Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14Fourteen 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.

If I was trapped anywhere during the end of the world as we know it, I would so much want it to be a supermarket (obviously one shut off, to keep the looters out) so when I heard the synopsis for Monument 14 I knew that this was a book that I had to read.

I did quite enjoy this book, but I was expecting it to be fantastic and instead I got just good, average and to be honest there are far better novels of this genre on the market. I think my disappointment stems from the way that the synopsis advertises this big 'end of life as we know it' type scene with disasters and the chemical spill, but we didn't really get to see much of that which is a shame because there was so much potential after the awesome hailstorm at the beginning of the book. The beginning of the book was great and I was expecting it to be awesome but from there it starts to go downhill, our characters are trapped and we don't really get to see that much interesting stuff happen to them. I think that after the introduction and after the first time the 'O types' get aggressive it all goes down hill.

Seriously, there were times when I expected things to start happening, like when Niko and Jake are going against each other to lead or when the aggressive man outside the store starts to try and get in, but those things blew over and other than a few little fights within the group very little happened until the very end. I kept reading from start to finish and din't want to put the book down but this was more because of the anticipation that something might happen, not anything actually happening and it was a bit frustrating.

I also think that there were too many characters introduced in the book so none of them were really developed. Each character had their own 'perk' but other than that they all seemed very basic. By far my favorite character was Max, with his little stories that had me chuckling. I did find that Astrid and Dean especially needed more development, Astrid because she's a big part of Deans life but she barely got any development and Dean because he was the main character but he seemed so much younger than he was, my first guess was that he was like thirteen and I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn't throughout the book.

Overall, Monument 14 was a book that let me down quite a bit because it had so much potential but the action and character development was lacking. I will still read the sequel just to see whether we get a solid storyline or not but would probably not recommend this to anybody after an action and suspense packed post-apocolyptic book.

Overall Rating: D+

Book released by Feiwel and Friends on June 5th 2012.
Book received for review via NetGalley

1 comment

  1. I enjoyed the honesty of this book. From Dean's voice, which sounded almost like an ADHD-addled kid (very boy-esque), to the mental state of victims of trauma, it felt very real. At the same time, this was an issue I had. The book focused too much on the problems these kids experienced, from finding out how to survive in this brave new world to simple stuff. We find out about lice, making breakfast daily, tearing down walls. I wanted more plot, more suspense, more intrigue and action. Or zombies. Zombies would have been nice, or at least more of the last 100 pages.

    One of my fave young adult books is LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer. While it comes close to matching the compelling nature of Pfeffer's work, a post-apocalyptic story about a family trying to survive the aftermath of a catastrophic worldwide disaster, it doesn't match the level. There is something off about this, but don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it. It will just take a certain reader who enjoys the nuances of survival and doesn't need a plot to drag them through. There is a story here, but it's slow building, laden with tiny details about life and living and children and teens and the world.


Tell me your thoughts on the post, the book, the world. I like volcanoes, feel free to tell me about volcanoes.