Friday, January 18, 2013

Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne

On their way to school one normal day, the Apocalypse dawns.  It starts as violent hail and expands to earthquakes.  A chemical weapons accident kills some and turns others into homicidal maniacs.  In the midst of this chaos, fourteen children find themselves secured (imprisoned, in fact) inside a superstore.  They have food and supplies to last them for months, but no adults to help them, and little idea of how they will survive.

With obvious tribute to Lord of the Flies, the twists and turns of this surprising and entertaining book keep up a high level of energy.  There are numerous implausibilities (most notably the premise of the particular Armageddon proposed by the story), but the characters are interesting and distinct enough to follow.  Unfortunately, the central figure Dean is actually the least interesting of the bunch.  But the others have merit and with so many characters, the reader never gets stuck with any one of them for very long.  I did not care for the ending (which was rushed and more of a last-minute attempt to generate a cliff-hanger for the sequel), but the story had a lot going for it.  Once Laybourne gets this series out of her system (I try to avoid series books like the plague that they are!), I look forward to reading her future work.

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