by Caryn Lix
Series: Sanctuary #1
Published on July 24, 2018 by Simon Pulse
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
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I think I missed the memo with Sanctuary because I wasn’t feeling it.
YA sci-fi has always been a bit hit or miss for me and I thought that maybe this would be more in line with books like Illuminae or LIFEL1K3. Instead, a dragging start and annoying protagonist led to my lack of interest in the rest of the story.
Kenzie is the daughter of the commanding officer of Sanctuary, a prison for “special” teens (think X-Men special). She’s training to be a guard herself and ends up going through quite a lot in that prison when she meets some of its inhabitants. And she annoyed the crap out of me. I found Kenzie’s personality to be completely lacking which made it difficult to look past to the story beyond as the entire book is from her perspective. Reading her inner thoughts (her narration of everything she did which was, of course, also written out) grew old.
The rest of the cast faded into the story while I tried to get into the book. I appreciated that they weren’t just no-face characters. The author put a lot of thought, I think, into giving them both the interesting group dynamic as well as their own backstories. In fact, I found the secondary characters more interesting than Kenzie. Go figure.
Well, until the cringey insta-love was tossed in the mix. A romance that blooms in a subplot that needed to disappear. There was just SO MUCH happening in this book. Sanctuary certainly doesn’t lack in the action department, so I wondered what the point of adding a love interest was, what it added to the book.
So the book keeps on rolling. There’s a lot happening and yet. . . I didn’t care? Too many details to get bogged down in, too much internalization from Kenzie (and too many bad decisions on her part on top of that). It all just left me waiting for the end so I could start something new.
I do think I’ll give Sanctuary a try at a later time and see if my perspective changes. It seems like there’s a chance that it was more me than the book this time around.