Alisha Marie's Reviews > Monument 14

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
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's review
Jun 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: e-books-i-ve-read, young-adult, dystopian-apocalyptic
Read in June, 2012

I have now reached the point where I start to read a post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel with some trepidation. I feel as though we book-obsessed people have reached the same kind of post-Twilight era only this time with post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels. We all remember what happened when Twilight came out. All of a sudden there was a plethora of YA books that were paranormal romances that tried to capitalize on Twilight's(some people say undeserved, some people say well-deserved, I just say it's annoying) fame. Now there are a slew of p.a./dystopian novels coming out which are trying to capitalize on The Hunger Games fame. If these were all tremendous novels, it wouldn't bother me that much. But they all aren't. Most of the time, it's a smattering of horrible, cliche-ridden ones, a whole lot of "they were just okay" ones, and just a teeny, tiny sprinkle of actual amazing YA dystopian/p.a. novels. So, trepidation was there when I picked up Monument 14.

Getting right into it, when I first started Monument 14, I was sort of baffled. Not by the way the world was ending or anything, but by the character of Dean. Here's the thing: not a leader. He isn't very active. In fact, for the first half of Monument 14, Dean doesn't really DO anything. Or at least not anything too productive. He just writes in his notebook and obsesses over Astrid. So, at first, I was truly annoyed by Dean. But then I started appreciating his perspective. Very rarely do we see a book narrated by someone who's an outsider. I don't mean that in the typical outsider (in high school) sort of way, but rather in the way where a character SEES the action, but doesn't partake in it. Most of the YA books are narrated by someone with a "take-charge" attitude, but Dean wasn't like that. Sure, it was annoying half the time, but I found him rather refreshing since he never really tried to play the hero.

When it came to the actual world ending, Monument 14 deserves tons of kudos. Natural disasters are just so terrifying to me because those things can actually happen (and as much as I love zombies, I don't really think that's how it's going to go down). I also loved the different effects that one could get from the chemical spill depending on which blood type you were. I thought that was particularly unique. And as always, it's the end of the world. So you just KNOW things are going to get more drastic by the day. And they do.

I thought the pacing of Monument 14 was fantastic given that a lot of the time the book just dealt with the day to day activities of children and teens. But I found the reactions of each individual fascinating, especially those of the smaller children. And despite the fact that the action isn't all "BOOM" all of the time, I found that this book was a great page-turner regardless of that. It also helps that when things got real, they got really real and really horrifying, really friggin' fast.

Now, the reason Monument 14 didn't get five stars from me? Well, like I mentioned before Dean was really annoying in the beginning. I'm not talking about his penchant for being inactive, but more about his constant obsession with Astrid. I always groan when there's a YA novel (particularly dystopian/p.a. ones) narrated by a chick and yet the only thing she can focus on is the object of her affections. But I'm all about equality and I just realized it's just as annoying when a guy does it. I guess it's more understandable in Monument 14 since things weren't really all that dire (when you take into account other apocalyptic scenarios) given that the kids all had water, food, and shelter and therefore, their energies were focused on something else, it still grated. You know who else grated? Sahalia. I don't like bratty teenagers and I do not want to read about them. And frankly, all those stunts she pulled? They were massively aggravating. One thing I like less than bratty teenagers? Well, that's bratty, attention-seeking, overly sexualized teenagers.

So, all in all, despite a few hiccups, I thought that Monument 14 was one of those wonderful sprinkles of books that crop up right when you get sick of all of the "just okay" novels in its genre. I just CANNOT wait for the sequel.

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