At the end of Sanctum (2012), sweethearts Lela and Malachi found themselves returned to the world of the living to track down the evil, soul-destroying Mazikin that had escaped from the dark city of suicides Malachi had protected.
Back in suburban Rhode Island, Lela needs to navigate the end of her senior year even as she acts as Captain of a Guard unit that must work at night to track and banish the Mazikin. Joining her and Malachi are Jim, from the Blinding City of addicts and thieves, and Henry, from the Wasteland, that section of the Shadowlands reserved for murderers. Archangel Raphael provides intermittent help and healing but never as much as Lela would like. Per the now-standard formula of paranormal-romance middle volumes, Fine provides a nominal reason to separate Lela and Malachi—here, Malachi’s fear that his love for Lela will cause him to make bad decisions—and stretch out the sexual tension. This contrivance is made less irritating than it might be by the teens’ involvement in the student body of Lela’s high school and its shifting romantic relationships. Lela has to admit that the attention hunky, normal Ian pays her is pretty appealing. Alternating high school banality with the surreal danger of the Guards’ mission, Fine kicks it up a notch when Lela encounters the mother who abandoned her, now possessed by a Mazikin.
Between the expanded worldbuilding and well-paced suspense, Fine presents a sturdy-enough bridge to carry readers to Book 3. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)