The fire pops, hisses. War is like this: consuming, ravenous, feeding and feeding until there’s nothing left to take and all that’s left is ash.
Title: The Sandcastle Empire
Author: Kayla Olson
Series: Standalone (for now)
Publication: June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen
Summary from Goodreads:
Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.
Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.
Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.
This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.
I had no idea what to expect from this book when I pulled it out of the June OwlCrate box a week ago. I distantly remembered hearing some people talk about The Sandcastle Empire and adding it to my Goodreads TBR, but that was it. I didn’t know what it was about, who the characters were, or even what genre it was. However, I was excited to start it, and so I did. It’s not often that I read a book where I go in completely blind. Usually, I’ve at least heard something about it before – but, for The Sandcastle Empire, that blindness gave way to an amazing, unpredictable reading experience.
I won’t go into much detail because, as I said, reading it without knowing what The Sandcastle Empire was really even about totally shifted my reading experience around. Not knowing what was coming, or even the general gist of the plot/etc turned this book from another dystopian into something surprising, innovative, and refreshing. I have never read a book like this before, and I can tell you it is perhaps similar to something like The Maze Runner meets The Ruins meets the distant relative of The Hunger Games – ish. Sort of. It was crazy, and I loved it.
I think I really identified with Eden, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t keep reading it so rapidly because I wanted more Lonan in my life. Just saying. Also, the mystery aspect of this book had me hooked. I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON! I was so lost, it was awesome. Perhaps lost isn’t the correct word. The reader is in the dark just as much as Eden is, and figuring stuff out one step at a time with her, with no idea of what was actually happening, was a real treat. It was so refreshing to have a dystopian book with a mystery at its center.
Anywho, the characters. I adore Eden, like I said. She did kind of grate my nerves at the beginning with all of her longing for the old days of ice cream, but then I realized I would be just like her. I would miss ice cream, and hot chocolate, and texting. I would miss all of those little things we really do take for granted. That’s when she kind of changed for me. This was a girl, a girl like me who went to school, had a family, and had a life that was then all of a sudden torn away. It made her real, and it was kind of terrifying to think about. I fell in love with Eden because she didn’t give up. Even though everything looked like hell in a hand basket, she didn’t give up – even when she couldn’t see a way out into the light. She wasn’t even trying to be a hero – no grand plan or scheme to overthrow nasty dystopian government. It was just survival and a sense of right and wrong that sometimes got a little mixed up. I loved it. Now, Lonan – I won’t tell you who or what or why he is even a thing, or how you meet him blah blah blah. Just know this, I adore him and I want to give him a big hug and a bar of chocolate. Maybe a soft blankie.
The Sandcastle Empire was a delicious treat of a book. With mystery, some romance, high stakes, and twists and turns that will leave you breathless, The Sandcastle Empire is definitely a perfect book for a good sit down and binge session. You won’t be able to put it down.