The Sanctum: The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock

The Girl by Madhuri Blaylock(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.

Dev, the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, is not what Wyatt expected to find when sent out on his latest mission. Believed to be hunting a killing machine, Wyatt finds little more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum.

Set against the backdrop of New York City, THE GIRL is described as “outstanding, original, complex, deep and intoxicating”, a “well written, unique…fast-paced read” that begins as one girl’s simple quest for revenge and evolves into a complicated tale of trust, friendship, honor and love.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that really stuck out for me as a reader was the characters in this book.  They’re all teenagers but because of their life experience you get more mature points of view.  Some would say that it’s not quite believable, but if you had to go through what Dev does in the beginning of the book, you wouldn’t act your age either.  Even Wyatt and the others in the book who are teenagers act more maturely and that really does showcase that perhaps The Sanctum isn’t as benevolent as they claim to be.

Dev was a pretty good character.  She’s the product of an affair between an angel and a demon and that makes her the one from the prophecy that is supposed to end The Sanctum and bring about the end of the world to boot.  Except when you meet her, sure she has a warrior attitude but at the same time she’s a healer.  She doesn’t want to hurt people that she doesn’t have to except when The Sanctum murders her whole family and gives her even more reason to hate them (other than the fact they are judge, jury and executioner for all magical beings like her).  Madhuri Blaylock sure hooks her readers in the beginning with Dev’s unique point of view and then she holds their attention by switching between Dev and Wyatt mainly but a few other minor characters as well.  It keeps the plot moving along at a good pace and although in the hands of some authors POV switches that frequently would be confusing, The Girl doesn’t stray into that territory.

Even better than the characters, the plot is very fast-paced.  It’s largely character-driven, which makes the frantic pacing unusual but for this book it works.  There’s a lot of character development (obviously) and there are some nice little slice-of-life interludes for readers to catch their breath but for the most part we’ve got mostly action.  That’s a good thing too because Madhuri Blaylock nicely balances action with dialogue so not only do we get exciting scenes, the dialogue reveals quite a bit about the characters themselves.  And best of all, she balances description with action so that the descriptions don’t feel like they’re slowing down the action nor are we left with the feeling that we’ve been dropped in a dark room of talking (and fighting) heads.

One of the things that was good but not great with The Girl was the world-building.  It was good because it was relatively believable because The Sanctum keeps tabs on magical creatures and kills any that cross the line and let humans know what they are.  Some of the creatures were quite interesting and I loved discovering Dev’s different powers along with the other characters but it just didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor.  Like I said, it was good but not amazing.  There weren’t any super-unique creatures or anything like that and the prophecy element to the whole story has been done before.  It didn’t stray into ‘meh’ territory but it wasn’t the most awesome, unique world-building that I’ve ever come across and there’s really no shame in that.  The world-building was solid, believable and for most people I think it will have that ‘wow’ factor.

Essentially, The Girl is a great start to The Sanctum series.  It ends on one heck of a cliffhanger and overall it’s a very good book with realistic characters, great pacing and solid world-building.  It doesn’t yet have that ‘wow’ factor but it’s a good book and I’m very eager to read the next book: The Boy.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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  1. mblaylock4

    Thanks for taking the time to read and review my book, Carrie. I am so very appreciative and thrilled you enjoyed it. The adventure only gets better, so I hope you continue with the trilogy. The finale releases on 2/4. Cheers!

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