Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Monument 14

Monument 14
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Monument 14 takes place in small town Colorado where 14 kids, ranging in ages from 5 to 16-17 find themselves trapped in a Greenway store while the world falls apart around them. On a seemingly normal day, Dean and his tech-savvy little brother Alex race to catch their school bus. On the way to school, crushing oversize hail begins denting the roof of the bus, breaking the windows, and in an effort to get the kids to safety, the two school buses quickly go to the Greenway store, which seems to be like a super Walmart. Once inside, the bus driver goes to find help and the 14 kids find themselves alone in the store as the riot gates come down essentially trapping them inside, which may be a good thing since they soon find out that a series of natural, and not-so-natural disasters are tearing the US to pieces around them. The Greenway store might be the safest place to be, unless they fall apart themselves.

The plot was pretty fast paced. It definitely kept me reading up into the wee hours of the night. The story had a sort of Lord of the Flies feel with the older kids having a power struggle about who would be in charge and how best to survive. I very much enjoyed the whole concept of the story while the execution sometimes left a little to be desired. Nonetheless, Monument 14 certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story is told from the perspective of Dean, a bookish teen who is chronicling the events as they unfold. The interaction between all of the characters was fascinating. There is one particular character, a 5 or 6 year old named Max who told some of the most outlandish stories about his life. While there were a few crushes and hookups among the older teens, there wasn't any real romance in this story, although it seemed to be heading in that direction.

The writing sometimes fell a bit short for me. I felt like using the teenage Dean to narrate the story was a way to compensate for less than stellar writing. The story felt choppy in places and jumped around a bit and I would have liked to seen some more character development in the older teens. However, as you see by my 4 star rating, I truly enjoyed Monument 14 and I won't hesitate to pick up the next in the series. There was quite a cliffhanger ending and not much was resolved in this book, which is a pet peeve of mine and I considered only rating this 3 stars because of that. But I didn't simply because I really liked this book, despite its flaws.

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Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

Donna! It's so good to have you back. I haven't read this, not yet, but I love that's it's so engrossing and that it kept yyou awake. I have the attention span of a fruit fly this summer, I'm afraid. It's so hard to pull me in.
Wonderful review, darling, I'm so glad you're blogging.

Sierra Abrams said...

Great review! I think it's interesting what you said about the writing...I don't know if I've ever experienced that for myself so it'll be interesting to see what I think of Dean's narration.

Thanks for your honest opinion! I met Emmy at a Fierce Reads signing and loved her, so hopefully I'll love her book just as much! :D

Donna Smith said...

Maja, I'm not exactly blogging, just sharing my reviews from Goodreads to here lol. But thanks so much! This was certainly a quick and engrossing read.

Sierra, I'm far from being a fan of flowery writing and purple prose, but this almost seemed too simplistic. But then, that could be chalked up to it being narrated by a teen or that I'm just full of crap. Either one is very possible. lol

Wendy Darling said...

I thought this was pretty fun, too, if more on the superficial side. I'd curious to see what happens next, though. :)

I agree that the prose was a bit simplistic.

Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

Donna Smith said...

I can't wait to read the next one too. I generally enjoy writing that is more simplistic, but this was almost juvenile. BUT even with it's flaws, it was thoroughly entertaining and I won't hesitate to pick up the next.

Violet Hart said...

Hi! I read this book and loved it. I still haven't read the sequel. Wonder if I should or shouldn't...


Donna Smith said...

@Violet Hart

It's definitely worth continuing Violet. This one is faster paced and has a bit more excitement than the first & it really shows how dangerous the world has become once they are outside of the Greenway.

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