The Sandcastle Empire – Book Review

Author: Kayla Olson
Published: June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★✰
sandcastle_empire_book_cover_-_embed_-_2016Before 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.

This book was in Owlcrate’s May box just as I was hoping it would be! It was marketed as a Lost meets the Maze Runner but I feel like there was more Catching Fire in the mix then The Maze Runner.

The year is 2055 and the lower income downtrodden citizens named The Wolves have started a war and taken over the country, forcing the one percenters into work camps as revenge for years of oppression. Our MC Eden is confined to one of these work camps. She has lost everything to The Wolves, but that doesn’t stop her from planning an escape. She has a map given to her by her father that has directions to the only known neutral territory left on earth. Sanctuary Island. In an action packed moment of surprise Eden escapes with 3 other girls, none of whom Eden knew. She convinces them to sail to Sanctuary Island, it’s really not that hard, where else could they go? Once there it doesn’t take long for them to realize that the island is anything but safe. When one of their members vanishes in the night they search for her, discovering just how dangerous the island really is. Eden is a strong character, she lead a life of privilege before the war but losing her friends, her boyfriend, her father and her freedom made her find strength within herself. She has to face many more hardships and challenges on the island, including conquering her worst fears and facing *SPOILERS!* It’s really hard to talk about much from this book without spoiling it!

I loved the setting. Husband and I are currently binge watching Lost on Netflix, me for the first time and him for the second, so this island was not hard to picture at all. In my mind the island was a mash up of the Island from Lost and the arena from Catching Fire. The plot was so full of action and suspense it kept me turning pages waaay after my bed time! I mean the book starts off exploding into action and it doesn’t let down until the last page!

Aside from some unconvincing insta love, which felt really forced and unrealistic, and a ending I felt was a bit rushed, I really enjoyed this book. I honestly would have given it 5 stars if the romance had fit in the plot better. I love that it is a stand alone. As much as I love series and trilogies they take a lot out of you, you invest a lot of time into them. This stand alone was a nice fun read. It’s over and I can move on to the next book!

I’ve heard rumors that this book is going to make it’s way to the big screen with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to it. That would be fantastic if it is true! This story was so easy to visualize while reading, just cast the right people (I’m looking at you Divergent) and this would make a great movie! Fingers crossed it happens!


Once again this was an Owlcrate book with an exclusive cover to Owlcrate subscribers. The white cover is the exclusive and the green is the original. I think I prefer the green one, but I still like my exclusive cover complete with signed book plate!


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