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Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)

Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1) - Sarah Fine [ALERT: This book deals with rape, suicide and drug abuse]One of my 2013 favorite reads. Currently, Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free. I recommend it and not simply because it's free. Sanctum introduces us to Lela Santos who has survived foster family horrors and will do anything to protect herself. Not used to letting anyone get close, Lela is overwhelmed by the friendship Nadia, the popular girl at school, has given her. Nadia's helped her realize she doesn't want to simply survive life, she wants to live it. "Life seemed worth living, and a future seemed worth having ..." So, when Nadia overdoses, she's devastated. While mourning her friend's death, she accidentally falls to her own death. Sanctum tells the story of a girl who is willing to go through hell, literally, to do whatever it takes to save her friend. She does this knowing what she will experience when she gets there - nightmares of the Suicide Gates and what lies behind them have haunted her every night for two years. Once she's there, however, things are even worse than she'd expected. She's beginning to realize that she may never find Nadia or save her if she does. My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Keep us safe. Find a way out. Simple. Malachi (a name that always make me think of the character in the 1984 version of Children of the Corn - ewww) has been in the city for seventy years; he's the Shadowlands' Captain of the Guard. While interrogating Nadia, he learns why and how she came to be there. He is in awe of her strength, tenacity and courage, but worries that alone she will never be able to find her friend or get out alive. In the Shadowlands, it's all about what you NEED versus what you WANT. Until you know the difference, you're not going anywhere. Together, Lela, Malachi, and Ana (another guard) work together to survive the city, find Nadia, and get Lela out.With Sanctum, Sarah Fine has created a type of purgatory (several, actually) that is haunting, intriguing, dark, but not without hope. Parts of the Shadowlands reminded me a bit of "Constantine" and "Defending Your Life", but only a tiny bit. These characters fight not only to survive, but also to forgive and heal themselves. I fell in love with Malachi and admire Lela's inner strength. I am so excited to have found this series! I look forward to their future adventures - Book 2: [b:Fractured|17667916|Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)|Sarah Fine|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1373468644s/17667916.jpg|24663476] and a special short: [b:Captive: A Guard's Tale from Malachi's Perspective|17733363|Captive A Guard's Tale from Malachi's Perspective|Sarah Fine|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365184671s/17733363.jpg|24808902].Want/Need More? The author publishes entries from Malachi's Journal on Tumblr and shares a map of the Shadowlands on her website.[Rating: 4.5★]