Kenzie has been training her whole life to become a Prison Guard on Sanctuary, a spaceship prison designed to hold teenage "anomalies", or people with supernatural abilities. Despite her best efforts through, everything seems to be going wrong. She's secluded on a spaceship with no access to her friends on Earth, her parents have decided to separate with her mom, the Commander of the ship, staying behind, and the AI system the controls the ship has begun to act up. But when the prisoners on the ship escape and take Kenzie hostage, things get much, much worse.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. I haven't been able to read much Science Fiction lately, as many of the books I receive for review are Fantasy novels. I was excited to get the opportunity to dive back into one of my favorite genres, though. The added element of the teenagers with supernatural abilities was something I wasn't used to seeing in the Space/Prison break motif, though, so I was definitely intrigued.
Kenzie, as a narrator and protagonist of the novel, was likeable and relatable. She's smart, but sometimes gullible and naive. She's been sheltered from a lot of the hardness of life so she's fairly flawed. The other characters, which are equally important to the plot, are all diverse and complex. The chemistry between characters was fantastic, While it could be heavy-handed at times, I enjoyed watching Kenzie interact with other characters and how they all affected one another.
While the story Kenzie finds herself in is fantastical, her internal struggles are very real and tangable. She's worried about her parent's separation. She's worried about who she has put her trust in. She's worried about a growing crush she has on a boy she know she can't be with. The mixing of these fantastic and mundane storylines worked well and kept me hooked into the story from start to finish. There were a few unexpected plot twists that I appreciated, although most of the novel was about what I had expected from this genre and motif.
The setting of the book is almost exclusively on the ship Sanctuary, so the setting for this book is somewhat limited. There are some scenes that take place on Earth and the spaceship exists within a complicated political universe, that the author does a great job of exposing us to. It's just unfortunate that we're not able to see more of this world through first hand experience. There were elements of the rules of the world that the author seemed to beat the reader over the head with, like making sure the reader knows that areas of the world controlled by Governments are poor and areas controlled by Corporations, like where Kenzie is from, are wealthy. I would have loved to see the author put a bit more trust in her readers in this regard.
Sanctuary is the first book in Caryn Lix's Sanctuary series. I hope she continues to develop these awesome characters and complex plots while allowing the reader to see more of the world in the next novels. I'll definitely be watching out for the next Sanctuary novel and would highly recommend this book to fans of Science Fiction and the Prison Break genre.