Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Guest Review: Savage Sanctuary by Jacqueline Barbary

Jacqueline Barbary
Savage Sanctuary
Carina Press, 2010

Sexy bad boy shapeshifter Michael O'Dare grew up on the streets. When government soldiers finally captured and imprisoned him, he became a lab rat and a collared slave, never again allowed to be human. His escape allowed him to return to human form and head for freedom in the Western Territories.
Robert Hamilton-Scott had lived by the code "You're careful, or you're caught" for too long to take chances now. The one risk he takes in his carefully controlled life is offering temporary shelter to shifters on the run like Michael.
Robert knows it's definitely not safe to want the sexy renegade he's giving sanctuary to—passion is dangerous for a shapeshifter. As the soldiers close in he must choose between the careful life he's built or life on the run with the man who has captured his heart.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Shapeshifters, Alternate universe

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

*Review copy received from the publisher through Netgalley*

Guest review by Lis:

Savage Sanctuary by Jacqueline Barbary has been in my possession for a while, so when I looked it up on GoodReads to see when I read it, I was surprised to notice how many negative reviews it got, because I re-member I quite enjoyed this read. So I found the copy and re-read it, slightly faster this time, and with a more critical eye and I still enjoyed the story. Michael can hide out with me any time!

Savage Sanctuary only counts 85 pages and this not a whole lot for a budding romance, a past revealed, a feral wolf on the run from experimenting bad bad bad humans, world building and a siege. All in all I don't think this author did a bad job. Yes, I would have loved more background and more world building, because earth turned topsy turvy with humans who do a Hitler on shapeshifters. I would also have loved to see more character building and background.

Our main protagonists...well what can I say about them. The first thing that pops in my mind is: 'Mmmmm, instant attractions', because Michael and Robert are so different from each other it would be like comparing the sun to the moon. Michael is a feral shifter whereas Robert is a “centered” one. Wild vs. tame and throughout the story you get to see how Robert responds to Michael’s feral side and dayammm that is hot!

What did bother me about Michael’s character is how easily he is tamed. When he's brought to Robert's farm, Robert receives warnings about how dangerous and feral Michael is. Yet, you don't really get to see Michael’s feral side. He is a different person than the one we glimpse from his past or the person Robert is warned about.

Robert, on the contrary, is much more reserved and quiet. He has his life and his routines and the only walk on the wild side he takes is when he helps escaped shifters like Michael. He has a past though and it is about to catch up with him!

I can't really say that there is character depth in this story. Like I said, 85 pages doesn't leave a lot of room for character depth and therefore Michael and Robert play out the roles they are meant to. It left me very curious to see how their life would be after everything quiets down. There is a glimpse at the end of the book, but it's only that, a glimpse. It left me wondering if Michael would regain some of that wild side or if he gets bored or if he keeps on stirring the much quieter and reserved Robert.

Though there is a real ending, I would love to see this story continued.

The story is told from Robert's point of view with the occasional “omniscient” interjection. It's this latter that bothered me a bit because it sped the story up while I would have liked more details or would have liked Robert's thoughts. On the other side it makes for a different kind of story that fit the harsh world that surrounds the characters.

All in all Savage Sanctuary makes for a short, but interesting read about two characters trying to make it in a harsh world where it is hard to trust someone. It has it faults, but it is definitely worth reading.

Jacqueline Barbary’s website | weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter
Buy Savage Sanctuary here



  1. Hmm. I'm not sure I love the "bad humans experiment on shifters" theme. It doesn't sound bad though and as you said, for less than 100 pages there is only so much you can do when it's a complex world, however I'll keep an eye out for it and maybe pick it up someday when I'm in the mood for some furry fun. Nice review pointing to the strong and the weak points.

  2. "What did bother me about Michael’s character is how easily he is tamed."

    That was one of my issues with this book too. I think the story contains enough promise but it also lacked in a few areas. Nice review Lis :))

  3. Not sure about this one. We'll have to see. Nice review.

  4. Nice review Lis :)
    *hides in shame for STILL not having read that M/M book I bought*

  5. Tam: lol! I'm not a big fan of the theme. I can't really get through another book with the same theme. If you can find it on sale then it is a good read! Hot man lovin' and all that!

    Leontine: yes. I was expecting this wild man/animal that would go all Tarzan on Robert('s ass).

    Fixtion Vixen: thanks! How come? *is all curious now*

    B: Thanks girl! And shame on you. Maybe I should tie you down and make you read it!

  6. Great review! I might pick up this one next time I am in the mood for a shifter.

  7. eyre: you should! it's worth it! :-) Let me know what you think when you do! :-)

  8. Hello Janna. Just passing through and saying hello.


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