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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Our Sanctuary is the first book in The Valley series by Alex Isaacs, a novel that follows a cast of compelling characters as they prepare to face imminent disaster, only they don’t know exactly when it might happen or how it is going to happen. Alex is just finishing his last year in high school and has also won the lottery. He dreams of attending university and doing computer programming. An unsolicited email from a woman called Janet finds him preparing for a scholarship at the University of California. But everything changes when they learn of the threat of a virus that can wipe out most of the population. It has been on the news, but the details haven’t been very clear. Now, the group, including Scott, Greg, David, Rocky, and others prepare a sanctuary against the imminent virus. Can they survive it together?
This is an interesting story with a great plot and a powerful premise. It begins with what is at stake. The university has gathered the students together to let them know that classes won’t continue until further notice. Told in the first-person narrative voice of Alex, the story explores themes of family, education, friendship, teamwork, and survival against the odds. The writing is more telling than showing and although I’d have loved to see some well-crafted dialogues in the novel, the author shows great confidence in the writing, adopting a style that is unique and a voice that reflects the background of the protagonist. The characters are well-developed and I enjoyed the role played by characters like Janet in the story. Our Sanctuary is filled with realism and humanity and it is revealing how disaster can get people with many differences to work together. A good read with relevant themes and a strong message.