Thursday, November 21, 2013

Against All Odds Apocalyptic Kids Rock!

Monument 14: Sky on Fire: Emmy Laybourne

Book: Monument 14: Sky on Fire
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Pages: 224
Age Range: 13 and up

Monument 14: Sky on Fire is the sequel to Monument 14 in which a group of 14 kids end up trying to survive in large store complex after a chemical plant causes a catastrophic event to happen in their town.

Sky on Fire begins right where Monument 14 left off and alternates between perspectives of sixteen-year-old Dean and his thirteen-year-old brother Alex.

Alex, Nico, Josie and three younger kids are on the school bus that brought the kids to safety in the store in the first book. They're on a quest to travel 67 miles to Denver International Airport because their friend Brayden was injured and they have heard that are medical facilities in Denver and evacuations to Alaska as well. This trip turns out to be incredibly dangerous for the kids because they do not realize that there are awful people out just waiting to hurt them. Also, if they are exposed to the toxins in the air each one will have a side effect according to what their blood type is. The kids do have gas masks and several layers of clothing, but in times of despair this may not be enough to get them through their sixty mile trek.

Meanwhile, back in Monument at the store Dean has stayed behind with the girl of his dreams Astrid and three of the littler kids. Still missing in action is the all star football player Jake. Jake went off in search for help and did not return after several days and everyone fears he is dead. Right away, Dean and Astrid have to deal with outsiders trying to get into the store because there is food shelter there. Dean begins to pull together all of the potential weapons that he can find to secure their safety. His number one weapon is a chainsaw.

Although, it seems that bad things just keep on happening to these kids they just keep on going and never give up and I totally admire that. As Alex states in his letter to Dean, "things get really bad" These poor kids have to travel through a hostile post-apocalyptic landscape with creepy people lurking in the shadows. Some of these people are horrible and violent and some are not. There are some violent scenes in the book that could be considered somewhat disturbing.

Sky on Fire is compelling to read though and I actually couldn't put it down and read the entire book in one day! Laybourne uses the alternating narration to ratchet up the suspense. The kids on the bus receive information suggesting that there is nowhere safe to go now, and no one knows who to trust or what to believe. There are relationship tensions, between several characters, and strength and courage are highlighted throughout each characters personality.

There's also growth in the relationships between the kids. It becomes clear in Sky on Fire how much these kids have bonded and become a family. Maybe a strange family strung together with misfits and outcasts, but a family nevertheless that will fight for each other and always loyal to each other until the end.

Alex's voice is witty and intelligent with fun quips that make you want to laugh in the face of a world gone mad

"If we two were the two last people on earth--not, by the way, as statistically implausible as it was a month ago--she would still be rude to me and I would still pretend that it didn't bother me."

Dean has a more thoughtful voice

"Was it wrong to feel a heart-spike of happiness in the middle of the Apocalypse?" and "We deserve a happy ending. All of us do."

I'm not usually a fan of alternating point of views in a book, but this one totally works. I would have not wanted it any other way. It was really awesome at the end when both Alex and Dean's stories were almost weaving together!

My only complaint about this book is that it was too short. But then I always want to read more and more. However, it's suspenseful with an emotional impact and many loose ends are tied up. I am eager for the next book in the series! I'd say this book is totally LEGIT.

Happy Reading to You!

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