Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla OlsonThe Sandcastle Empire
by Kayla Olson
June 6, 2017
464 pages

Goodreads Summary:
When 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.


The Sandcastle Empire wasn't what I expected which made the story all that more appealing. I ended up really enjoying the story- it was new and interesting. It also felt weirdly similar to another book I recently read.

This book had a really engaging plot. Even as I read I wondered what I was getting myself into. I was never bored and eager to see how the characters would fare. At its core The Sandcastle Empire was about survival. The air of mystery coupled with the eerie atmosphere made me question everything presented on the pages. I always felt a wrongness that I couldn't put a finger on until the very last part of the story.

The island setting pretty much made the story. It was wicked and unforgiving. The characters were stuck on an unfamiliar land navigating strange occurrences and trying to figure out the truth to their reality. As helpless as they seemed they managed to overcome many obstacles. "Survival is born as much from fear as it is from bravery." (ARC, p. 69). The unknown of their situation and the constant danger they faced had my blood pumping.

The girls, Eden, Alexa and Hope, established a fragile alliance with the boys, Lonan, Cass and Phoenix, that eventually morphed into friendship/love. Eden and Lonan were careful around each other at first but they slowly found strength in each other. Their relationship evolved at a believable pace and I hardcore rooted for their survival. I wish we got to explore more of Cass and Alexa's relationship. They had history but I wanted more of them in the present.

The ending to The Sandcastle Empire left a little something to be desired... Though it kind of felt planned? There's still much that could be learned from the world especially after what went down. There's definitely room for a sequel and I'd totally be up for one!

As far as dystopian stories go, The Sandcastle Empire is a great standalone read that leaves room for one to hope (for more). The book has also already been optioned for film so I look forward to seeing it on the big screen one day!
4 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. I never heard of this but it sounds pretty intriguing. Glad you liked this one!

  2. OOoh nice! This is what came in the Owl Crate box this month! When they said thriller with a weirdness--or something to that effect--I knew it would be something I would like, but for the life of me I couldn't guess what it was! LOL! I guessed the title for the first box I bought and knew it was one I would want to read...still need to read it too! Very nice review!

    1. I saw the exclusive cover! I might like it more than the original haha. I really hope you'll enjoy this one. It has a very mysterious vibe throughout the story ;)


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