Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
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Well…That Was Creepy:
A Review of Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
When I was a kid, my one of my aunts lived in an actual haunted house. I’d bring my clown doll with me whenever I visited so the ghosts would leave me alone, especially the downright evil thing in her basement. Suffice to say, that stayed with me and I did not grow to love ghosts stories like other Horror fans seem to. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoyed Sanctum by Madeleine Roux.
I found the plot, which some find to have a disjointed pace, was paced more like Gothic Fiction. Obvious tension rose and released until about the last fourth of the book where things picked up speed. I won’t ruin it for those who don’t want to know the plot but please click the below spoiler if you do.
Suffice to say, I loved this part of Sanctum. A book which takes its plot pacing from old Gothic Fiction instead of modern Horror? I’m in!This was achieved by interspersing tense scary parts of the story such as when one of the minor characters, Lara, is killed by members of the cult she belongs to and the main character, Dan, and his friends find her body. Or when Dan keeps seeing ghosts and is later forced to slice into his own neck with a scalpel by the Villain, Dr. Reyes, near the end with parts that are less scary.
Those who prefer a more steady build or for there to be no downtime in their Horror novels probably won’t enjoy the pacing. But I found it made the terrifying parts of the plot more terrifying than they would be.
It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the characters. I liked them for the most part and they’re mostly believable as well. Roux is really good with characterization that makes you feel like you know the characters. And I really loved the fact that there are two openly gay characters in the book, one who is one of the main character’s friends and one who is one of the villain’s henchmen, but it wasn’t mad a big deal about. Neither was good or evil because they were gay, they just were what they were.
But at the same time, this book is the second of a series of three novels and three novellas. Because of that, I didn’t feel like I had as great a foundation for understanding the Dan, the main character, or his friends Abby and Jordan. And I have to admit, the fact Dan kept calling a cell phone a mobile threw me for a loop. I don’t know any American teenagers who would call a cell phone a mobile. Phone or cell? Yep. But not mobile.
Roux is an excellent writer with a distinctive style that I enjoyed reading. A lot. It’s not wordy but also not too sparse. This allows Roux to pack a lot of story into a book that is not a long one.
All in all, I would say that anyone who actually enjoys ghost stories and loves Young Adult Horror should pick up a copy of Sanctum. Me? Well, I’m certainly looking forward to reading the other two novels and the novellas in the series.