In 2024 in America, a sequence of natural disasters is taking place and millions of people are dying— a volcano erupts in the Canary Islands, which causes the island to explode; this creates hail and a ‘megatsunami,’ which triggers the largest earthquake ever recorded. All of this inflicts damage on NORAD’s storage facility, which causes a toxic chemical to leak into the air. At the same time, fourteen kids get trapped in a superstore on their way to school while trying to escape the hail.
I read this book in three days and I rated it a ten. Monument 14 had a fast-paced plot for the most part, but when it slowed down, it was the fascinating premise and the character interactions that kept me reading. The secondary characters all had distinct and different personalities.
Something I found interesting was that the main character, Dean, isn’t too memorable; there isn’t anything about him that makes him stand out when compared to protagonists of other books. I think that this actually contributes to the story because the plot is complicated, so having a stand-out lead character might overwhelm the reader.
Another thing I found interesting is that although there are thirteen other kids in the superstore, Monument 14 is told only from Dean’s point of view. Typically, in a situation like this, authors choose to switch among perspectives. Emmy Laybourne didn’t, which helped me get to know Dean better because I spent the whole book in his head. This also added some originality to Monument 14 because not many authors would choose to do this.
I would recommend Monument 14 to anyone who likes dystopian survival novels; this book fits perfectly into the genre.
If you like this book, the next installment is called Sky On Fire— I can’t wait to read it.
Square Fish Books, 294 pages