Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: Review
By: Emmy Laybourne
Review by: Anna Rose Johnson
Monument 14 combines all of the thrills of an action-adventure novel with the uncertainty of a dystopian world into a page-turning novel. Fourteen kids end up barricaded in a Wal-Mart-type store, protected from the horrors occurring in their world. A volcano eruption thousands of miles away has resulted in a series of horrific natural disasters “beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.” Emmy Laybourne delves into the realities of sudden crisis and although the idea of it is horrific, you are entertained nonetheless.
I don’t know what it is about world ending type novels that entrance me so. But they do. Monument 14 was no different. I was hooked from the very beginning. Within the first few pages Laybourne has your reading taste buds tingling with action-packed scenes. My intrigue continued throughout the book as the kids built a safe haven for themselves inside of a supermarket – living off cookies and Mountain Dew at first, but eventually discovering how to take care of themselves without adults. The kids’ lucky – and let’s face it, kind of far fetched – placement allows them to survive despite the horrors (natural disasters, chemical weapon spills and general chaos) going on outside.
The narrator of the story is an awkward teenage boy, Dean. He enjoys writing and Monument 14 is his story of the events that occur over about a week. Layboure does a good job in creating specific personalities for each person. One of my favorites was a complex young man, Niko, a leader that emerged from the group with his expertise in survival training learned in Boy Scouts. Niko was able to harness the talents of the small children to the rebellious teenagers into a cohesive working unit.
The relationships between the characters seemed a bit superficial at the beginning, i.e. jocks picking on the less popular, but they matured and grew chapter by chapter. Because there was a wide age range, elementary school to high school, you were able to form several different relationships with the characters. The little kids were nothing short of adorable, each with their own entertaining quirks.
Sex, profanity, violence and a few questionable moments run throughout. Nothing you wouldn’t see on a TV show geared to young adults, the narrator is a teenage boy after all! There is also a rape scene, but I thought it was written as tastefully as something like that can be.
I truly enjoyed this book, beginning and finishing it in one day. Sure the concept is a bit contrived and the location convenient for an end-of-the-world theme, but it kept me entertained. I can’t wait for the sequel!