Sanctum by Sarah Fine

SanctumSanctum by Sarah Fine
Series: Guards of the Shadowlands #1
Published by: Skyscape on October 1, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 450
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★★

“My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple.”

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos's best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance—hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn't just anyone—she's determined to save her best friend's soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she's captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city's endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn't—the dark city isn't the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.

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 contemporaries. But Sanctum has it all: great plot, great world building, and an insanely delicious and jaw-dropping romance. Honestly, the romance does start off a little fast, but I seriously did not care at all. Because Malachi—oh-so-sexy Malachi—is the sweetest, sexiest, most badass of all book boyfriends.

The deep voids of his eyes were surrounded by thick, black lashes and full of confidence and threat. It was as if he’d already assessed my weaknesses and ticked off all the possible ways to kill me, so now he could relax and be friendly.
Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 77

“I never said I didn’t want you to touch me! That is exactly the problem. Every time you put your hands on me, I don’t want you to let go.”
Malachi, Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 294

“You can be selfish. It makes me feel wanted. And I…” He chuckled softly. “I want you to want me.”
Malachi, Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 353

Malachi is sweet, selfless, tender, but also the hot Captain of the Guard that can kill guys with his bare hands. He’s deep and thoughtful, but without being corny or cheesy. So many of the scenes with Malachi—especially towards the end—had me giggling and squealing like a crazy, love-struck girl!

Sanctum by Sarah Fine - Don't confuse what you want with what you need

Okay, I’ll attempt to pull myself together and talk about Lela. Lela was a fantastic main character, and extremely likeable (most of the time). She’s strong, sensitive, damaged, and also kicks some ass. I loved her dedication to Nadia. It was just so… admirable. At times it made me feel bad, because I seriously wondered if I would go through all that for one of my friends. I mean, we’d all like to think we would, but if it comes down to it, would we actually give up eternal happiness to travel through hell (with no guarantee that we could go back)? I really think this makes Lela one of the most selfless characters I’ve ever read about.

But the thing I loved most about Lela was how she held her own. She wasn’t a poor, pathetic, wimpy character that needed rescuing. Lela was strong, stubborn, and determined. Sure, sometimes she was a little foolish, or maybe a little too self-sacrificing, but I still loved how independent she was. She makes some incredibly difficult choices that had me sitting there in awe.

Sanctum is one of those books that will have you highlighting every other line. It is riddled with deep, thought-provoking messages about life, death, loss, and love. So many passages forced me to just stop and think for a minute. I swear, you guys, this shit is deep.

They’re so absorbed in their own sadness that they can’t see past the darkness.
Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 90

She once told me that everybody carried their secret savages beneath their skin, and some people just covered them better than others.
Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 174

I think some people like the disease better [than the cure]. It’s more familiar, and they don’t want to give it up, even once they know they can be healed of it.
Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 191

“Mercy is not a right. Mercy is a gift from one to another. It can’t be earned.”
Sanctum by Sarah Fine, Page 368

I kind of expected Sanctum to be good, just because of the high ratings, but I don’t think I expected it to be this good. Sanctum was so imaginative, dark, scary, and provocative. It has a deliciously swoony romance that will bring you to your knees, and is riddled with tough decisions and sacrifices. Book 2: bring it on. (Seriously, I want it now, please.)

The Verdict


Photo of Ashley
I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

Don't miss my next post!

Sign up to get my blog posts sent directly to your inbox (plus exclusive store discounts!).

You might like these


  1. Sigh… And BookNook strikes again. I didn’t get past your segment about the jaw-dropping romance before handing my card information to Amazon. Seriously, I think Amazon should cut you a check for all the purchases you’ve inspired… just from me!

    In other news, now that that’s all over, I’m super geeked about this book! Malachi (great name). And an abundance of amazing quotes? I’m all over it.

    Thanks again for the awesome review. I cannot wait to dive in!

  2. Oh my! *adds that shit to Goodreads NOW*
    You made me want to get my hands on the book right this moment! I wish I didn’t have so many I have to read first 🙁

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
    1. I know the feeling! I am so overwhelmed with books right now! But once you get around to it, I hope you enjoy it! 😀

      1. Hopefully I can get to it in a couple of months! I added it to my ‘for 2013’ list so I know to read it asap. (think I’ll add it to my ‘read asap’ list too haha) I hope I love it as much as you did!

        Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
    1. I COMPLETELY agree! All the world building was so original and awesome to read about. It was FAB! And omg Malachi. That man is like… phew.. *fans self*

  3. Ugh, another wonderful review, which means another book in my amazon cart. I do love me some paranormal romance though. Glad you enjoyed this book especially since you bought it on a whim, it would have been awful if you spent money on a random book and ended up hating ti.

    Michaniya recently posted: Book Review: Poison Princess
    1. Aw I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like it Sabrina. 🙁 I guess you can’t win them all! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Holy COW. I WANT. I NEED. I MUST get this book. The end. I’d heard good things, but this? Wow. You blow my mind Ashley. I must have this. Maybe once I’m off ban I’ll borrow it on the Kindle Library. 😀 *spazzes out* It looks like such a yummy book read. Meeeep! Loved your review, and the banner is sizzling!

    Happy Tuesday!
    XOXO, Inky

    1. OH INKYKINS!!!! I cannot wait for you to read this!! Seriously. I know that you will love Malachi. And then he’ll come between us because we’ll be fighting over who gets to keep him.

      True story.

        1. That was before Malachi though! I’m just kidding though, we’d never fight! BECAUSE WE’RE AWESOME!

  5. I have this one on my kindle but I have yet to read it, I hadn’t heard of it either but Jen @ The Starry Eyed Revue wrote such a great review of the audio book that immediately after I read it I had to go and download it. Your review has made me wanna skip all the other books on my list and get right to it. I also have to add that Malachi just sounds like a sexy name and I can’t wait to read about him!!

    1. Yeah I read Jen’s review too and it was awesome! She always makes me want to give audiobooks a try.

      I promise you will LOVE Malachi! 😀

Recent Posts

    Random Posts