Sanctuary

The Dark Days Series Book 2

Fiction - Science Fiction
292 Pages
Reviewed on 12/05/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Sanctuary is the second book in The Dark Days Series by Christopher Cole. After the zombies attacked Fort Denver, Sonny and his friends Ashley and Carrie had no other choice but to run for their lives. Miserable and scared out of their minds, they found refuge at Fort Gold Rush. They were safe as long as they were inside the city, but nothing was as they expected it to be in the city. Before they even knew what was happening, Sonny and his friends had to train to become the next soldiers that would protect the city from the hordes of zombies and creatures that roamed everywhere outside the city walls. The task was hard, but Sonny, Ashley, and Carrie were ready to face the challenges that might come their way. But would they survive the training process? Were they meant to be the next protectors or the next victims?

What a brilliant new installment in The Dark Days series! Sonny grew up and became a protector for his friends, but I loved how the three of them stuck together to support each other. Sanctuary was all about their progress as characters and highlighted how far they had come. They weren’t scared little kids anymore. They were resilient, ready to fight, and move forward. Sonny was sharper, more calculating, and a better leader for his friends. I enjoyed reading the tough-love relationship he formed with Grim. That relationship really shaped Sonny’s character and gave it depth. I really liked how Christopher Cole gave us different narratives to make the story personal and allowed readers to form a connection with different characters. I enjoyed Grim’s chapters, but Nathan’s voice was great too. Sanctuary is phenomenal and highly recommended.

Susan Sewell

A zombie virus is threatening the survival of humankind. Facing the extinction of humanity, military officials draft students from the ages of twelve to eighteen into basic training camps to ensure a future for humans in the enthralling action-packed dystopian novel Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2) by Christopher Cole. Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley finally reach Fort Gold Rush, but before they make it in, a woman claims that Sonny is her missing son Nathan. Concerned for her mental well-being, Sonny takes on Nathan's identity and moves in with the family. Before Sonny and his friends and family fully settle into their new lives, the children are recruited into the military. Sonny, Ashley, and Carrie find themselves ensconced in a basic military training camp outside the protective walls of Fort Gold Rush. Confronted once again by bandits and zombies, will their training help them survive?

Inundated with zombies, Sanctuary (The Dark Days Series Book 2) by Christopher Cole is a dramatic and intense dystopian novel. Including a stimulating plot, admirable and courageous protagonists, and a scintillating storyline, it is an unputdownable book! Told from several viewpoints, the thrilling horror story is brimming with edge-of-the-seat action and electrifying fight scenes. Picking up where the first story leaves off, this stunning sequel is filled with action, drama, suspense, and adventure that create a breathtaking tale to thrill and excite science fiction and dystopian fans alike. Due to the strong language, graphic violence, and blood and gore, the story is more suitable for a mature reader.

Vincent Dublado

Sanctuary is the second book in The Dark Days Series by Christopher Cole. Sonny and his friends are searching for a sanctuary in the badlands while encountering zombies along the way. They manage to find their way into the militarized city of Fort Gold Rush through the help of former Navy SEALs. In this new sanctuary, Sonny finds himself comforting a grieving mother by assuming the role of the son that she lost. The militarized city cannot sustain its level of security from zombies and bandits if they do not train a new generation of soldiers. Under the Black Shadow program that recruits child soldiers and trains them to kill the undead and other elements that can threaten the peace, Sonny and his friends undergo rigorous training and a series of tests and are divided into competing groups. Here, Sonny resolves to defend the helpless against bullying. As they learn to become lethal fighters, they will not only contend with enemies outside the walls but must learn to face the hard lessons that their training provides.

Christopher Cole has created a well-plotted series. The story of Sonny’s many tribulations, the choices he faces, and his relationship with his friends will drive you to reach the story’s climax. Sanctuary is not limited to the generous doses of shooting, hacking, and slashing the undead. It explores man’s existential crisis in an age of decay and where the survival of the fittest becomes the norm. The pace and development of the plot are well laid out and the new characters introduced into this installment are well-developed. The ending is worth the wait as you will see if Sonny and his friends’ training has truly prepared them to face the threat that is their prime objective. For anyone who loves a good zombie story, reading Sanctuary will make you anticipate the third installment.

Foluso Falaye

In Sanctuary, Book 2 of the Dark Days series, fourteen-year-old Sonny and his friends finally make it to Fort Gold Rush: a city protected from zombies and bandits by thick, high walls and a heavily armed force. When the close friends realize that they must train and join the Black Shadow program to defend the city against zombies, they begin to question if staying in the city is worth the sacrifice. Furthermore, different people and circumstances happen to challenge Sonny's humanity: a grieving woman who thinks he is her son, a cold killer who advises him about surviving and defending his friends against bandits. Is Sonny becoming what he fights against? Christopher Cole's Sanctuary is a fast-paced zombie tale that mixes intense action with profound revelations.

When I read books that have me deeply engrossed through every delicious page, they are usually hard to forget. Sanctuary is one book I will remember for a very long time as it was greatly evoking and thrilling. Brace yourself for extremely gory scenes that include gun and knife fights with many brain-thirsty zombies and wild, crazed predators. They just keep coming! Even though the protagonist is only fourteen, the book is not appropriate for children and young teens as it includes heavy discussions and descriptions of murder. Apart from the gripping action scenes, Christopher Cole projects different thought-provoking themes in his book: mental disorder, altruism, friendship, family, and sacrifice. Sanctuary is perfect for gun enthusiasts and readers who love the dangerous, hair-raising feeling of zombie novels. I did not read Book 1, but I seriously enjoyed Book 2 as a stand-alone and would love to read more books from the series.

Scott Cahan

Sanctuary by Christopher Cole is a post-apocalyptic thriller. It’s set in the near future after something has happened in the world that changed much of the human population into zombies. The initial event that changed humanity took place in book 1 of the Dark Days series. Sanctuary is book 2 in the series where the survivors from the first book have reached a safe place called Fort Gold Rush. The central characters are young tweens and teenagers. We follow them as they get acclimated to their new environment including a new school and military training even for the youngest kids. The central character, Sonny, has a heart of gold and is willing to do anything for those he loves. The story remains somewhat mellow until about halfway through the book when Sonny and his friends find themselves in the middle of a war with bad guys who want to take away the peaceful existence of Fort Gold Rush, plus zombies.

I believe Christopher Cole’s goal in writing Sanctuary was to take his readers on a rollercoaster ride of extreme emotions. His story starts off riding leisurely through scenes of school kids adjusting to new friends and to their new school. But then, as soon as it seems like the world in Sanctuary is going to be happy and carefree forever, Sonny and his teenage friends are thrown into a war. Soon the rollercoaster ride is zooming downhill out of control and Sonny and his friends are running for their lives and fighting zombies and humans at every turn. The idea of putting young teens in such constant danger was unnerving at times but I have to admit that it works. Mr. Cole has given us a strong cast of characters that we can’t help but care for. Then he cranks up the tension with all the fighting and it's hard to put this book down. One warning I have to give to potential readers is that this is one of the most violent books I’ve ever read. I was also surprised at the explicit language used throughout. For many readers, that’s not a big deal but there are some, like me, who would have liked a warning. That being said, Sanctuary is a first-class sci-fi thriller about teenagers at war. Fans who like violent battles that feature young likable heroes will get a thrill out of Sanctuary.