Monday, 31 March 2014

Book Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

"Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.
Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.
But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran."

Post-apocalyptic novels have been the ‘big thing’ in YA literature for a while.  Generally speaking I quite enjoy the genre but with so many stories out there it is hard for something to stand out from the pack and that was Monument 14’s big problem.  Despite having a good storyline, good characters and being written well this book just got lost in the never ending pool of other YA dystopias to me.  It wasn’t interesting enough and it wasn’t different enough to make it stand out.

Monument 14 is an easy read, it starts quickly and maintains pace all the way through.  I found it enjoyable and it entertained me but I couldn’t help but want a little more.  Hidden in the wings this book has some serious potential I liked the idea of teens being stuck in a shopping mall and having to look after children as the world crumbles around them.  There was room for a hell of a lot of depth, there could have been sad moments, joyful moments and moving moments but that isn’t really where this book went, which in my opinion is a shame.

If you are looking for an easy to read dystopia that is well written and easy to get into then this book is great.  It has some great action, some funny bits, a hint of romance here and there and a narrator that is easy to like.  Dean isn’t an action hero, he writes poetry and sucks at being social but he is adorable and I really loved his voice.  Most of the other characters were also likeable but some of the things they did were a little unbelievable.  Despite loving Dean I think this book might have been more interesting if we had heard from some more of the characters.

I know it probably sounds like I hated this book but that is not true at all.  I did enjoy it and thought Emmy Laybourne wrote some pretty amazing action scenes.  I liked that this book was about a massive disaster not just the aftermath and I liked the disaster it is something that is plausible (I watch a lot of natural disaster documentaries.)  Yes it could have been ‘more’ but as a quick and entertaining dystopia it was pretty good. 

3 stars

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Published May 28th 2013 by Square Fish, Paperback, 352

Review by Kate Phillips

1 comment:

  1. This has been on my shelf for ages. I'm glad to hear it's quick paced and that overall you enjoyed it even if things could have been deeper. I'll give it a try when I'm in the mood for a "lighter" dystopian.


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