Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Pages: 464
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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 the 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."

Imagine a world where a group of people, referred to as the Wolfpack, take over and throw everyone else into work camps.  Eden is alone, her father is dead, and her future looks bleak; that is until she decides to escape.  Along with three other girls, she is able to escape and they search for one of the only places left that promises freedom: Sanctuary Island.  Before Eden's father died, he left her a guidebook which has details about where exactly Sanctuary Island is located. Using this, the girls find the island.  While at the island, they meet other people resisting the Wolfpack and things seem to be going well at Sanctuary for Eden...that is until they aren't.  Finley, Eden's friend, disappears, so perhaps things aren't as good as they initially thought? Who can they trust? What secrets are hidden on this island? Kayla Olson's debut, The Sandcastle Empire, is a suspenseful dystopian novel that gives readers much to think about.

Eden's back story is an interesting one and I was especially intrigued about her father and what happened to him.  I liked that he left her behind a guidebook of sorts and she uses this to find the island.  However, I wish Eden was a bit more developed, as character development was lacking in The Sandcastle Novel; nonetheless, I still cared about her.

What Olson excels at in The Sandcastle Empire is the world-building.  It was truly an interesting as well as terrifying futuristic world that she created, but it seemed plausible at the same time. It made me think about the world we currently live in, our resources, and how we treat the planet as well as each other.

Dystopian novels aren't really my thing anymore, but I am glad I read The Sandcastle Empire. I can see why Paramount picked this novel up and why Leonardo DiCaprio is set to produce the movie. I think it will translate to the big screen very well as it definitely seemed like an action movie as I was reading it.

All in all, The Sandcastle Empire was entertaining, but it was not my favorite dystopian novel. I do like that it made me think about the future, but with all the upsetting events that are going on in the world, I didn't want to imagine a future Earth like this. So, I think you have to be in the mood for The Sandcastle Empire as well as a big fan of dystopian literature or survival stories.


  1. I feel like I've had my fill of dystopian fiction these days so I'll pass on this one. I agree with you--I think things are dark enough on the news in real life! I wonder if we'll see less and less of the genre. There might still be an audience for zombie dystopia though with the popularity of The Walking Dead. :)

    1. I know, right?! I am so not in the mood for dystopian fiction when sometimes I feel like we are headed to one. I am definitely going to take a break from this genre for some time. But I hear you about The Walking Dead....still very popular! Thanks for visiting, Christina!


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs