans, especially if you love action and horror stories, with a hint of romance and strong female characters. I cannot wait to find out what happens next, and will definitely be picking up more books from this author.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,223 reviews462 followers
July 30, 2018
*Source* Publisher via Edelweiss
*Genre* Young Adult / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
*Rating* 4.0


Caryn Lix's Sanctuary is the first book in the author's Sanctuary series. When I read Aliens meet The Darkest Minds on NetGalley, I immediately jumped to request the book. I was not disappointed. The book takes place onboard a place called Sanctuary, where an AI runs the entire show. Sanctuary is staffed by 6 humans who oversee a prison of hundreds of superpowered teens. These teens have been told that they are abominations, dangerous, and need to be taken out of society.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*


Profile Image for Aly.
2,732 reviews
January 31, 2020
Where has this book been?! I was totally sucked into the story and couldn't get enough. I definitely got Illuminae vibes, which is maybe why I loved it so much. The characters were so much fun, they're all different and I liked the dynamic. Kenzie is our main character, she's pretty straight laced at the beginning, but once she gets to know the prisoners and understand that not everything she was told is true, she starts getting better at accepting the others. Cage is my favorite, he loves his sister so much and will do anything to protect her. His and Kenzie's romance was great to watch and I like that he's the leader of the group.
The creatures were creepy and the storyline kept me on my toes. There were some sad bits that had me tearing up and I enjoyed the various revelations we discovered. This was fun and engaging, can't wait to read the sequel!
Profile Image for Timothy Boyd.
6,656 reviews35 followers
May 9, 2019
Interesting story that definitely left you with a cliffhanger of an ending. I am intrigued enough to try the 2nd book to see were the writer takes things. Recommended
Profile Image for Kelli Wilson.
521 reviews126 followers
September 8, 2022
Awesome Sauce!

I've read the rest of the series. It's still good. But as much as I loved this first book. It was too much of a repeat in the 2nd and 3rd book of trilogy. So many options to choose from after this 1st book. Sometimes, having that many potential storylines can be as overwhelming as the fear of having no storyline. However, this first book. Great read. So much tension, scare, and while the trilogy didn't pan out for me. I'm not upset. The first book was written, not in a way that so much was left unsaid. Take from that what you will!
Profile Image for Katya de Becerra.
Author 12 books216 followers
June 17, 2018
Sanctuary definitely hits all the right notes to fuel my obsession with all things alien contact, extra-terrestrial sentience, and the ethics surrounding the treatment of superpowered humanity.

This dazzling debut offers as much food for thought as it does heart-pounding non-stop action.

Building on its cyberpunk genre foundations of near-future corporatism, where all-powerful corporations offer people citizenship that comes along with lives better than Earth countries-based governments ever could, Sanctuary's story begins on a Artificial Intelligence-controlled space prison (the eponymous Sanctuary) for dangerous superpowered teenagers, before cleverly shifting gears to become a terrifying alien contact story, exploring some moral grey areas and asking tough existential questions, against the background of daring adventure and space survival. (My fellow fans of Aliens and Prometheus will be thrilled!)

The cold, sterile and robotic world of Sanctuary-the-prison is juxtaposed with the conflicted soul-searching of the very much human Kenzie, the protagonist, who quickly must learn to think for herself, and find her strength if she wants to survive.

A riveting, unforgettable read!
Profile Image for Dreximgirl.
1,106 reviews23 followers
June 30, 2019
This was a great atmospheric thrilling read, I really liked all the characters especially the core group and thought the plot was well thought out. There were a few surprises which I didn't see coming - but probably should have with my scifi reading background lol.

Kenzie was a great character (although she did get convinced to switch sides a little too easily but I'm letting her age excuse that) and I really liked her development.

Looking forward to the next book - I am hoping we learn more about the backstory of some of the other characters.
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