Monday, October 21, 2013

Series Review: Sanctum + Fractured


The Guards of the Shadowlands 1&2
Sarah Fine
Paranormal Young Adult
Amazon Children's Publishing
Fractured releases October 29th
Source: Bought/BEA

THE STORY - FRACTURED (from Goodreads)
In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.

Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela's authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.

As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?


MY THOUGHTS
The Guards of the Shadowlands is a stunningly dark and beautifully challenging series, testing our mental and emotional endurance as Lela and Malachi are tested again and again, but luckily for us Ms. Fine seems to have a direct link to our hearts, knowing just where the line dividing what is bearable from what is overwhelming lies to guide us on a terribly stunning journey along its edge without ever letting us tip over. She provides us with a pair of protagonists in possession of infinite strength despite the cracks that spiderweb their emotional armor, giving them a gorgeous vulnerability to contrast their impressive physical prowess and add yet more colors to an already striking and vibrant couple.

Lela is an exceedingly memorable young woman, her utter devotion to those select few who have shown her compassion and kindness connecting us to her instantly, while the brutal truth of her past launches her to the top of the list of people we admire. She's a fighter through and through, her determination to ensure the safety and happiness of others when she so rarely feels safe herself causing goosebumps to run unchecked across our skin, so moved are we by her actions. Her relationship with Malachi is a perfect sort of torture, her poor sense of self worth–compliments of her gut-wrenching past– creating such fragile moments between them, their emotionally delicate interactions an intricate dance of pain, hope, friendship and budding love.

Malachi is as richly nuanced as Lela, his bad boy status not simply a young adult fiction label but rather an extraordinarily apt description; death and violence a cloak he appears to wear with confidence and surety. Underneath the blood though is a pair of hands that itch with a desire to hold and protect Lela; hands that bring as much comfort when she comes barreling into his world as they instill fear into those terrorizing the Shadowlands and the human realm. He is as uneasy in romantic situations as Lela is, the tension between them a pulsing beat we can practically feel reverberate through the pages, and we can do nothing other than cherish every quiet moment between them as it's clear to us their road will never be one easily walked.

Fractured, book two, does adopt the typical middle book ploy in which the primary romance dissolves, but instead of irritating us Ms. Fine makes sure we're devastated instead, the new distance between them like a clawed Mazikin hand sending a raging infection of wrongness through our bloodstream. Additionally, where Sanctum wraps up nicely Fractured leaves us far more off-kilter, but our faith in Lela and what's she's capable of is a spark in the blackness; one we lunge toward in the concluding chapters and cling to like a safety net as we begin the painfully long wait for book three.

Sanctum: 4/5
Fractured: 4.5/5

Find Sarah:

 
I had the opportunity to interview Sarah a few weeks ago, if you didn't get a chance to check that interview out, you can do so HERE.

Fractured was given to me by the publisher at BEA  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

32 comments:

  1. Honestly, I fear Fractured might end up being somewhat of a disappointment for me. I consider these characters too experienced and mature to fall into certain traps, especially things like high shool drama. I was hoping Fine could avoid the middle book syndrome and remain just as original as she was in the first book, but what can you do?
    In addition, I do not appreciate cliffhangers at all. I'll probably just wait for the third book and read them back to back.
    I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jenny. :) Sanctum is one of my all-time faves.

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    1. Normally the fact the she separates Lela and Malachi in this second book would get an eye roll for me since it's been done so many times, BUT I just hurt for them in this book instead. And it is a pretty epic cliffhanger, so maybe waiting is best:)

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  2. I've heard about all of this books, but I don't remember last time I read YA or paranormal. I just don't enjoy that kind of stories at the moment., but I'll check this one out when I feel a need to read something like this. It looks like a little bit darker read.
    great review, Jenny.

    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

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    1. Definitely darker reads Glass! I hope you give them a try when you're feeling up to a YA or paranormal read:)

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  3. Everyone seem to be reading these books and I must read it now. I love the sound of the world-building and characters.
    I'm not happy to hear that there is cliffhangers so I might wait till the next book is out and then read them without having to wait.
    Great review Jenny :)

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    1. I loved them Tanja! There's no cliffhanger in the first book, so you'd be fine starting that one for sure:)

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  4. I found Fractured to be far more disappointing than Sanctum. I really LOVED the first book but the romantic drama in the sequel really grated on me, not to mention the cliffhanger. Still, I'm so glad you finally started this series, Jenny! Fantastic review!(:

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    1. Sorry you felt that way Keertana! I still loved this one, cliched plot devices and all. I just adore Lela and Malachi, so it would take a lot more than them splitting up to ruin the series for me. I'll be interested to see if book 3 wins you back over!

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  5. I've never heard of this series! How is this possible, Jenny?! But those are some seriously gorgeous covers, and I love that the second installment actually worked better for you - that's a rarity. I'm adding this to my TBR now. Thanks alot! ;) Oh, and wonderful review, as always, m'dear :)

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    1. I think a lot of people will be frustrated by some things in this one, but what would normally bother me just didn't because I think this world and its characters are so fascinating:)

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  6. You know how I feel about covers, Jenny, and these just don't call to me. However, I totally trust your judgement when it comes to what's INSIDE those busy covers. This sounds like a series I'll need to read in one fell swoop, so I don't have to experience so much waiting pain.

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  7. OHHHHHHHHHHHH I love when book 2 is better than book 1! It is how it should be :)

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  8. I need to read these books. Why have I not read these books, Jenny?! WHY?! It seems like everyone who reads them LOVES them. I want love, too, dammit!

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  9. YES! You said both reviews so beautifully! I love this series and I am so glad you love it too!! I am still devastated over the ending of Fractured but I know Fine will make up for it in the next book.

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  10. I've heard so much about this series and lots of rave reviews for this one. I'm really worried about that cliffhanger that you mentioned so I think I might pick up this series when book 3 comes out. I've got them on my tbr list.

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  11. I am glad to hear that the middle book did not let you down

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  12. I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this series, Jenny! It's one of my favorite so it makes very happy to see others enjoy it too. I love your description of Lela because you've described her personality perfectly.
    I'm a bit sad to hear that Lela and Malachi get separated in the second book, but I'll be open-minded when I go. Plus, it seems like Fine handled their separation well.
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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  13. Oooh. A second book with a higher rating than the first? That's always a good sign, Jenny!

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  14. Oh no, I don't want to be devastated! I need Lela and Malachi to be okay! I'm pleased to see you gave a higher rating for Fractured because I loved Sanctum! I need to check when book three releases, I don't like things being left up in the air. Great reviews, Jenny! :)

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  15. I never heard of this book but I will gladly try it. I love the covers. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. I'm so, so, SO excited that you read these! This series just blows my mind, it's SO good! I'm still reading Fractured and devastated is definitely a good word. SO EMOTIONAL.

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  17. THANKS for making me read this!!!!!! I LOVED book 1 just like you said. It truly is an "us" book! I cannot wait to read the next one, but I have it pre-ordered already wooho!

    Love and miss you!

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  18. Oh Lela and Malachi sound like fantastic characters. That cliffie offers me a pause, however. I hate cliffies with a passion. I think I'll add these 2 to the wishlist and wait for the third.

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  19. I didn't read too closely since I still need to write my own review, but I agree that this series is beautiful and that the cliffhanger is awful on my feelings. Just a real hidden gem of a series.

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  20. So happy that you are enjoying this series. I loved Sanctum last year, and I am reviewing Fractured next week. Not happy abou tthe cliffie, though!

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  21. The cliffhanger was definitely so brutal! I thought some of the romantic drama was a little unnecessary, but I agree it was mostly just brutally painful. I liked the new characters in the second book, too, and how she brought in world building and info even while in the human world. I'm so psyched to see where the story goes!

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  22. I've been seeing this series around more and more and my interest is definitely piqued! I'm not 100% sure it's the series for me because I don't have a ton of tolerance for common paranormal tropes and I hate it when the author splits the couple up specifically for drama in the sequel, but I DO really, really love the premise and the depth of feeling you felt. I'm going to keep this one on my tbr for maybe later - probably be best to wait until all books are out anyways if the cliffie is that bad! Beautiful review as always, Jenny!

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  23. I loved the first book and can't wait to read the next one, the ARC is on my e-reader right now and I'm all twitchy and excited to read it, especially after reading your review and your interview with Sarah. I adore this description of Malachi "Underneath the blood though is a pair of hands that itch with a desire to hold and protect Lela; hands that bring as much comfort when she comes barreling into his world as they instill fear into those terrorizing the Shadowlands and the human realm." *swoons* Beautiful review Jenny!

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  24. I haven't heard much about this series which is weird because it seems like almost everyone above knew about it. I must look into it more! Though I can tell that I would definitely swoon over Malachi. I want me some bad boy!!!! The second book doesn't sound that impressive but I'm glad that you still enjoyed it, Jenny! Great review :)

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  25. Awesome review. I have had Sanctum for quite so time and have never taken the time to read it, but the reviews I have read have all been so favorable. It is good to know that the second book is good to. I may way until they all come out with the romance fizzing out and the author leaving you devastated so I can read them back to back. I tend to get to caught up in that kind of thing and it will bother me for days - silly I know.

    On another note, are you going to be reviewing Allegiant. I am really interested in what you think about it. I read it - but I don't want to say anything. I am really trying to take time to think about it and read some of the reviews from people whose opinion I respect. I'll be keeping my eye out on your blog to see if you do.

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  26. I NEEED to read this series. All my trusted reading, romance loving fans have recommended it. Love the dark themes, and Lela and Malachi sound like two people I want to introduce myself to soon. However, with the unsettling/book two-ness of Fractured, I'm now wondering if I should wait until the final is out to read the series? Hmmmm.

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