by Kayla Olson
Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10
Summary: Day Zero changed everything. As land started being swallowed by the sea, the poor rose up against the wealthy through a group known as the Wolves. Those that survived, now live in work camps and continue to be at the mercy of the Wolfpack. But Eden refuses to live another day as a prisoner and makes an escape. As she and three other girls sail to find Sanctuary, they come to realize that the Wolves’ claws are further reaching than they thought and that Sanctuary may not be the safehaven they hoped for.
5 Superb Things about THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE by Kayla Olson
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. Our World
The world that Olson imagined is actually our world in the future. It mirrors a lot of what is currently going on and also where many of us are afraid we are headed. One of the main parallels between the novel and our current world is the top few controlling the world, and all its resources. So instead of doing the best for the majority of humanity, decisions are based on what is best for the few at the top.
2. Moving On
One of the themes seen in The Sandcastle Empire is that of moving on. While moving on does not entail forgetting loved ones that have passed on, it does involve giving yourself permission to live even though they cannot. Eden struggled with this as she began to develop feelings for Lonan since her past love was killed during the revolution. Both Eden and Lonan have obvious survivor’s guilt but were able to ultimately embrace their feelings for each other and step closer to healing.
3. Not a True Wolf
Just as there were Nazi’s during WWII that did not agree with the teachings, beliefs, goals, and plans of the Nazi party and simply went along to save themselves and/or their loved ones, Olson included a character who did much the same in the Wolfpack. Alexa never intended on hurting anyone and went along with the Wolves in order to be able to help her boyfriend Cass who was targeted by the Pack. Of course, the natural consequence of this is that others cannot read your mind and therefore don’t know what your true intentions are and then become distrustful of you. It can really backfire as Alexa found out in The Sandcastle Empire.
The Sandcastle Empire is full of vivid descriptions of the beautiful scenery that Eden comes across during her journey. No matter the horrors that Eden lives through, she is still able to recognize the awe of nature around her and enjoy it. She doesn’t take anything for granted. Olson also does an amazing job of describing Eden’s feelings to the reader in a way that is powerful and at times emotional.
Olson really ran with her imagination when creating the technology that is seen in The Sandcastle Empire. Better still, they seem entirely possible in the future as we come to understand physics, DNA, and the brain more. There were so many cool and terrifying things such as beetles that targeted blood, a procedure that allowed a person to be controlled remotely, and vines that trapped you and then created life-like nightmares that were personally tailored to the victim’s worst fears. Hopefully we don’t make any of these but focus rather on creating things that could save us and the planet as Eden’s father did.