Monday, July 30, 2018

#Review - Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1) by Caryn Lix #YALIT #SyFy

Series: Sanctuary # 1
Format: E-Galley, 480 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Alien Contact

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.

Caryn Lix's Sanctuary is the first book in the author's Sanctuary series. When I read Aliens meet The Darkest Minds on NetGalley, I immediately jumped to request the book. I was not disappointed. The book takes place onboard a place called Sanctuary, where an AI runs the entire show. Sanctuary is staffed by 6 humans who oversee a prison of hundreds of superpowered teens. These teens have been told that they are abominations, dangerous, and need to be taken out of society. 

The story is told in the first POV by 17-year old Kenzie Cord. Kenzie, a junior prison guard, has been on the station for 3 months having risen to the top of her class with perfect scores. She's had to fight her way to even get to this point, even with her mother, Angela Cord, as the Commander in charge of the station. Kenzie grew up knowing she is blessed and indebted to Omnistellar for always providing for her and her parents who are fiercely loyal. In this world, you either live in a corporate controlled city where you are provided with everything or a government controlled city where you fight for every scrap you can find. 

During what is supposed to be a routine AI emergency preparedness drill, a system that tests of Sanctuary's team, something seems off to Kenzie. She begins to explore possible scenarios which leads her to meeting Sector 5 prisoners. After three of the 6 humans who run the station leave the station for Earth, and a distress signal sends a fourth to discover if they can offer assistance, Kenzie finds herself in deep trouble after the prisoners somehow manage to get out of their cells and take her hostage with the intent of getting off the station. But, they didn't count on what happens next. 

What the teens didn't count on, is the unexpected arrival of unwanted alien visitors who throw all of their plans into disarray. Here is where the Alien comparison comes in for me. These Aliens are nasty pieces of work with sharp claws, and teeth. They are not only lethal, but highly intelligent as well. The only question is why they're on Sanctuary and what do they want? Kenzie quickly learns that everything she's been told about the prisoners is far from the truth. Especially after meeting Cage, Mia, Rune, Alexi, Matt and Tyler who were all sent to Sanctuary for having superpowered abilities.

My only hesitation in liking the story even more than I did were two factors: Romance, and how abrupt things change from chapter to chapter, and maybe the ending. I am not a fan of insta-lust romances, and never will be. I think Kenzie knew that she was falling too fast and too hard, going as to call it the Stockholm Syndrome. But, it still didn't stop her from basically going all in. Especially after her own secret is revealed, and she realizes that her whole life is filled with questions. 

I know this is science fiction, and therefore things are supposed to action packed. Well, you pretty much get all the action you need plus a bit of horror mixed in. I thought the ending was pretty much what you can expect from the first book in what is apparently a series. It leaves readers set up to explore even more of this world, and these characters, and see what happens now that Kenzie's has lost so much but gained an entire new group of friends. 

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