Second Look: MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE by Emmy Laybourne.

Wow. Am I the worst blogger ever, or what?

Life has been pure madness these past few months, so please accept my humblest apologies for falling off the face of the earth. While you’re at it, please give Ashley a vigorous round of applause for continuing to post news and reviews in my absence.

As some of you may recall from last year, this is a ridonkulously crazy time for children and youth librarians, and I have pretty much spent every waking moment preparing decorations, flyers, and activities for my library’s summer reading program. Pair that with a book slump (that’s right… I haven’t read a book in weeks and it is VERY depressing) and trying to crazily prepare for my new role as a college student, and you get one very unenthusiastic book blogger. But FEAR NOT! Summer reading has officially started, which means the prep work is done, and I’ve even started reading again! HUZZAH!!

To celebrate, I’ve got a book review! *happy dance* Due to the nature of the madness that is my life, however, the format of my reviews may be changing a bit and my reviews might be a bit more condensed. But, as always, I’ll still lay it down straight for you.

BUT! Before you read on, Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne or my book review of the aforementioned title is required reading. Primarily because I’m reviewing the sequel, Monument 14: Sky on Fire. If you haven’t read Book 1, fair warning: you’ll be in for some spoilers.

Sky on Fire by Emmy LaybourneMonument 14: Sky on Fire returns us to the Greenway Supermarket where we last left off at the end of Book 1. For those of you who have read Book 1, you’ll remember that the 14 survivors of what appeared to be the Apocalypse were holed up in the Greenway after their school bus driver heroically drove the bus into the store (yes, right INTO THE STORE) to save everyone from a deadly hailstorm.

As all survivor stories go, two different camps emerged: 1) those who wanted to leave and trek to Denver International Airport where the military is supposedly evacuating survivors, and 2) those who wanted to stay in the safety of the Greenway Supermarket. M14 ended with 9 survivors leaving on the bus for Denver, and 3 kids and 2 teenagers staying behind.

Sky on Fire begins with a great recap in the form of Alex’s journal entry, which was a HUGE help for those of us readers who needed a refresher on all the characters and the basics of the plot in M14. The story continues from alternating viewpoints. Dean, who was our narrator M14, tells the story in the supermarket, while Alex chronicles the events on the road in his journal.

Like M14, Sky on Fire is filled with suspense, intrigue, lots of dramatic tension, and a mini cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. We meet several new, minor characters as the survivors venture through the ravaged Colorado highways. Some of them are endearing, some of them make you so fueled with rage that you want to jump in the pages and choke them yourself. Laybourne does a really great job at writing truly HATE-ABLE characters (and that’s meant to be a compliment).  The story is filled with heartbreaking separation and heartwarming reunions. While this does feel like an ending for the 14 young survivors from Monument, Colorado, Laybourne does leave enough of an opening for the story to continue.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Sky on Fire just as much as Book 1. The action and fast pacing made me not want to put it down, and I read it straight through in just two days. It’s not a challenging read in terms of reading level or complexity, so reluctant readers who like suspense, adventure, or apocalyptic subjects would probably enjoy both Monument 14 books.


P.S. If you’re interested in reading more about the secret chemical weapon that was accidentally released in the beginning of Monument 14, take a look at Dress Your Marines in White,Monument 14 prequel that follows Brayden’s father at his new job at NORAD when a weapons demonstration goes HORRIBLY wrong. It’s only available as an ebook and downloadable on Amazon. And, if you’re wondering, yes… I will be downloading it. Like, right now. 


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