ARC Review: FRACTURED by Sarah Fine

I received this book for free from Skyscape. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: FRACTURED by Sarah Fine
Guards of the Shadowlands #2

Written by: Sarah Fine
Published by: Skyscape
Release date: October 29th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 357
Source: NetGalley
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Of Metal and Wishes

In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.

Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela's authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.

As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?


Warning: This review contains (obviously marked) spoilers for Fractured. Read with caution. ;)

I know this might make me super weird, but I am a sucker for a good cliffhanger. Not the kind that leaves you hanging (hah) for no reason, but the kind that leaves your adrenaline pumping, your heart racing, and your hands busy pulling your hair out because WHY ISN’T THE NEXT BOOK OUT YET??? Well, this book’s final scenes handed me the greatest cliffhanger I’ve read in a while. Probably since Rick Riordan’s Mark of Athena.

Is this a bad thing? That might depend on your personal preference. For me, heck no – like I said, I’m a sucker for good cliffhangers, and the end of Fractured is crazy good and that cliff is crazy steep. So my knee-jerk reaction was to give Fractured 4 stars, primarily because of the cliffhanger and all the FEELS that went into the last couple chapters of the book.

But looking back on it with a clear head, there are a few things I can’t get past, so I’ll leave my rating at 3.5 with one caveat: the crazy ending is a solid 4 stars for me. I will definitely be anxiously awaiting the next book; but I just can’t love this one, in full, as much as I wanted to.

In Sanctum, we were introduced to Lela Santos, a main character who I loved. She’s totally kickass, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. In that first book, I was totally won over by her strength of character and loyalty to her friends. I was also a huge fan of Malachi, and the relationship he and Lela develop over the course of that book. I was incredibly happy with how things ended in Sanctum, and had exceptionally high hopes that Fractured would show us even more growth in their relationship.


However, I feel like Fractured took a huge step back, right into the norm of: boy-meets-girl, boy-gets-girl... boy-loses-girl-just-to-add-tension-to-the-plot. -_-

Lela didn’t let Malachi define her in Sanctum, and I felt like in Fractured, that was all that happened. Even though Lela is given the opportunity to shine as Captain of her little unit in the mortal world – and she does shine, she handles things with intelligence and forethought – I felt like, with regard to emotional development, she didn’t handle things as well as she did in book 1. In Fractured, once the two of them aren’t officially “together”, things devolve into the tried-and-true-still-annoying “I can’t live without my boyfriend” sort of tension, of which I am not a fan, and this annoyed me a lot.

So that’s the main reason for my 3.5 stars: Thanks to the amount of time Lela and Malachi spend apart in this book, they’re given no time for their relationship to develop further, and Lela’s own character development seemed to take a huge step back as a result.

[End of spoilers]

Besides that, however, there was plenty to like about Fractured, including one thing that surprised me.

After loving the original setting and worldbuilding in the first book, I was a little wary of the modern high school setting in this second installment. One of Sanctum‘s strengths was the development of the Shadowlands, so why bring everyone back to the normal, boring world? Well, while I’m still not a huge fan of overdone high-school drama, I actually ended up being more okay with the modern setting than I thought I would. We get a couple of awesome new characters out of the deal — Ian, just a regular high school kid, and Jim, another Guard.

We also learn a little bit more about a couple of other “realms” of the afterlife, which was interesting – I’m hoping we get a LOT more of that in the third book. And we also get to spend more time with Raphael, whom I adore, and I can’t wait to find out more about him later.

Setting this book in the modern world also gave it a cool paranormal thriller vibe in parts (the Guards are basically secret agents hunting their enemies while trying to stay undercover, which I enjoyed a lot). And like I said, Lela did actually get to shine while being Captain of their Guard unit, which was good.


In conclusion…

I enjoyed Fractured, but certain things that I couldn’t overlook (mostly having to do with my own expectations for Lela’s and Malachi’s relationship, and Lela’s own emotional character development) did stop me from enjoying this book as much as I really wanted to.

That being said, there were things I loved about Fractured, including the new characters, the sort of secret-agent thriller vibe from the modern setting, and the fast-paced plot. The final chapters are absolutely killer, and set up book 3 excellently, which I assume will be the final installment. Fingers crossed that Lela and Malachi get enough development in that one to make up for Fractured, but I think the probability of that is pretty high, and after that cliffhanger of an ending, I am anxiously awaiting book 3!

7 thoughts on “ARC Review: FRACTURED by Sarah Fine

  1. Is it bad that just looking at this gorgeous cover makes me want to read this book?! I know, I am such a cover maniac (not to use the other world, starting with w…). I haven’t read the first book, haven’t even heard about it to be honest, but this series sounds interesting, even despite its shortcomings. I do enjoy a good cliffhanger (we all complain about them, but when they’re not there the book falls flat, eh?), and I’m curious to learn more about the secret agent thriller vibe you mentioned in your review! Thanks for sharing!!:)

    Evie @Bookish

    • Not at all! I adore the cover too – and I also really like the cover for the first book! ;D I’d definitely recommend checking the series out. Sanctum is great, Fractured was just not up to my expectations — but I’m sure the third book will be absolutely stellar again!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

    • Yeah, the spoilers I wrote about really aren’t THAT bad, I just like to be careful about that kind of thing. Maybe when you read the books (and you SHOULD, because they are very good), the spoilery thing I talked about won’t bother you because you know to expect it! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I haven’t read this series but I’m a sucker for awesome covers and probably would read it if somebody gave it 1 star. I know… that’s really horrible lol Great review!!

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this one since I finished Sanctum!! I didn’t read the spoilers but too bad it didn’t meet your expectations as much! Hopefully I’ll get to this soon so I can see what I think! I don’t deal with cliffhangers as well so that makes me a little nervous but I’m still excited to read it!

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