I was immediately sucked into the circus where this book takes place, and the wonderful unique creatures that live and work there were so fascinating and seemed perfect creations to be a part of this circus. The Elementals are a people both ostracized by humans, and forced to band together to survive as they have been targeted and attacked by others. Enter Harrow, whose entire clan was slaughtered and who is the only survivor of said clan. This circus is where she has taken refuge, though she has kept her identity secret from most everyone for her own safety, particularly as she is a very rare type of Elemental, a Seer.
I loved how quickly Sanctuary of Shadows jumped into the story and immediately surrounded the reader with the world building in a way that made it seem so natural. I felt so completely immersed in this world and the Elementals with their struggles to survive amongst human kind and deal with their ire. And Harrow’s background and role as a Seer made me love her instantly and want more of her backstory and evidence of her gifts as a Seer. It was super cool seeing her work as a fortune teller for the circus while trying not to give away her powers and that the information she perceives through her cards was entirely real because of this.
I was also super intrigued by and immediately liked Raith, who remembers nothing about who he is and chooses his name exactly how I would have which made me feel connected to him in a hilarious way. The things he subjected too as soon as he was introduced made my heart break for him and I absolutely needed answers on who he was and what had happened to him. His character was very mysterious and I needed more, more, more because I was left with so many questions and yet an instant love for him.
Malaikah was another favourite character with her strong bond to Harrow and her extreme loyalty. She goes to such lengths to help Harrow out when she needs it with no questions asked. Not to mention how tough she is going head to head with potentially dangerous individuals fearlessly. So needless to say the characters were everything in this book as far as I was concerned and very much a contributing factor in my enjoyment of Sanctuary of Shadows.
Ohh and did I mention the spice? For my lovers of spice out there this book definitely serves with some significantly spicy moments that will have you fanning yourself while you read. Though not a huge part of the book, it does have its moments, and frankly I think the limited spicy moments works in this books favour as it focuses more on the story then anything else and doesn’t become overwhelmed by these scenes and risk losing the plot.
I was super hooked by the plot. It contained much character growth, with characters discovering who they were and reconciling their pasts in order to become more of the people they wanted to be than what they had previously been forced to be. There was love, betrayal, uncertainty, and heartbreak, all of which had my emotions all over the place and left me going back and forth on my own beliefs and feelings. It also managed to put the readers heart through the wringer.
I initially thought this was a standalone, particularly more as I was reading it, but I did see that it shows as number one in a series, so I’m now wondering if it will be like the authors demon series in that each book follows a different character in the same universe. I’m guessing the next character might be Malaikah, if so, as I feel she played an important role in this first book and her story just seemed to be beginning by the epilogue so it would make sense. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading more in this world and cannot wait for the next book to come!