Stand-alone // Adult // Mystery // Modern Witchery
This is a quick read and an interesting mystery, that really kept me hooked. Even though the characters fell flat, and it did seem that some parts dragged on unnaturally, the town was complex, worldbuilding was good, and the plot was very interesting overall.
Sanctuary is about a coven of witches, led by the one witch brave enough to stay in her town of Sanctuary, Sarah. We get her perspective as well as the perspective of the three other women of her coven, her non-magical friends.
This book is surprisingly political to me, with the rising tension of what I think is an accurate representation of how the world would respond to real, witchy magic — with fear and outrage. People definitely rail against something they don’t understand, and the townsfolk here felt incredibly real in their response, blaming magic and witchcraft when bad things happen, even though they don’t understand magic or what happened. Although I don’t usually like politics in books, this political response felt so realistic that I leaned into it, I think it was the best part of the book, honestly.
My favorite character in this book was Sarah’s daughter, who wasn’t just not a main point of view in this book, but was barely in it at all. Though she was talked about on practically every page, it was always someone else talking about her. It made me feel like I was rooting for the underdog, but it felt kind of sucky to just hear about her constantly from others. The point was that we were always guessing who she was, but it just made me not like any of the characters.
Besides that, most of the characters didn’t act like adults, had flat dialogue, and I didn’t really get a deep sense of character from any of them, which made the book fall flat for me.
Just to mention it, because I don’t usually read adult and so it stood out to me, there is a lot of (off-page) content in this book. Though it isn’t explicit or anything, mention of rape and marital cheating are faced head-on in this book without any sugar-coating.
Part of the reason this book didn’t blow my mind, I think, is because of my expectations. I love books steeped in dark magic, but this book had smatterings of it without diving in too much. I also thought the tension would rise and we would get more thriller elements. Though the plot became past paced and there was a lot of action towards the end of the book, there were no spine-tingling moments or moments which made my jaw drop.
The plot was well crafted and everything fit together nicely, with a perfect twist at the end, making this a worthwhile read, even though I didn’t love every element.
Other August 2019 Reads:
A Witch Alone by James Nicol
All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis
Sanctuary by V.V. James
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa