Sanctuary was an interesting mixture of Christian fiction and zombie novel (with an alien invasion thrown in to spice things up a bit more). If you love a good apocalypse novel, then this will satisfy all of your reading needs!
Author: Pauline Creeden
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Pages: 268, ebook
Goodreads Rating: 4.46 stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Some violence)
- Lack of common sense. I really enjoyed the second half of this book, but I spent a good portion of the first half wanting to shake Jennie, her father and Pastor Billy. They were just so dumb!! I get that Jennie didn't want to leave her mother and father after her mom got bit by a giant alien thingy, but once the hospital started swarming with zombies, she really should have gotten out of there. First of all, she could see that everyone who had gotten bitten was changing into a zombie, so she had to know that that's what would happen to her mom. Secondly, does she really think that her parents would want her to risk her life running through a zombie-infested hospital to find them? Pastor Billy argues with her for all of thirty seconds and then says he'll go with her. Couldn't he have put up a bit more of a fight? Then, when they finally find her dad, he won't leave without finding his wife even though she's a zombie lost in a hospital filled with zombies who happen to be walking around attacking people. Come on people, really?? I could go on and on about these people's annoyingly stupid decisions, but it might start to get spoilery, so I'll stop. I think the author wanted to really value loyalty, but there's a fine line between loyalty and plain old stupidity and I just wasn't on board. Luckily, in the second half of the book, the dumb decisions were dialed down and I was able to enjoy the book more.
- Brad. The book is told from the perspective of three characters - Jennie, Hugh (who was a teacher at Jennie's old high school) and Hugh's brother Brad. Brad is not a nice guy. Which is fine, except that he felt a little too unrealistically evil, especially since we were reading the book from his perspective. His thoughts were always along the lines of "I really want to steal my brother's girlfriend" without ever revealing his actual motivations. In real life, no one thinks that they're a bad guy - they justify everything they do and have what they think are good reasons for their behaviors. I couldn't see any reasons for Brad's behaviors, even in his own head!
What I Loved:
- Hugh. Hugh was the saving grace of this book for me. He was likable and level-headed, altruistic without being idiotic. When he starts to have feelings for Jennie, he realistically questions them. I was totally on Hugh's side through the whole book, which I can't really say for any of the other characters!
- Jennie. Once Jennie got over being dumb, I liked her too. As I said, the second half of the book was much better than the first and Jennie really grew a lot throughout. By the end of the book, I was on her side too!
- Faith without preaching. This book definitely had a Christian "end-of-days" theme to it and the overall message of the story is that you need God to make it through the apocalypse, but the author never has any of her characters preach at you. There are no moving (and cheesy) speeches about God's faithfulness, no passionate diatribes about why some people have been singled out for doom while others experience redemption. Just a girl who's in a horrible situation and sometimes prays a simple prayer to ask for help - who trusts that, when things are at their bleakest, God will get her through. If you aren't a Christian, you can simply read this as a paranormal novel and treat God like any other paranormal element in the book (there's aliens and zombies, for goodness sake!). If you are a Christian, you can appreciate the Christian message without being hit over the head with it. It's a win/win!
Sanctuary started out rough for me, but I really started to enjoy it as the book went on. If you are up for an exciting zombie/alien adventure novel and don't mind Christian elements thrown in, then I recommend you pick this one up! 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***
Praise for Sanctuary “Pauline Creeden managed to mix more genres into one book than I could possibly imagine. The overall concept, aliens attacking the earth, is straight out of Science Fiction, but then you throw in a few zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction with how the dead/sick humans are acting. Overall, the entire story was charged with the adrenaline and thrills of a suspense/thriller novel, but the mood was terrifyingly eerie like a Horror story. There was almost too much sensory information for my primitive human brain to handle. Still, all of these genres combined made for one unique and fascinating story. This kind of book is of the same flavor as The Hunger Games with its originality, which I really appreciated.” - Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
“Sanctuary is a fast-paced Christian fantasy thriller that is original and quite entertaining. The story revolves around Jennie and her family, Pastor Billy and his wife, and two brothers who are polar opposites of each other. Each chapter is presented in the point of view of Jennie, Brad or Hugh (the brothers), which gives Pauline Creeden's Sanctuary, a multidimensional feel. The three different story-lines merge into a full-fledged fantasy/horror novel that never sags or lets up on the action. While there are Christian themes present in Sanctuary, and Jennie's faith is an important part of who she is, I, a non-Christian, did not feel I was being preached to or proselytized. I recommend Pauline Creeden's Sanctuary -- it's well-written and a lot of fun to read.” – Jack Magnus for Readers Favorite
Author Pauline Creeden In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction. One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.