Narrator: Rebecca Ross
Series: Sanctuary #1
Published by Simon Schuster Audio
Published on 24 July 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.
Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.
As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.
But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.
At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.
As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.
This literally feels like Twilight AU fanfiction, albeit one that is a hundred times better than the other famous Twilight AU fanfiction. Even pointing out that abomination makes me feel dirty, like I am sullying this review, since this particular Twilight-esque book was vastly superior in every way, unless you’re into rape fantasies; and in that case, I’m not kink-shaming, but there’s nothing of that sort here on this blog or in this book, so get out.
The similarities between this book’s characters and Twilight characters were so striking I actually went in search of someone, anywhere, saying this originally was a Twilight AU fanfiction. Alas, I did not find any evidence to support my theory, but I present my own first hand evidence with the main characters of this book:
This book is about supernatural criminals on board a prison space station, and the main character, a non-supernatural teen guard, who falls into their coup.
- Cage = Edward, in love with the dumb human but fighting it because reasons, and gifted with super speed.
- Rue = Alice, Edward’s nice sister who immediately befriends the dumb human.
- Mia = Rosalie, mean girl.
- Alexi = Emmett, the big tough guy in love with the mean girl.
- Kenzie = Bella, the dumb human among all these super powered teens.
- Kenzi’s parents are separating and Bella’s parents are divorced.
So as you can see, the coincidence is remarkable.
But luckily, that’s where the similarities end, because unlike Twilight, Sanctuary is tightly plotted with excellent characterisation, a believable, respectful developing teen romance, a hefty dose of thrills, and actual antagonists who don’t just show up at the end with weird motivation because someone pointed out to the author that there was no bad guy to get eh damsel in distress.
Not to mention Kenzie demonstrates over and over again her intelligence, determination, and sheer willpower to overcome her obstacles. She’s not exactly going to collapse in a forest because the boy she likes says he’s leaving her.
Sanctuary was a really great book that kept my attention and ramped up the excitement and engagement all the way through. I was pleased to notice that the attraction between Kenzie and Cage, although physical at first, really developed organically as they continued to risk their lives for each other, and over the course of their adventure, grew to respect and like each other. It certainly wasn’t instalove, though I could tell Cage was going to be the romantic interest because of the way his introduction was written with particular detail on his attractiveness, as seems to be the complete norm for YA. No surprises there! But Kenzie and Cage were way too busy trying to save everyone to really spend too long on romance, which I also liked, because priorities.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Sanctuary and definitely recommend it as a very solid YA sci-fi. It’s not only ridiculously good for a debut, but just ridiculously good.