Because the afterlife is soooo cool!
This book was sooooo meeeee! Urban, dark, Gothic, about the afterlife… So “beyond”!
4.3 “beyond” stars
About the Book
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.
I’m a big fan of Sarah Fine, so it kills me to give a Sarah Fine’s book less than 4.5 starts!
Her writing style is perfect for me: sharp and intelligent, which gives her characters that quality as well. And Sara is the Queen of the Afterlife! No one mixes the afterlife with the real life better than Sarah Fine!
But there were some kindas that, well, tarnished Sanctum perfection 🙁
Like, I just kinda, liked the characters. They were pretty real and diverse [The female MCs, Lela and a secondary character are Hispanic and the male MC, Malachi is Israeli.], but I rolled my eyes at them A LOT! Lela had quite a few annoying moments and Malachi was kinda weak.
But I don’t have to like the characters 100% for the book to be good! So that wasn’t it. I was OK with Lela being super bratty and hormonal [there is BIG INSTA love here, like in love at the first second and a lot of body reactions at the first encounter]. This is a YA book after all. My issue was that her character was inconsistent. Lela would act as a brat but all her internal monologues were WAY too mature for her age, so there was no correlation between her thoughts and her actions.
There was also LOTSA telling in the dialogues. The world was very unique and needed some telling, but all that telling in the dialogues made the characters sound like they were doing a school presentation. It also made the pace kinda inconsistent, with the characters changing outfits and preparing their weapons again and again (again and again!) as an excuse to talk about their backstories and the world.
But I LOVE Sarah’s afterlife worlds and stories! Sanctum reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movies, What Dreams May Come because this world is where the souls of people that committed suicide go. It’s a dark and Gothic place and there is a scene where gatekeepers are herding the souls yelling “Welcome to Suicide Gates!” that totally gave me the creeps! And, for extra coolness, the book is set in Warwick, Rhode Island. I really enjoyed reading about in the places where I spend most of my time, like Warwick, Narragansett Bay, Newport, URI, and Wickenden st, Providence.
Despite these “kindas” , the story, world and characters were very pretty cool! And the writing AWESOME! So I LIKED IT A LOT!
What about you?
Do you enjoy Gothic stories about the afterlife?
TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!