Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire

9780062484871_0895cWhen all hope is gone, how do you survive?

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.

I read this book in one sitting. (Well, two. I had to take a popscicle break) while the first for chapters confused me so much, I pushed through and what I found inside utterly captivated me.

One things that drew me in so desperately was how freakishly real this book felt. All the things before Zero Day sounded like a normal day. And then the horrors that came after, the pain and loss and everything… the way this book was written made it feel like it was happening to me, to this earth.

I definitely don’t want to say a ton, because I went into this book completely blind and it made the reading experience so much better. Since I don’t want to reveal much, this review will probably be kind of short, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book!

Okay so, this book. The writing is lyrical. I’ve said this before about other books but with this one… I’m not kidding y’all. This writing is absolute perfection. I came out of this book wanting to paint these words all over my walls.

(Example) “I just nod, like some brainless bobblehead on a dashboard. Because what is there to say? Everyone has lost someone. Everyone is homeless. No one can rewind time and go back to the days where our biggest problems amounted to spilled nail polish and broken teacups. Dwelling on it won’t help anything, especially not today.”

“It never ceases to amaze me, all the things I took for granted. Before: when smiles appeared without asterisks attached, when tears were for more than just sorrow, when truth was black and white and gray and not permanently tinged with blood.”

Y’ALL THE WHOLE BOOK IS WRITTEN LIKE THAT AND HONESTLY IT’S A WORK OF FREAKING ART. I just can’t even. This book is what I aspire to have my writing look like, this book makes me remember why I write. I want to have someone feel this way about my books someday.

I’m almost done flailing, but let me just say before I go: this book is amazing. Don’t believe me? Here’s a few things it has:

(!) killer (literally) island

(!) a++ slowburn romance

(!) “please tattoo this beauty in my skin” writing

(!) it’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian survival thriller (I made this genre up for this book)

NOW GO AND PREORDER IT YOU USELESS REPTILE (don’t hate me! I’m just quoting a movie)


What book is so gorgeously written that you want to paint quotes from it all over your walls or tattoo it on your skin?


5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire”

  1. I’ve been hearing really good things about this one!! I’ll have to check it out. I’m glad you liked it, and great review!
    I love any writing from Frances Hardinge! Hers is absolutely gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

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