Thursday 6 December 2012

Review: Sanctum by Sarah Fine

Lela has dreamt of hell for years... and now she's going back there. Willingly. Lela is desperate to save her friend Nadia from her fate, but Malachi, Captain of the Suicide City's Guards, isn't as eager. He may be ruthless and necessarily dangerous, but he doesn't want Lela risking her second life.
 Unfortunately, she's the one other human in the city with a mind of their own.
One word, dudes, dudettes, and people a little bit of both: class.
 Sometimes, I lose faith in YA. There are so many books, and so little of them are actually 'wow' books. I believe ALL books should be 'wow' books.
 Yup. This is one of them. The Amazon blurb had me thinking, 'what now?', and I sighed. Another substandard YA with a weak story line, an even weaker heroine, and a sickly, soppy love story without substance.
 I gotta stop being so judgemental, guys. I wouldn't have bought this book, but I'm really glad my mum did. It is everything I want my writing to be. The setting is all-consuming, real as real could ever be, and scary. There's actual, proper scary things. There's an absolutely gorgeously written, sexy love interest. There's a violent, venomous group of antagonists. There's a virtuous, anything-but-self-interested cause, and the lack of self interest is a nice recurring theme that stays realistic. And the heroine? Troubled, beautiful, stubborn, captivating, damaged, and an actual character. I think the real realism in such a... well, a lot of people don't believe in the afterlife, do they? But this book is as real as can be, perhaps from the use of 'real life' issues that affected the way Lela and Malachi acted in an imaginary world. That's the thing I really want to do in my stuff, and to see it actually done is inspiring.
 This book has a clear kind of moral stance on suicide, and it's not one I particularly agree with -- nor is the stereotyping of people who commit suicide -- but that didn't stop me from being dragged into the story, hook-line-and-sinker style. And I think that has to show you how brilliant this book does, if nothing else does.

 In short, this book is all that's brilliant about YA. Buy it for Christmas or something -- if you're not reading this as soon as it's posted (shame on you), do that Trick-Or-Treat a book thing. Buy it, read it, and (if you can find the willpower) leave it on a bus or something. It needs to be shared with the entire world. Can you guess what it gets yet?
Re-faithified reader out!

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