Unfortunately this is another book that I read a while ago but as uni began to get in the way, had to put off reviewing for a while. However, now I’m back into blogging again. Monument 14 intrigued me from the moment I heard about it for two main reasons:
- I do love my apocalyptic YA and fiction.
- It’s about teenagers staying in a supermarket after an apocalyptic storm. How awesome does that sound? Let’s face it, with the prevalence of alcohol, junk food and general survival supplies, it might not be a bad place to hole up in the apocalypse.
Therefore, I was really pleased when I received a review copy and finally got to read Monument 14. While it transpired it wasn’t always quite what I expected, I found it an enjoyable read.
I loved the setting of Monument 14 and think it was such a great place for the book. The setting worked so well and was a unique factor for the book. The only thing that initially didn’t work so well for me was the subsequent ‘cloud’ and the addition of the engineered effects that kept them inside the store. While I can understand why in terms of plot progression this was added in, one my first reading I wasn’t so sure if it personally worked for me and at times the characters felt a little underdeveloped. That said, I read Monument 14 in almost one sitting and thought some ideas of the controversial aforementioned chemical cloud, such as the differing reactions to it, were interesting.
While there are over a dozen characters within the superstore and story, Laybourne focuses on the story of a few of the older teenagers, in particular Dean. Dean is perhaps one of the more realistic male protagonists I’ve seen in YA. He isn’t always likeable, especially around Astrid-his crush- who at one point he borders on voyeuristic around- however he is not completely alienating which is a good thing. Astrid was probably the most interesting character for me to read and she felt slightly more developed than some of the rest of the cast of supermarket survivors.
While not perfect, I found Monument 14 a solid, enjoyable read and promising debut that fans of disaster and apocalyptic YA fiction would definitely enjoy. I definitely keep will an eye out for the sequel, especially as Laybourne leaves us not with an explicit cliffhanger but with a thread I want to pursue and read more of.
I received a free review copy from Hachette Children’s Books. As always my review is honest and not affected by the method in which I obtain the book.