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170 Reviews
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I bought this book on a whim despite or perhaps because of a bad review which seemed unjustly down on the romance element running through it, so wanted to make my own mind up. Happy to say I wasn't disappointed. Sanctum, set mainly in a fantasy realm is the story of loyalty, friendship and love. Yes, there is a strong romantic theme throughout the book and yes it...
Published on 16 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer

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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Throbbing with every romance novel cliche
Buyer be warned: this is a romance novel under a different cover. If you're into heaving chests, soul-deep sighs and endless longing glances spiced up by a touch of something different, then this is for you.

If, like me, you were suckered into buying this book expecting some kind of fantasy novel then consider carefully because the cheese factor runs high in...
Published on 5 Dec. 2012 by dot dot dot


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 16 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book on a whim despite or perhaps because of a bad review which seemed unjustly down on the romance element running through it, so wanted to make my own mind up. Happy to say I wasn't disappointed. Sanctum, set mainly in a fantasy realm is the story of loyalty, friendship and love. Yes, there is a strong romantic theme throughout the book and yes it probably will appeal strongly to the teenage market , nothing wrong with that....paired with the emotive subject of suicide,the author deals with this and other evocative issues sensitively whilst maintaining a fast action packed pace, in a richly detailed fantasy world with strong charactorisation leaving plenty of room for a sequel .
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sanctum by Sarah Fine, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Sarah Fine's Sanctum is nothing short of original, with a whole world dedicated to the lost, wandering souls of suicide victims. Beyond the Suicide Gates lies the Shadowlands, patrolled by the ferocious Guards and their human captain Malachi. We follow Lela Santos' inadvertent journey into Suicide City in an attempt to rescue her best-friend Nadia. It is a dark story, both gritty and emotional, but never dull or draining. Fine has a natural way with words, crafting a brilliantly thought-out world and exciting storyline - one that is full of action, creativity and romance.

As thrilling and well-paced as the plot is, it is the characters that make the greatest impression here. Let me get straight in there and tell you Malachi is quite something. He is the very definition of a well-built love interest, a character that manages to provide genuine moments of endless swoooon, whilst also standing on his own two feet and being more than that. His hardened, steadfast personality is complemented by Lela's determination and courage. These two together were the perfect team. I'm not ashamed to admit that the romance was my favourite part of this book.

I will say that it took me a little while to warm to Lela. I also wish Nadia's character had felt less ambiguous. These, however, were my only concerns with this book, and for the first instalment of this series, Fine did a spectacular job. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Throbbing with every romance novel cliche, 5 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Buyer be warned: this is a romance novel under a different cover. If you're into heaving chests, soul-deep sighs and endless longing glances spiced up by a touch of something different, then this is for you.

If, like me, you were suckered into buying this book expecting some kind of fantasy novel then consider carefully because the cheese factor runs high in places. It's actually a romance novel. I can only assume Mills & Boon or Harlequin turned this one down.

The heroine of the novel is a typical romance novel heroine: stunningly, breath-takingly beautiful and yet, because of course she's a romance novel stereotype and not even a remote attempt at a character, she's totally oblivious to her good looks. Naturally, as all romance novel heroines are, she's damaged, vulnerable, and hides this behind an impenetrable wall of toughness. Well, she does have to make her hero work hard to get her, doesn't she?

Natually, her impenetrable wall of toughness is penetrated instantly by her best friend, her newest foster parent and just about every character (apart from the obvious baddies) she meets in her travels.

She's a tough cookie, independent woman who can't be touched by any man . . . except of course as soon as she meets her hero she melts entirely and spends her time falling over or even fainting. Yes, it's all an act imposed on her by the author. Heaven forbid she does anything butch to scare him off. This is a romance novel of course so he's the one who's got to do all the running while she just has to look like interesting bait.

So, to the hero: hard to say what he's like because he isn't given any characterisation over and above what's required of a romance novel hero: stunningly gorgeous, muscled and "a perfect specimen". Naturally, he's a tortured soul, suffering emotional pain that only his romance novel heroine can understand and rescue him from, with a minimal backstory that conveniently disappears.

Unlike any real human male, he communicates to his heroine in true romance novel hero style: he rasps, he moans, he groans, he gasps, he shudders uncontrollably, his heart beats against his chest, a muscle in his jaw twitches often and he radiates both heat and an intoxicating scent. I wish I were making this up, but I'm not: this book is filled with drivel like this towards the end.

Like any good romance novel, they suffer the twist in the middle where one misunderstands the intentions of the other and runs away. All this is required, of course, in order to force a confession of love out of them both so that they can sink into each other's arms at the end. Probably with a shudder or a moan.

It's a shame the author thought it necessary to trot out every romance story cliche because if you can shovel off the codswallop, it's actually a good story in an interesting setting that poses some very thoughtful questions.

Possibly teenagers still consumed by their first love will eat this up, but grownups who can tell the difference between lust dressed up as romance and genuine love are advised to pass on this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 1 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Wasn't sure at first but loved it, stick with it, it's worth it . Really different and now gutted I've finished it xxx
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hades, 28 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed an alternative story. Interesting take on the afterlife.
Eagerly awaiting a sequel - maybe?
Suitable for teenagers & upwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New dark Buffy, 10 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Took me back to that exciting place where you just want to know what happens next, but never really want the book to end. I definitely want to read more of this tale.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I was expecting, 2 Oct. 2013
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Lela, a foster kid, has had her fair share of trouble growing up, but it has only served to make her tougher. When she stands up for the most popular girl in school, she unexpected gains a best friend. When this best friend, Nadia, then commits suicide, Lela knows she must try to save her from Suicide City, a place she's already familiar with.

Unfortunately, this didn't work for me as much as I expected. Malachi's feelings for Lela developed straight away, and this doesn't appeal to me. After one meeting with her, he's willing to step completely out of character, and risk his life for her.

I enjoyed the plot, and Malachi was quite awesome, but at times, this felt a little too romance based for me. (Very unusual for me to make this statement). Lela was a character who quite annoyed me at times, and I didn't know whether I should admire her for her dedication to helping her friend, or hate her for how her actions were hurting Malachy and the others. So, I was frustrated with her for most of this book.

The ending worked well for me though, even if it was a little too good to be true. But it makes and interesting setting for book 2 :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, loved it!, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
What a brilliant book, imaginative, gripping, thrilling, and such good characters. This is one book that I found hard to put down. If you enjoy fantasy thrillers then this is one excellent book. The next book in this series is even better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant read, 12 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Didn't think it would be my sort of thing, but recommended by a friend. I couldn't put it down, now just about to download the next book. Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book. Aimed at young adults, 20 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Fantastic book. Aimed at young adults, but this 40+ year old loved it!
Lela's friend Nadia has killed herself. Lela knows that Nadia will have ended up in the Dark City (part of the Shadowlands), a dark and scary place where all suicides end up. After an accident, Lela finds herself able to go to the Dark City and chooses to enter the city to try and find her friend and to rescue her. She has to escape detection by the Guards (she does not belong here) but it soon becomes apparent that the Guards are not the most violent or frightening thing hunting her in here.
I couldn't put his down and instantly ordered the second part (Fractured) and read that in equally quick time. I thought the premise was original and gripping and the characters intricate and believable. I have been recommending it to everyone!
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