The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson #bookreview #YA #scifi

When all hope is gone, how do you survive?

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 their 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.

My book club requirement was to read a YA book optioned for movie/TV, and The Sandcastle Empire was snatched up by Paramount before its release date.  And I’d just bought it during a Bookbub promotion a couple of months ago so, an obvious choice.

The beginning of this book is absolutely captivating, and I fell hard for it.  An exciting escape on the beach, explosions, stolen boats with questionable traveling companions – I couldn’t read fast enough.  Once Eden reaches the island – wow.  If you’re a Lost fan, this island will bring back memories.  After one night on the beach, a character is missing – grabbed while everyone slept.  Eden and the other two girls trek through the mysterious jungle in search of her and experience extraordinary occurrences.  Color me enthralled.

Then the storyline ventures into familiar tropes:  insta-love, girls more focused on cute boys than on their fight for survival and appearing helpless – after they’d just braved a life-threatening, danger-filled trek through the jungle without the help of the male persuasion.

The world-building is fantastic, the writing descriptive, and the plot original, if a little predictable in some places.  Overall, I enjoyed the read, but hoped the plot would concentrate more on the science fiction/dystopian aspects of the story as in the first half, rather than introduce distracting romantic elements.

 

22 thoughts on “The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson #bookreview #YA #scifi

    1. Romantic elements I can deal with, but I was disappointed the girls changed so much once boys showed up. More of their attention was on the guys instead of the danger they were in. Overall, it was an entertaining read, Priscilla.

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  1. I haven’t read a lot of YA, but of those books I have (other than Harry Potter and your novels) romance seems to be a key plot point for most of them. Or maybe it was just the few series I chose to read. It will be interesting to see what the members of your book club have to say when you discuss it with them.

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    1. There are plenty out there that have romantic elements, probably the majority, but it’s not the primary focus. And that’s okay – the romance can be sweet and interesting. But I get frustrated when a character is put in a life-threatening situation, possibly seconds away from death, – and she’s more worried about how her hair looks or what the guy is thinking about her. I’m not saying it was that extreme in this book, but it’s disappointing. With the book club, we all seemed to be on the same page about it, lol.

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  2. I hope the ending was better than Lost. I’m still bitter that I wasted years on that series with no payoff at the end.

    Sorry about the romance angle, but I have to agree with Mae. Romance seems to be the driving force in a lot of YA.

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