Sunday, April 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Update : 16 Apr 2013, 09:53 AM


The day begins like any other for Dean and his younger brother, Alex, as they race down the street to catch their respective school buses, yet the events which soon unfold prove that it is anything but an ordinary day. We are thrust straight into the action with a killer hailstorm, resulting in deaths and a bus crash. Dean and his brother both end up being part of the lucky fourteen students who are lead to the safety of a Greenway superstore where they are told to stay and wait for help to arrive.


Thus follows the story of how a group of abandoned 5-17 year olds act when forced into a serious situation of survival with no adult supervision. The apocalypse itself is scarily plausible, with mega-tsunamis, large earthquakes and a chemical spill which affects each blood type differently. This in itself places the novel above many other typical 'end of the world' thrillers, yet I was unimpressed by the typical stereotypes given to the characters. Dean, the narrator, is bookish and likeable, yet with no real traits of heroism or flaws to give him more depth – in short, a relatable but not especially memorable character (although his surprising actions at the end redeem him somewhat).

Dean has long been in love with the blonde, athletic Astrid who is dating the dumb (but generally well-meaning) jock, Jake. There's a love triangle as well between 'Mumsy' Josie, bully Brayden and outcast - but natural leader - Niko. This being a young adult novel, I was prepared for some romance to seep into the plot line, but after a while, the teenage angst got boring and I wanted the characters to either dissolve into chaos like Lord of the Flies, or at least stop whining. Frankly, I was rather shocked at the shallowly created main girl characters. Surely even teenage literature has now evolved past the three typical female roles of The Mum, The Beautiful Athlete and The Bad Girl.

That being said, the younger characters, such as deeply religious Batiste who turns out to be an amazing cook, provide a more humorous element to the novel, and I found myself caring more about how they were coping than the annoying high school students. However, the development of relationships between characters was mostly entertaining and remarkably probable as to how such a group would act in the trapped situation. Every so often new challenges arose that they would have to overcome, and the wide age range of characters did provide interesting details of how the catastrophe was experienced from various points of view. I think that fans of dystopian/survival stories will definitely enjoy the novel, especially because of the all too realistic scenarios, as will lovers of high-school young adult novels due to the wide variety of personalities of the survivors. Although I feel that Monument 14 was by no means perfect, the fresh take on the post-apocalyptic storyline was interesting and enjoyable even if some characters were annoying!

Top Brokers


Popular Links