Last week, HarperTeen Publishing released their new dystopian thriller, The Sandcastle Empire, by Kayla Olson. The book’s realistic premise is haunting and the plot always stays one step ahead of the reader.
Eden is a member of the privileged class, but the world has changed. The lower class has risen and taken over, placing rich members of society in gulag camps under firm and tyrannical rule. Escaping a massacre, Eden and three other girls escape and take a boat in search of a rumored sanctuary island. When they find it, nothing is as it seems. When one of her friends goes missing, Eden discovers this island holds secrets that may be more deadly than what they left behind.
I enjoy a good dystopian story, but I often find myself disappointed by new additions to the genre. Not so with this book. It kept me reading. I had to know what would happen next. It’s mix of romance, thrills and betrayal made for an excellent read. You didn’t know who you could trust and who was going to turn on their friends. While I figured out Eden’s father’s fate from the beginning, the rest of the book had me guessing.
If you love dystopian reads or quests across dangerous seemingly-deserted islands, this book should be your next summer read. This standalone story is rich and complex, leaving me stunned that this is simply Olson’s debut. I expect to see even greater tales from her in the future.
4.5 out of 5 stars