July 01, 2013

Review: Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne!

Title: Sky on Fire
Series: Monument 14 (#2)
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Published: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Macmillan
Hardcover, 212 pgs
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and a terrifying chemical weapons spill, fourteen kids worked together to build a refuge from the chaos. Then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, but also bringing a glimmer of hope.Knowing that the polluted air outside will turn them into bloodthirsty rage monsters, some kids decide to stay in the safety of the store. but their sanctuary has already been disturbed once...The others, determined to find their parents, head out into the darkness and devastation in their recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected...

Laybourne's sequel to Monument 14 splits the narrative between two brothers, both striving to survive while the world continues to fall apart all around them. Each experience their own dilemmas and horrors on their journey as they try to keep their respective groups alive. As a reader, you have to keep asking yourself “which brother would I have followed and would I have made the right choice?” because it’s something they constantly ask themselves. I actually like novels with two points of view... I find myself caring about what happens to them.

Much like the previous book, the beauty of this series is seeing the destruction and quick thinking through the eyes of school aged children - understanding their perspective and getting a glimpse into their thought process while they face very adult situations. It surprises me just how “grown up” they are and makes me wonder just how often we don’t give children the benefit of the doubt.

While it was a good read, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first for a couple of reasons. It felt a bit rushed towards the end and left too many unanswered questions (which I won’t ask, so as not to spoil). The most obvious example will be the last chapter... which attempts to summarize the end result for the characters, but ends up coming a bit short. I’m fully expecting a third book anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the book! Get ready for some bumps and unexpected turns along the way - there were a couple of sections that I literally gasped at. Fingers crossed that everyone survives!

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