Reviews

The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker

iamdwg's review against another edition

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4.0

I’m no stranger to Ted Dekker’s work. I’ve read so many of his books, beginning with House, his collaboration with Frank Paretti. I also know the man is a pseudo-Christian writer. What I mean by that is, Christian, but more metaphorical and tasteful than in-your-face. I’ve read at least 15 of his books, but it’s probably closer to 17. He has a way with words and can create a world that any form of audience can love and get engrossed in. His books are also considered inspirational fiction, and I agree. It’s just that the rest of the books are usually so well written, and have really serious themes…it’s hard to explain – just pick up one of his books.

The Sanctuary, of course, is the sequel to his book The Priest’s Graveyard, following what has come of our dark religious avenger. To recap you all on the previous story, Danny is a priest that went Dexter and basically murdered sinners. He ran into a woman he grew to love, Renee, and in the end she ended up commiting a crime that Danny takes the blame for – which resulted in him being sent to prison for 50 years – which brings us to the plot of The Sanctuary.

Basically, Danny is transferred to a cross-shaped, revolutionary prison that focuses on rehabilitation, the right way. So many convicts return to prison because they are released as even hardened criminals than before. This prison, or sanctuary vows to change that the right way, but the problem is the warden is power-hungry and thinks he’s god, smiting those who disobey his orders. Meanwhile, Renee fights to find a way to break him out, as she is being controlled by a man that vows to kill Danny.

The first thing I want to mention is about the rehabilitation. I know where Dekker got that. Being a criminal justice major, I had plenty of tests on the same subject. A good percentage of convicts that are released from prison end up going back soon after. That is an absolute 100% fact, and I’m glad they went into that for the story, and it was interesting to see Dekker’s take on all of that. Now Dekker writes a lot of paranormal and fantasy work as well, but they all tend to be based around thriller and suspense. This one, like its predecessor, was all based on reality – although it is obviously very religious themed.

I’ve read plenty of his book where it’s hard to even see the religious tones of the book, I also know he writes in-your-face religious stuff too, but not as often. This is somewhere in between. Our main character is a priest, and the prison is shaped like a cross, and there’s a lot of talk about God and whether God is loving or punishing – so it’s fair to say that religion is pretty important in this story, but the way that it is presented is pretty satisfactory. Like I said, Dekker just knows how to write a book; tell a story.

Overall, we have a pretty decent book, but you’re forced to compare it to the first book, and it just isn’t as good. There’s so many amazing themes in there about love, sacrifice, honor, promises, etc. etc., but theme-heavy books don’t automatically mean perfection. I liked it fine, I thought it’s an easy read with plenty of great characters, but in the end it just didn’t measure up to the first book or many of his others.

Cool story, though.

mmeagan's review

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3.0

You know how there's the phrase "food porn" for when you watch delicious food get made just for the gratuitousness of it? This is the same but it's like torture porn. Watch Danny get tortured for chapters on end just for the fun of it.

I was so excited when I read there was a sequel to The Priest's Graveyard. It was one of my first forays into darker adult thriller and it was a ride! I really liked Renee and Danny and was so happy to keep reading their story in this one. Although, as much as I liked reading about how devoted they were to each other even while separated I didn't like that they were apart for about 90% of the book.


Another thing that caused me to give this book a lower rating was that I didn't understand the characters' motivations:
In The Priest's Graveyard Danny's creed made sense, but in The Sactuary he was wish-washy, and it was all undone at the end.  I thought there would be a message that love wins but he killed his enemies and walked free,  so even his character arc/growth was unraveled at the end reversing the character growth from the first book. It could have been done well if he was willing to sacrifice even his own creed for Renee - to play it that she is his first priority, but there was no internal struggle as he dealt with his actions of taking another life and walking free of his past crimes when the whole book he was willing to endure undeserved torture because he wouldn't break his creed. There could've been a better compromise of his love and ideals at the end: ie, Danny visits prisons as a missionary or or becomes an advocate for a different type of prison/rehabilitation of inmates.  Something to show it effected him more than just a one and done plot. ((Also they didn't wrap up Karney or Randell.))

ereidsma's review against another edition

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4.0

It is a bit gruesome and as is typical for Ted Dekker the story has a lot of holes in it that make it pretty weak, but still very entertaining, suspenseful and also thought provoking regarding punishment and grace, violence and love. Near the end I couldn't put it down and I was not disappointed in the ending.

From “The Sanctuary” by Ted Dekker

“In truth we all exist in our own sanctuaries-but I don’t mean cathedrals or prisons. I’m talking about out hearts and minds, which imprison us in anxiety, fear, insecurity, anger and other forms of misery. The walls the bars that keep most in a constant state of suffering are thoughts and emotions, not concrete and steel. It’s a disease. Insanity. Most are afflicted by it regardless of which side of the law they find themselves on or where they lay their heads at night. To be free of this is, Renee, it to be free indeed.”

“The truth is, the only key that will unlock the prisons we all live in is love. Unconditional love, like God’s. And even that’s a mystery.”

micksland's review against another edition

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5.0

This is why I read Ted Dekker.

This was a difficult read for me. I'm used to books with violence, but for some reason this book affected me more profoundly than most. I just attended a conference in which we discussed the broken nature of America's prison system (among other things) and Dekker's portrayal of the disgusting and inhumane treatment of inmates in the California prison system was made worse because I know it is at least partially grounded in reality.

Fundamentally, I identify with Danny because I, too, struggle with the morality of pacifism and the acceptability of violence in defense of others. I didn't love the conclusion to this book, but I feel that any ending would be unsatisfying given the situation- break your vow of nonviolence or allow your loved ones to be tortured and killed. There is probably no right answer to that situation. I appreciate the author's commitment to exploring morally ambiguous situations. This is definitely a book that'll make you think.

amid's review against another edition

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3.0

After being in prison for three years for a murder he has confessed to but did not commit, former priest and Bosnian immigrant Danny Hansen is transferred from an older, overcrowded state prison to a modern facility. The Basal Institute of Corrections and Rehabilitation, called “The Sanctuary,” is an experimental, state-of-the-art California state prison that is “hidden from prying eyes” of overseers.

Run by Warden Marshall Pape it is founded on new philosophies of prison management that Pape believes will allow society to finally reform prisoners into useful members of society. At the same time, Hansen’s beloved, Renee is on the outside desperately trying to save Hansen from mysterious threats against his life.

بعد أن كان في السجن لمدة ثلاث سنوات بسبب جريمة قتل اعترف بها لكنه لم يرتكبها ، يتم نقل الكاهن السابق والمهاجر البوسني داني هانسن من سجن حكومي قديم مكتظ إلى منشأة حديثة

يديرها آمِر السِجن بابي ، وقد تأسست على فلسفات جديدة لإدارة السجون يعتقد بابي أنها ستسمح للمجتمع بإصلاح السجناء في النهاية ليصبحوا أعضاء نافعين في المجتمع. في نفس الوقت ، رينيه ، حبيبة هانسن ، تحاول يائسةً إنقاذ هانسن من التهديدات الغامضة ضد حياته

donnakaye64's review against another edition

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3.0

I didn't really like this book too much. I figured out the surprise plot twist very early in the book. I found it a bit boring.

markalkman's review against another edition

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3.0

Even though I had the feeling Keith was Sicko from the start, it was a really good book. Dekker writes twisted stories sometimes, but always with good intentions. And that's what I adore about him. The Sanctuary was an amazing book and I think we can all relate to Danny or Renee, one way or another. My favourite part was the last bit, where Danny told Renee that he'd never intentionally hurt a person, but he'd do anything to protect her, because his love for her is stronger than anything else.

sandylovesbooks's review against another edition

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4.0

The book is not as emotionally gripping as some of Ted Dekker's books. I loved getting back with Danny and Renee. Ted Dekker has a way of upping the tension and he did a great job of that in this book. And the twist at the end, I loved it!

ingypingy2000's review against another edition

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2.0

So, I started the book gagging on the first two chapters. Seriously, I didn't think I was actually going to be able to finish. The overly melodramatic 'love story' that could rival Twilight was not supposed to be in a book that had a synopsis of 'terrifying game of life and death' and 'vigilante priest'. I got to the point where I was almost horribly fascinated by the thought provoking issues the author raises about crime/punishment within the US. I was almost drawn to Danny's chapters, but when they returned to Renee I just wanted to gag. By the end of the book I felt like I should be shaking the author. He did the dark spine chilling helpless suspense of prison well! I truly felt a few of the scenes and he wrote them well! Why would he throw in such overdone nauseating romantic-drama that overpowers what his writing strengths obviously are. Dude, if you want to work on your romance writing then get a nom de plume and have at it, but don't let it overshadow the good stuff. Even if you were to take out all the stupid romance (don't get me wrong, I have nothing against romance or love stories even in my suspense/thriller books, but this was WAY over the top in a way that only pubecent lovesick girls could understand) you're left with a guy who has the strength and the motivation to 'save the weak' and he's that way through the entire story which is what gets the readers behind him, but then you're left with some weak bimbo chick who throws a gun around acting tough in the name of love only to end up pleading for Danny to save her because she can't do it. Honestly, this read to me like Twilight minus the vampire/werewolf thing.

I wanted to rate this a one star, but by the end of the book I'd found the authors strong suit. He'd just hidden it.

dwheeler88's review against another edition

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2.0

I love an easy read, but not quite as good as other Ted Dekker books I've read.