Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14

Author: Emmy Laybourne
Release: June 5th 2012
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Survival, YA
#1 in the Monument 14 trilogy
Sequels: Sky on Fire (#2), Savage Drift (#3)


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.

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.


Well, that was interesting.

To be honest, I went into Monument 14 with pretty low expectations, which I pin down on the fact that the last two books I went into with higher expectations turned out to be huge flops. So I said to myself that I'll just have a good time reading this and not take it too seriously. So maybe that is why I ended up liking it as much as I did, but I do think the book has its charms. Looking back, I honestly can't find a single thing I truly disliked. It's not like I am super attached to the characters and loved anything really, but I also didn't not like anything, so ... it's a win.

I guess the thing about this book is just that it's unique, in its own way. It's unlike anything I've read before, and while it does include stereotypes, it also kind of ... discards them, and I really liked that. Like, there's the well-known nerd boy who's crushing on the popular, gorgeous girl who's already going out with the popular athlete, you know? But instead of the cliché of her falling in love with the protagonist like lots of books would have us believe, that did not happen. I mean, there's still a very, very good possibility it'll happen in the next book (in fact, I'm 99% sure that's what's gonna go down), but for this one, romance was a no-show (mostly).

Then there's the outstanding relationships all these characters have. I'll admit that the whole thing is strongly reminiscent of Gone, but then again, I liked the relationships way more than I did in that book. It truly felt a bit like a little ragtag family and each of them had some unique bond with one another. Like, there two really annoying kids that everyone couldn't stand at first, but they develop nicely and in time, the others see that they're not so bad after all; I just seriously dug that. 

Anyways, what dulled my excitement for this book significantly was the fact that after about 160 pages, it got ... not exactly repetitive, but it just got a little boring and lame. Now, there are stories that play in only one location that I have previously enjoyed without fault, so it's definitely not the lack of change in scenery. I do have a feeling that it was just me though, that maybe I simply was in the mood for a bit of action that didn't come, at least, not in the way I wanted it to. Because there is stuff happening, enough so that it won't get too bland.

In the end, Monument 14 really managed to surprised me. There were plot twists involved that I did not see coming from a mile away, some of which I'm super pumped to explore further in the sequel, and I'm a little speechless. I mean, the novel wasn't outstanding in any way, but I still turned out really enjoying it.

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