Avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker, genre-omnivore.
This and all my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews
*I received a free ARC of Sanctuary from IFB Blog Tours in exchange of an honest review*
When I read the blurb for Sanctuary, and the bio Pauline Creeden has on her web page, I was intrigued! I don't read a lot of Christian themed stories, but the few I have read, I have appreciated, and I thought I'd enjoy the inclusion of biblical stories in a young adult dystopian.
Sanctuary is about a main character whose name is Jennie, she is nineteen, and at the beginning of the book she's quite self-involved, as a lot of late teens can be. Even after aliens arrive at Earth, with most of the water poisoned, and one third of the population dead, Jessie only wants to go back to college and hang out with her friends. Jennie's character growth is nothing short of amazing, she goes from egotistical to truly caring, and wanting to help other people. And the reasons are not simple or clean at all.
First, Jennie changes when her mom is bitten by some kind of alien dog, she shields her brother, and takes care of him. Being scared seems to bring out a lot of courage in Jessie, and she also finds a lot of comfort in her faith. On her way to the hospital, Jennie realizes that her mom is by far not the only victim, people have left their cars in the middle of the road, and the emergency room is more than full. Soon, those bitten change into hapless figures, foaming at the mouth, and biting other people.
Written in different points of views, Jennie is the most important character, but the two brothers, Hugh and Brad both have their chapters showing what happens to them as well. Hugh is a science teacher at Jennie's old High School, and Brad is his arrogant and jealous little brother. Through different eyes, the readers can see the scenes unfold differently, and even if each chapter did not point out whose thoughts I was reading, I would have realized it very quickly anyway, thanks to the different tone, vocabulary and the way the characters act.
I think that Sanctuary is a story with several layers, there is the story that follows each of the characters, sharing their strengths and their flaws with the readers, showing how they grow through this horrible ordeal they are living. Then, there is the aspect of the aliens, the terror, and the transformation both of the climate, the population, and those who are bitten. And of course, there is the layer that has to do with faith. All of the levels are well done, I felt that I got to know the characters, and even those I didn't like, I could 'get' anyway.
The aliens and the terror surrounding them is well done as well. No friendly little green men in Sanctuary! I would have been terrified to see those huge dog-like things, and especially Jennie's point of view is portraying this very well. The faith part of the book is well done in some places, and a little much for me in others. However, I think readers who enjoy Christian themes will love Sanctuary. It became a little bit preachy for me, but only in a couple of places, and I enjoyed the story and the writing, so there is nothing to be afraid of for those who don't usually read Christian literature.
In simple language, Pauline Creeden breaks down Biblical stories and applies them to real life in new ways. Her methods of teaching have brought new light to old scriptures. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.In her fiction, she 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.