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All 16-year-old Connor is trying to do is avoid his ex-best friend when he stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same secret chamber looking for an ancient being, things take an unexpected turn . . . and Connor's life will never be the same again.

Along with the mysterious Sally and, later on, his new friend Locky, Connor discovers the Monuments - gods who have been buried for generations - who created the world and hid themselves away from humanity to keep everyone safe. But now they're exposed and vulnerable, and Connor isn't sure who, himself included, can be trusted with the knowledge and the power these gods have.
Monuments is the first book in an exciting new duology from YA star, Will Kostakis.

288 pages, Paperback

First published August 27, 2019

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About the author

Will Kostakis

14 books304 followers
Hi. A teacher-librarian yelled at me to update this, so here goes. Time to talk about myself in the third-person.

Will Kostakis is an absolute delight.

In the past, he has written everything from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers.

Nowadays, he’s best known (but not particularly well known) for his award-winning YA novels.

His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen. His second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards, among others. The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. It went on to win the IBBY Australia Ena Noel Award. Most recently, Will has applied his trademark style to the fantasy genre, with Monuments and its sequel, Rebel Gods.

As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories. He has since contributed to numerous anthologies, including the ABIA Award-winning Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology.

An advocate for young readers and writers, Will was awarded the 2020 Maurice Saxby Award by the School Library Association of New South Wales for service to children’s and young adult literature.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Zitong Ren.
504 reviews153 followers
August 17, 2019
I received an early copy(and free at that) from State Library Victoria in preparation for the event What if Teenager’s Ruled the World? with the author of this novel, Will Kostakis. Call me biased since I did receive an early copy of this book but I really enjoyed it and genuinely liked the way that the whole ‘Monuments’ thing was worked out and the whole Gods being statues thing was honestly quite original. Plus the fact that the cast of characters is very diverse with a great representation of both the LGBT+ and aboriginal community here in Australia. I like the fact that it ends on a satisfyingly enough ending that leaves the reader well, satisfied, but also wanting more due to the foreshadowing done towards the end of this novel. 8/10
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
October 27, 2019
Connor Giannopoulos is boring according to his former best friend but when Connor skips class for the first time at his prestigious private school, he never expected to stumble upon a secret chamber at Charlton Grammar and if videogames have taught him anything, this is about to become the most excellent of quests and adventure is afoot. Connor just didn't count on random girl Sally Rodgers stumbling into his life, trespassing on school grounds and looking for her own adventure.

Hidden underground in four of Sydney's most prestigious and pretentious schools are the Monuments, Godly beings that resemble crumbling garden statues that have been in slumber for years and hidden underground to escape the Hounds. Humans who have inherited the ability to sniff out the godly garden statues. New partner in crime Sally has an ulterior motive, awakening the Gods who believe they are facing a grave and terrible danger from a local Hound who just happens to be a confused pizza delivery boy who thinks the ethereal giants smell like eggs.

The Gods are beginning to raise suspicion and there aren't enough wigs in the world to allow Connor to look convincing as a teenage girl, but when he stumbles across the handsome and also very gay Locky, he begins to realise that his life will never be boring again.

Monuments is an adventurous, brilliantly entertaining and laugh out loud storyline of mischief and mythology, written by one of Australia's finest young adult authors. Connor isn't boring, he's just a stickler for rules but he's feeling pretty lonely of late after his best friend blew him off because he didn't go to a party, a party he wasn't even invited to. He'd rather stay home and watch trashy reality television with his mum. Up on the school roof while wagging class, Connor comes across an underground crypt, a bizarre girl and a far fetched prophecy, it'll be a massive up yours to the friend who didn't want him. Good riddance to the asshole.

I loved the dynamic between Connor and Sally, he's sceptical of her at first but reluctantly believes her expired library card that she is who she says she is and seeing he has nothing better to do, tags along. He's even considering interviewing her for the recently vacated best friend position she's adamant she doesn't actually want.

The awoken Monuments are a little like naive tourists, they're also not entirely sure what's happening but follow Connor and Sally around the suburbs of Sydney as they try to find the other Monuments. They're a packaged deal, you have to collect them all in the great migration known as the Movement. Although they're Gods, they're not indestructible and practically crumble to dust at the first signs of trouble brewing. Before they pass on, they choose an heir to inherit their powers. What ensues is a lighthearted and hilarious adventure throughout the suburbs of Sydney.

Upon meeting Locky when Connor and Sally sneak into a debutante ball in stolen wedding attire, the unconventional meet cute romance is super cute and super gay, in fact Connor blurting out how gay he is. Both Connor and Locky are lovable characters and their romance is endearing, you can tell it's an Australian novel by the characters being accepting of a giant garden statue God and going with the flow. It's very much a case of no worries mate, she'll be right and I loved each and every moment.

Gay, Greek and Indigenous Australian representation with themes of family, friendship and finding your way. It's perfection. I love a Will Kostakis novel, whether he's ripping your heart out or inviting you into his big Greek family, his writing is superb and one of Australia's finest authors. If you love a good dose of humour, boys kissing and a Rick Riordan style adventure, then have at it kids. It's absolutely brilliant!
Profile Image for ALPHAreader.
1,117 reviews
November 26, 2019
Oh heeeeey! First review - HUZZAH!

So I have been lucky enough to read this already in order to provide an endorsement quote. I don't *really* know how much I can and can't say about the plot, but I will share the quote I gave in full so you know how much I LOVED this, and can't wait for finished copies;

Will Kostakis has long been one of the most authentic and wickedly smart contemporary young adult authors writing in Australia. But with Monuments he switches genres, shows his range, and reasserts himself as a force to be reckoned with in YA - not just locally, but internationally too.

Monuments turns Sydney and school legend into mythology and magic. A rare alchemy of characters, pace and heart that Kostakis wields and weaves with epic results. A book about what lies dormant within all of us, until we are called to action and forced to reveal the hero within.

Will Kostakis is simply magic, and so is this new book from him.
Profile Image for Neeks.
130 reviews942 followers
November 12, 2019
When I first heard that Will Kostakis was bringing out a YA fantasy novel, I was extremely excited! While I wasn’t sure what to expect, I do love Will’s writing and adored The First Third and The Sidekicks.

If I could describe Monuments in one word, it would be: F U N

Basically, it follows the story of a boy named Connor who stumbles across a puzzle room, accidently solves it, and then accidently releases the god/statue… ahem, monument out of it’s slumber. Connor ends up following Sally, a Guardian, on an adventure around Sydney to wake up the monuments and relocate them in order for them to be protected. I hate to say the obvious here, but reading Monuments gave me major Percy Jackson vibes! It was easy to digest, entertaining, funny and a touch plot-convenient at times.

I have to admit, one of the main things that wasn’t vibing with me was the fact that these super immortal gods would crumble to dust by like, a shoulder wound… But I could also forgive that because I definitely see how it’s making room for book 2 and how it pushes the characters to grow.

The characters were great! Will has this way of writing characters that each feel unique with their own characteristics and personalities, and they all feel very real. Will accomplished this in The First Third and The Sidekicks, and he definitely accomplished it in Monuments! Connor is also gay (#ownvoices rep!) and falls for a boy and while at the end I ended up being totally on board with them as a couple, I felt it was a bit insta-lovey and I just wish we had a bit more development.

Monuments has all of the hilarious charm that I have come to expect from Will Kostakis, with great characters and an exciting plot that will keep you turning the pages! This book was so easy and fun to read, I read it in two sittings and couldn’t put it down!

Thankyou so much to Hachette Australia for the Advance Review Copy!
Profile Image for K..
3,689 reviews1,007 followers
September 16, 2019
Trigger warnings: death, violence, end of a friendship.

I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Will Kostakis' other books so I was really curious to see what he could do with a new genre. I was a little hesitant when I first started because it basically hurls you straight into the action and I felt like I didn't quite know the characters yet.

But it proved to be pretty stinking delightful. It's fast paced and full of action and it reminded me a lot of a Rick Riordan book, but set in Sydney and with a non-specific mythology to the gods in question. There's a ton of diversity in the story which was utterly delightful. I had the pleasure of hearing Will Kostakis speak about his writing career and this book specifically on the day I finished it and hearing the passion with which he speaks about this story and its sequel was fantastic.
Profile Image for Bexnbookx.
251 reviews100 followers
August 26, 2019
Want to see me talk about books? Check out my Youtube Channel: Bexnbookx

Monuments is a quirky urban fantasy filled with diversity and representation, and an adventure that is really unique.

I received a free copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review. All my thoughts and comments are entirely my own.

Monuments follows 16-year-old Connor, who after a friend-breakup, is attempting to stop following the rules when he stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same chamber looking for an ancient being who is responsible for the creation of the world, things take an unexpected turn and Connor's life is altered forever.

Connor, along with the mysterious Sally and his new friend Locky, discover the Monuments - Gods who have been buried for generations. But the Monuments are now exposed, vulnerable and Connor isn't sure who can be trusted with the knowledge and the power these Gods possess.

The synopsis of Monuments grabbed my attention when I first saw it. The concept of Gods creating the world, but then being locked away and hidden for the safety of humanity was really interesting and I was excited to see how this journey played out. Not only that but another thing that drew me to this story was the fact that it was written by an Australian author, AND is also set in Sydney which I think it important for Australian readers. It's rare that as Australians we see ourselves in writing, but Will really invests the time into adding these details which make this book special for readers.

What I will say going into this review is that I believe this is targeted at a younger audience than I fall into. I am in no way near the 16-year-old range, and therefore at points in the story this felt too young for me.

Monuments is written in first person point of view following our main character Connor, and although I liked reading this novel, there isn't anything that grabbed my attention in terms of the writing style. It was quite basic and read young, but allowed the plot to really shine through.

The plot was fast paced and included twists and turns that kept me engaged while reading. I liked the subtle under-tones of the story that mainly surrounded power and how it can be corrupted. I think Will weaved these notions into the story really well, and I can appreciate how this would be beneficial for younger readers especially as the vibe of the story was still very light and bright.

The characters were diverse, complex and extremely likable. Our main character Connor was pushing himself outside of his comfort zone which I loved seeing, and he also had incredible development from the young boy we saw trying to get his friend back, to the person we saw develop at the end of the story. There was a lot to like about his character, but the interactions had with the side characters were some of my favourite parts of this story! All the characters in this story were developed well and had unique personalities which really made for entertaining dialogue between the three leads. However, I did find that during the course of the novel, some of the character’s behaviour wasn't specifically realistic to situations they encountered. I think a little more realism would have benefited the story, which in turn would have made the characters more relatable.

This story was full of diversity and representation. I really enjoyed the m/m romance that unfolded and although I cannot speak to the representation specifically, I know the author is an own voices author which is really important. Personally I think Monuments will be really special for a lot of young Australians.

Overall, I enjoyed Monuments. It did feel a little young for me, but it was a unique story which I really appreciated with characters that I really enjoyed following.

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase Monuments by Will Kostakis from Book Depository and receive FREE SHIPPING: https://www.bookdepository.com/Monume...
Profile Image for Bubbles.
85 reviews53 followers
September 5, 2019
Thanks to the State Library of Victoria for sending me a copy of this book for the event I moderated a couple of days ago with Will Kostakis!! (also it was so much fun!! I loved meeting him and yes!! 'twas brilliant :D )

Go and read this book if you like fast-paced light-hearted fantasy novels featuring diverse, three-dimensional characters and a very well-built fantasy world! The premise will hook you from the start, I promise!
Profile Image for Megan.
457 reviews74 followers
September 14, 2019
I always knew that I was the kind of reader who would forgive a lot of flaws in exchange for a charming protagonist, but I guess I never realised just HOW many flaws.

Like, this book. This book. Set it Sydney, which was cool. An aboriginal character, which I love to see. And the plot, on paper, is interesting and full of neat reveals. But.

Ok, so, say you're walking down to the shops. And you turn the corner, and there's a parade just parading down the street. Floats and people on stilts and the whole bit. You'd be pretty surprised and you'd wonder what the occasion was, but you'd also just kinda shrug and go with it, right? Huh, a parade. Cool.

This is basically the exact reaction every single character in this book gives to every shocking reveal.

Hey, gods are real! What! Huh, ok.
Hey, you're a god now! What! Huh, ok.
Hey, time travel! What! Huh, ok.
Hey, I've shot you and you're about to die. What! Huh, ok.

Everything is instantly accepted. Also basically instant is the solution to any and all problems. Needed items are found on the next page. These hundred-year-old hidden sanctuaries are found within hours, and the puzzles inside are solved within seconds.

It makes it feel like everything is being rushed through, a feeling that gets worse towards the end of the book. The prose grows choppy and starts to feel more like a cliff notes version of this story than the story itself. And there's this one bit at the end which, no spoilers, but the characters were about do something and I thought, well that's obviously really dumb because 'x' has already happened a bunch of times... And they do it. And 'x' happens again. And, just. Siiiiigh.

And yet. Look up there. Look at those stars. Four of those suckers, and I don't regret a one. Because all of these many, many flaws are delivered to us via the most charming and hilarious protagonist, Connor. Connor easily save this book, and this book needed a lot of saving so that's doubly impressive. He reminded me A LOT of Eliot from Sarah Rees Brennan's brilliant In Other Lands, and I wish this book could have been longer or at least paced slower so there could have been more quiet moments with him. He made this mess completely enjoyable.

So, four stars for Eliot but a whole lot less stars for the rest of it.
Profile Image for Annie.
657 reviews17 followers
August 30, 2019
“Crafting something, seeing that creation flourish, that is what satiates us, not the size of our followings.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having read all of Will’s work to date, I can see how much he has grown as a writer and he’s done so well with this book. From setting the scene and developing the story that started in a school and embarked into a whole new world. Will did really well in bringing out important teen issues that include friendships and fall outs, change, sexuality and coming to terms with your own identity.

The story is full of fast paced, exhilarating adventure that is set in Sydney and intertwined with mythology and suspense. I love mythology so having this as a strong element in the story was awesome. I felt the way the gods are portrayed in this story was clever and different. Will also did very well capturing most of Sydney in this book, particularly western Sydney as it’s an area most often overlooked in literature (GO BLACKTOWN!)

I enjoyed following this story from the protagonist, Con’s perspective but I have to say my favourite character is Locky. I loved his chilled nature and his intellect. I was able to relate to him as he really reminded me of me when I was in high school (wanting to study international relations and politics to work for the Australian public service) lol

“Life is not some static thing that is made and left alone, it constantly remakes itself. Life requires attention, nurturing..”

Fast paced and easy to be engrossed in. I highly recommend to YA readers ages 14 years and up who enjoy fast paced adventure with contemporary friendships and romance and strong presence of mythology.

“A life spent running is not one lived...”

Special thanks to Date a Book YA - Hachette Publishers for sending me an advanced review copy of this book.

Due for release: August/September 2019
Profile Image for Jess Best.
198 reviews14 followers
May 28, 2019
It was so good to finally get a ya fantasy set in Australia and be able to picture the places in the book because I’ve been there.
Also I was super keen to read this because I love Will Kostakis, who (unsurprisingly) remains an icon
Profile Image for Jenny (Bookbookowl).
559 reviews231 followers
August 27, 2019
Thank you so much to Hachette Children’s Books for providing me with a copy of Monuments, in exchange for an honest review.

Connor is going through a friend-divorce, when he tries to prove to his ex-best friend he is not the boring teenager he has accused him of being. A simple ‘skip class and hide out with some snacks’ becomes something much more when it backfires and his friend doesn’t turn up. Because then there’s time for Connor to stumble upon a trapdoor. And a girl. A girl who just wants him to go away. But since he’s already on a mission not to be boring, what harm could it do to insist she lets him check out the secret chamber under the school?

Seeing as though Connor has now inadvertently become involved in Sally’s secret mission, she reluctantly lets him tag along, just for a few hours. But they’ve woken up a God and are racing against time to discover where the rest of them are and how to keep them safe. When things really start to go pear shaped, Connor finds himself in an impossible, life changing situation. Right when his life has just started to look up, because he’s just met Locky.

Set in Australia, Monuments was such an original and fun book. I loved the dynamic between Connor and Locky and some of their conversations were downright hilarious. The story was fast paced and interesting – it actually packed a lot into its 280 pages! I loved the adventure style writing and the mythology that was woven in to it. There were some important themes addressed, such as changing friendships, sexuality and finding where you fit in the world.



Profile Image for Emily.
508 reviews9 followers
September 17, 2019
I feel that I should have reviewed this before going to the book launch tonight as now I feel my opinion has been swayed after meeting Will Kostakis. If you ever get a chance to meet Will you should take it up as he is an amazing and funny human being. 'Monuments' was the first of Will's books that I've ever read and although I did enjoy it, I felt that parts of it could have been improved. 'Monuments' is his first fantasy novel so his writing lacks descriptions and world building, especially in regards to the lore. He has banter and the contemporary elements down pat though which is great. I think my favourite part of the book is Connor's flirting. I'm intrigued as to where Will takes the sequel.
Profile Image for Blue.
1,549 reviews83 followers
August 10, 2019
I love me an original idea.
Monuments was 100% one of the most unique ideas and stories that I have ever read. I mean statue gods? Brilliant!!
Besides the overall story of the book the characters where really amazing, they were bright, funny and an edge to them.
The pace of the book was incredible fast, with one twist following another and different elements making the plot highly enjoyable.
I wasn’t a big fan of the character’s reactions though. I mean can you really be that cool calm and collected when you are talking to a massive monument statue? To be fair Connor was too calm about this whole thing, which didn’t really do it for me. I mean in comparison if you look at Rick Riordan’s books, his characters have a normal reaction to unbelievable things.
Profile Image for Lainy122.
650 reviews28 followers
September 13, 2019
A fun, romping adventure book! This felt more like a middle grade book than a YA to me, and would be perfectly fine for 8-12 rather than the 12+ age bracket. The main reason I say this is because there were a few things that were simplified and skimmed over that I felt would have been delved into a bit more, if this was aimed at a slightly older audience.
I liked the casual queerness of the main character and how his sexuality wasn't a Big Deal, and the love interest was adorably sweet and the relationship was cute to see unfurl. I would have liked to see a few of the plot points explored in more depth - everything felt a bit cartoon-ish with how quickly we jumped from event to event, and it would have been nice to linger more in some areas.
I enjoyed the author's previous novel more than this one, but I still thought this was some great fun and will definitely be picking up the next one!
Profile Image for Kat.
87 reviews26 followers
September 25, 2019
I'm sorry, but this wasn't for me... I was really excited to read this especially after meeting Will a few weeks ago and loving how he was talking about his book. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed. One of the main characters was really annoying, all of them seemed younger than what they were supposed to be and I feel like their reactions to all of the events weren't believable. And some of those events were just ridiculous, I'm sorry...
I think this book would be great for younger readers, so maybe I'm just too old for this 🤷🏻‍♀️
2.5 stars
Profile Image for XXK.
520 reviews14 followers
March 27, 2020
It was light, funny and the romance was really cute and not cliche! The book kinda had everything, powers, flying, time travelling... which was great but also a little too much I thought.
Profile Image for Emma.
81 reviews10 followers
July 11, 2019
A fabulous light, fun and action packed fantasy with wonderful depiction of family relationships and cuuuute boy/boy flirtation, Sydney setting and brain twisting time travel (disclaimer:not a regular fantasy reader!😜)
Profile Image for Trisha.
1,939 reviews97 followers
October 19, 2019
This might seem like a new direction for Will Kostakis, whose previous books have been contemporaries for older audiences, but it’s actually not. The snarky observations and modern language run rife through the story, making it just as funny as the The First Third, just as insightful as The Sidekicks, and just as topical as Loathing Lola.

While Connor is sixteen, the novel is deliberately targeted at a younger audience. The language is clean, and the romance low-key, keeping the focus on the tight, controlled narrative. Not a word is wasted, as every action, scene and conversation connects plot points cleverly. Its circular structure provides much of the heart and heroics, and sets readers up beautifully for the concluding novel to come.

There’s no doubt that Connor is an authentic teen. Encountering the Monuments, with their talk of responsibility and sacrifice challenges him, but it’s not a stretch, since he’s already a kid with a strong ethical stance. Ironically, it’s his desire to show ex best friend Olly that he can live a little dangerously, that leads him down this path of saving the world. There are sustained moments of sweetness and sadness among all the action, a balance that works to great effect.

Monuments treats young readers with respect, and we loved it for its banter and boldness.
Profile Image for Cal McKinley.
34 reviews
May 30, 2019
This book was a wild, action packed, over the top adventure and I loved every page of it. Having a YA fantasy set in Sydney was great, at one point I was reading a scene where I was making the exact same train journey that the characters were making, right down to the model of train. The romance was nice, and gay, which always makes romance in a book more enjoyable for me. The story was compelling and engaging and overall a fun ride.
Profile Image for Aimee.
124 reviews3 followers
June 23, 2020
Rating: 3.5 stars

This book has some serious momentum and pacing, it gives you about 10 pages before it sweeps you off your feet from the contemporary setting and drops you into an alt-reality with mythical gods and long hidden prophecies. You'll get a healthy dose of family drama, a queer MC, unexpected allies and friends and one heck of a plot twist in the closing chapters. If you're read anything by Will Kostakis before, you'll also be treated to a big dose of his usual own voices charm (his MC's are often a clear reflection of self, which means its gonna be fun).

This book didn't really pause for a breath, I read it in an afternoon and found it engaging and a real whirlwind of an adventure in an *ancient* subterranean history of Sydney. Its an easy read with a straightforward story and simple to digest plot, even with its eccentricities and interspersed mythology. Its very Australian too, so be prepared (if you're not an Aussie) for some culturally specially jokes and language.
Profile Image for ness.
240 reviews
December 21, 2021
ok, this book was great. it was a mix of humour, fantasy, gay and characters which worked so well together. there were a couple of times where the humour felt forced, some one-liners i didn't understand and had to read twice before giving up and moving on, but not many. the entire god-aspect of the book was amazing (i thought it was about greek gods but it wasnt and that's ok) and i loved the way the monuments worked. connor was so sweet and pure and the friendship that forms between him and sally and ✨ locky ✨ is amazing and a few times i had to stop reading because of cuteness overload. the plotline was so good and there were plot twists. at times i was confused becaues of certain aspects (can't say because *ahem* spoilers) but that was fine. ANYway i desperately need the next book.

this book needs more people to read it so read it pls
Profile Image for lauren ♡.
540 reviews108 followers
August 16, 2019
thank you hachette for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review

i loved this so so so much!! it was the first book i'd been able to read in MONTHS and i didn't want to put it down. i can't believe i have to wait an entire year for the next book.

will have more of a 'review' up soon, but if you like urban-ish fantasies with queer rep that give off percy jackson vibes then be sure to pick this up when it comes out!!
Profile Image for Jenna.
274 reviews39 followers
April 26, 2020
This book was a little meh for me. Everything happened very quickly without much explanation or time for me to breathe. I felt as though I could barely focus on what was happening before I was thrown into a new problem.

I didn’t feel as though I really got to know any of the characters over the course of the novel, and the romance was way too insta-love for my taste.

Still a decent book, though just maybe not one for me.
Profile Image for Amanda Paget.
15 reviews
April 3, 2020
"It's unreal. Absolutely pinch-me-i'm-dreaming unreal. Five stars" - Connor (or Will Kostakis, I suppose).

This book was a rollercoaster. I have always had trouble enjoying fantasy books... mainly due to the stupid names and the long stretches.

But this was just normal kid from Sydney just doing his best, thrust into the Godly life. I love him.

Looking forward to the next installment.
Profile Image for Jade.
1 review
July 28, 2019
Will Kostakis has earned his spotlight in the Australian YA scene. Well known for his ability to deliver witty, heart-warming and hard-hitting contemporary fiction with characters realistic enough to jump off the pages, Monuments is Kostakis’s first foray into fantasy.

The story follows 16-year-old Connor who is dealing with the fallout of his first friend divorce and stumbles upon a Monument hidden in his school. These Monuments, he learns, are the gods that created the world, but must remain hidden to protect them from the Hounds, who will stop at nothing to destroy them. Curious and slightly awe-struck, Connor finds himself assisting with The Movement, a quest that takes him all over Sydney to find all five Monuments so new hiding places can be found.

Kostakis's strength in his writing has always been his characterisation and character development, and this brings warmth into a genre that can sometimes focus on plot at the expense of character development. Connor, Sally and Lockie are all unique characters with their own personality, challenges and needs with dialogue that moves seamlessly between teenage awkwardness, witty banter and heartfelt honestly. The quest that drives the plot is exciting and somewhat reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda series with hidden chambers to uncover and puzzles to sovle.

Wrapped up within this fun, quirky and unexpected journey are some pretty complex ideas. One of the overarching themes of the story focuses on power and how it reflects and enhances the best or worst inside us, alongside a gentle exploration of some really interesting concepts like the evolution of language and a subtle commentary of class in Australian society. But for once, there are no tears (this is an utter relief for me - the heartbreak of The First Third and The Sidekicks still haunts me a little). This just goes to show it’s possible to explore ideas and concepts with real substance whilst maintaining a mostly upbeat, light-hearted tone, and for me, that’s a pleasant change for YA fiction.

Part of what makes this book so special to me are the things that are hard to find in YA fiction. Urban fantasies with an Australian setting are hard to come by. It's also important to see yourself represented in fiction, and to see the lives of others portrayed, and Monuments delivers with its diversity. This is a story with a gay protagonist with Greek heritage, but it’s not a story about coming out or coming to terms with your sexuality or heritage (though those are really important stories to tell). This is a story with a supporting character who is Aboriginal Australian, but it’s not about tackling racism (though those stories are really important, too!). Part of the authenticity of Kostakis’s characters is his ability to reflect Australian society with diverse characters without making it ‘a big deal’. Its like he’s just genuninely interested in reflecting the people he’s writing for – Australian teenagers of all backgrounds.

Monuments isn’t great because of its diversity – the themes, plot, dialogue and compelling writing style are what make it a thoroughly enjoyable read. But the diversity and is part of what makes this great book special, and it's one I'll be recommending to all my students.
Profile Image for Dark Matter.
360 reviews26 followers
December 2, 2019
Dark Matter Zine reviews and author interviews are here https://www.darkmatterzine.com as well as on all good podcasting platforms. I interviewed Will Kostakis https://www.darkmatterzine.com/will-k... and here's an abridged text-format version of the interview https://www.darkmatterzine.com/repres....

My review:
Connor Giannopolos is a 16 year old private school student in Sydney when he wags class (skips class). While skyving off a the top of a bell tower he finds a trapdoor. And so he falls into Wonderland, figuratively speaking. He discovers that five gods, called Monuments, created the world. Sally, a girl investigating the Monuments because they’re in danger, drags Connor into an adventure.

You’d think this would be the romantic duo but no, Connor is a gay Greek Australian just like Will Kostakis, the author. Connor meets the Most Gorgeous Guy and immediately falls in love. But it’s not easy finding time for love with Hounds, evil god-killing humans, on their trail.

Monuments starts out with adventure and lots of humour, just like the best superhero stories. In the last third (a play on the title of another Kostakis novel), humour falls by the wayside as a complicated plot twists through time and space. Ironically, part-way through the climax I ranted about plot holes, only to discover that the plot was twistier than I anticipated. Well done, Kostakis. I didn’t see that coming!

I love how Kostakis incorporated real-life issues in even this, his first Fantasy novel. Connor talks about Greek Mothers (complicated and compelling characters), YiaYias, and his Pappou who is nearing death in a nursing home. While the plot moves too quickly for dwelling on issues, Monuments will inspire readers in their formative years to ask themselves who they want to be as adults, what risks they are prepared to take and, most importantly of all, will they sacrifice relationships with familial elders to hide away from sickness and old age?

Kostakis always writes minority characters with love and compassion, composing stories with wit and verve. In Monuments he has added staple fantasy tropes and a fast-paced plot. I highly recommend Monuments to young adult readers and high school English classes.

I interviewed Will Kostakis in 2016; that interview is available in its entirety here. It’s also available in an abridged version focusing on equity in representation in text-only format here.
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351 reviews
February 7, 2023
There are certain authors whose writing I enjoy, regardless of the subject matter. Kostakis is one of those authors.

And there are certain books where I hit a point in the story and just decide I can't put the book down and it needs to be finished here and now. This was one of those books. Honestly, if memory serves, The First Third and Sidekicks were also exactly like that.

And yes, this is a "young adult book", in the same vein as a Percy Jackson (actually, that series may be the closest comparison of all the YA fantasy fiction series). And, admittedly, I'm not a young adult and haven't been for some time. I find though, that often YA writers are the ones who get out of their own way and tell amazing stories. Especially in the fantasy genre.

Speaking of the comparison to Percy Jackson, instead of making up existing world mythology, Kostakis invents his own. And then makes you fall in love with it inside of about 11 seconds.

Then, when you think you understand the vague outlines of where the plot is going, Kostakis puts a hand on the narrative steering wheel, says "hang on to something" and executes an expert left hand swerve.

Also, pay attention every other producer of young adult content ever... this is how you integrate a gay character into the story. By making it important to the actual plot. Or at least relevant to same.

When I realised that the sequel to this was already out, I instantly ordered it in at the library, because this is definitely a world I want to revisit.
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