Review #13: The Sandcastle Empire


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 their 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.

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There’s a reason I got this book’s logo tattooed on my wrist.

My rating for this review just became higher than it originally was when I first read it! I feel like I understand so much more now, being a bit older than I was when I first got my hands on this book, which definitely helped shift and shape my perspective on a few things.

Kayla has to be one of the kindest and compassionate authors I’ve ever had the opportunity of knowing. And that definitely shows throughout her book.

In TSE, the world is in post-apocalypse mode. Those who aren’t dead from Zero Day are in barracks, essentially working their lives away just to survive. However, our MC Eden decides that she’s had enough of just surviving and plans an escape.

Though, she wasn’t exactly expecting explosions to go off or three other girls to escape into the open sea with her.

The first few chapters of this are incredibly intense and eye-opening. You’d have to not blink to make sure you catch everything. We’re given so much information in these chapters, so much important information, and I absolutely loved that.

Kayla really broke barriers with this book, and this reason was one of them. Starting off the book with intense scenes is a risky play, but she pulled it off really well and managed to effectively catch our attention.

copy of copy of copy of the reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. winners can tell y

One of my favorite quotes is from one of these first, few chapters, and I absolutely adore this.

The Wolfpack could have attacked as soon as they banded together, but they didn’t. They waited, gathered a bigger following—one large enough that more than half of rooms were missing—and then they attacked.

They took lives, they created fear. They were brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, parents, friends, coworkers, teachers, etc. They were everywhere and everything, and nobody saw it coming. They took the power and freedom from the people, and they enslaved them.

This is one of the reasons I love this story. This circumstance could very well happen one day, and when it does, we need to prepared for it. Kayla brought that thought process, that set of questions to us that every reader should have.

copy of copy of copy of the reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. winners can tell y

This is another quote that I absolutely loved. Taken out of context, it could mean something entirely different. But in the context of the book, this quote is specific to the mental injuries sustained from the Wolfpack on Zero Day.

Kayla really painted a picture for us in these first few chapters of this book, and I absolutely love that. She set us up for impact by the time we reached the next parts.

I loved everything so much more than the first time I read this book. I loved the development all of the characters went through. I loved the flow of the plot, the ever coming surprises and plot twists. Everything.

For that, I raise my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars. I highly suggest y’all read this book if you haven’t already. Trust me, it’ll be worth your time.

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kayla-olsonKayla Olson lives in Texas, and can usually be found in near proximity to black coffee, the darkest chocolate, Scrivener, and an army of Sharpie highlighters.

Latest book news:
THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE was recently optioned for film by Paramount, with Leonardo DiCaprio/Appian Way producing.

Internationally, THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE is slated to hit shelves in Italy, France, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Brazil, Serbia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and Germany.

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