Wednesday, 25 July 2018

[Blog Tour] SANCTUARY (Sanctuary #1) by Caryn Lix - Review + Q&A

Source: Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada to participate in the
blog tour and give my honest review.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Number of Pages: 480 (Hardcover)


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.
G E T   Y O U R   C O P Y   N O W !
Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Indigo | B&N | Kobo


I've been a fan of space stories for as long as I can remember, and I'm always a sucker for superpowers and survival stories, so when I heard Sanctuary pitched as The 100 meets Aliens in space with superpowers...I was absolutely sold! I didn't end up absolutely loving Sanctuary like I hoped I would, but I did really, really like it!

I'm going to start off by telling you about the things that made me really like Sanctuary!

First, I absolutely loved Kenzie. I loved seeing her reactions to everything, and I loved her as a character. She was smart, thoughtful, and tenacious. I really enjoyed seeing how she reacted as her world was shifting around her, and I loved how she actively considered everything. She didn't just continue to blindly believe what she'd been told. She considered every angle, and when she was shown how the truth differed from what she'd seen from her privileged worldview, she wasn't afraid to admit that she'd been wrong...I freaking loved that! One of my favourite aspects of sci-fi is that it often acts as a lens or a mouthpiece for the author to show the dichotomy between the truth and how skewed our viewpoints can be based on whatever perspective we come from. I think Caryn Lix handled that perfectly in Sanctuary...and with how people are often judged, stereotyped and persecuted in our current world for things that are often out of their control, I think this is super vital. In fact, I think it's more important than ever for us to re-examine our preconceived notions and biases...and I hope that books like this help YA readers (both younger and older) see how they can re-examine their own worldviews through perspectives like Kenzie's.

Along with Kenzie, I loved Rune and Alexei! I really liked Cage, too, but Rune and Lex were my standout favourites out of the secondary characters. I have to admit that I wanted sooooo much more of Alexei in this story, but I did really love what was there! :D There was a pretty big cast of characters in the story, and it was really interesting to see the different dynamics. We saw the prisoners interacting with one another, and the guards in their own group, and we also saw how Kenzie fit in both groups. My favourite dynamics were definitely with the core group of prisoners though. I loved getting to know them through Kenzie, and I really enjoyed discovering all of their superpowers with her.

Now that I've gushed over the characters I liked, I'm going to reveal the smaller things that kept me from absolutely loving this one. There were a couple of secondary characters that kind of blended together for me: Matt and Tyler. Once the story progressed, they did get more defined, but when they were introduced, I honestly felt like they came out of nowhere. All of the sudden there were two new names and I had no idea who these two new guys were...and unfortunately that led me to feel rather disconnected to their characters. The other smaller thing that I felt was a bit lacking for the characters was getting to see them use their actual powers. There were a few powers that we saw pretty frequently, but I'm still a little put out that we didn't get to see much of the big powerhouse powers...I was waiting for it. haha

Plot-wise I thought that the story was really compelling! I was desperate to know what was going to happen to all of the prisoners on the ship, and I didn't want to put my book down at all. I loved all of the superpower parts that we did get to see and I absolutely loved all of the different details about the prison ship: Sanctuary. Most of all, I loved the space setting!

Overall, I really enjoyed Sanctuary! The characters and setting were extremely interesting, and the story kept me on my toes the entire time! I thought that it was a compelling and lively sci-fi that fans of The 100, Aliens, X-men, and any sort of survival story will also thoroughly enjoy! If you love space, superheroes, prison breaks...and stories that flip a character's worldview on its axis, leaving them with a good ol' dose of the always relevant inner questions of "Who am I?" and "What is my place in this world?," then Sanctuary is definitely for you!

Q & A with Caryn Lix

First, let's start with your inspiration. What inspired you to write Sanctuary or where did you find your inspiration from?
A lot of my stories start with a single character, image, or idea. In this case it was Sanctuary, and Kenzie staring out the window. But the characters in the prison actually came to me fully developed first, as I asked myself what kind of people would live in this prison, and what sort of effect prison would have on them. I was getting back into writing after a bit of a break, so Sanctuary had a fresh and inspired feeling that I hope carried over!

I always love learning about how writers work, so what's your writing process like?
I always say I don’t have a process! But I do. I write when I’m inspired or when I’m on deadline, but one thing I always do is write a full chapter and then write the first paragraph to page of the next chapter. That way I get to start in media res and it’s not like I’m starting from scratch! I also have this driving need for something caffeinated at my side, no matter what time it is.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
It’s not very original, but read and write! Read everything you can, in your genre and not, read and read and read and read. And when you’re done reading, write. Don’t worry if it’s great, just write the stories you want to read so that you’ll enjoy going back through them during the interminable editing process!

I'm always looking for new I'm curious, if you had to create a playlist for Sanctuary, what songs would be on it?
I actually did write Sanctuary with a playlist running, but it had nothing to do with the story. I just listen to whatever I’m in the mood for. Most of the sequel was written to the Attack on Titan soundtrack. Sanctuary itself was an eclectic mix, but I think Lindsey Stirling featured pretty heavily on there.

If Sanctuary were to be developed for TV or film, who would be in your ultimate dream cast?
Oh wow. You know, I’m not even sure with this one. The idea of Sanctuary on screen is so cool that I’m scared to even consider it. 

I don't know about you, Caryn, but I always love sharing what I'm reading and loving with other readers, so now's your chance to share if you'd like! What book or books would you recommend to other readers?
There are just so many amazing books out there. This year I was really lucky to get involved with the Class of 2K18, which is full of fantastic debut MG and YA authors, and that exposed me to a lot of genres I maybe wouldn’t pick initially but that turned out to be amazing stories. So I would start there when looking for new reads. I’m also a huge fan of Six of Crows and Ember in the Ashes right now.

Finally, what do you hope your readers come away with after having read Sanctuary?
Mostly I hope they just have a great time with the adventure! That said, there are a lot of themes in Sanctuary about questioning your perspectives, being open to other people’s ideas, looking at both sides of morally gray issues and coming to terms with yourself and what you’re willing to do to survive. If people just want to enjoy running from aliens, that’s cool, but if the story makes them think about some of those ideas, so much the better!


Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.

Connect with Caryn:
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

What do you think?
Are you a fan of sci-fi stories?
Does Sanctuary sound like something you'd like?
What did you think of my Q&A with Caryn?

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