Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
It is a perfectly normal day, or at least it should be. However, on his ways to school Dean’s bus is surprised by a hail storm – the bus crashes, and only thanks to another bus driver the few surviving kids get into a near supermarket where they barricade themselves. Only after some time they realize how bad the situation really is. They sent someone to get help but they should not expect to be rescued any time soon: the very air has been poisoned with chemicals and it is actually them who are in the best possible location.
That does not mean they are fine. They might be supplied with everything they need, but the youngest want to go home while the eldest fight with their very own fears. Besides, you cannot avoid conflicts when people are herded together for an unknown time in a confined space – surviving a catastrophe does not result in your other problems to clear up.
What do you do when from one day to another your world crumbles? That is the problem the protagonists are confronted with and react like many would do: with suppression. It is much nicer to be happy about being alone in a huge supermarket than thinking about the troubled world outside and the fact that your family might already be dead. We are all humans and nobody likes to deal with bad things; it is something the book clearly shows, in a way I could rely to.
Unfortunately, that cannot be said about everything. Some decisions border on the abstruse, just as some developments, that were probably meant to create suspense and add some drama, do; I personally thought it was too much.
It is weird, seeing that the story actually needs some turning points, only they should not be so “extreme”. There are some moments that give the story a new direction, and nobody can hide from the bitter truth forever, but in general the story is pretty slow-going. There is not much happening; the rescue barely makes progress; instead, we follow the protagonists’ (more or less successful) efforts to get along.
Thanks to the author overdoing it sometimes, the book was not as emotionally intense as it could and should be. It is not as if I did not care about the characters at all; I even started liking some despite there being so many of them that not everybody could be examined more closely. But the most I felt for them was wishing they had made another decisions, so my interest in the second book is quite limited. For that, the depths in the characters are missing.
The style requires getting used to, even though it is not exactly bad. Actually, the book is nice to read. Fitting Dean’s character, you do not have to fear endless adornments, but you get clearly said what is going on. It is something you have to like, and if you do this clearly is not the wrong book to read.
Unfortunately, it gets too clipped every now and then. Again and again, the author uses very short sentences to stress something, but she does that way too often. Sometimes it felt like walking into the wall after each sentence before you would find the door and could continue reading. You are not surprised if I tell you that this does not make much fun, are you?
“Monument 14” is not bad, but it could be much better. The language is sometimes too clipped and there is much else that is left to be desired. Few characters are properly depicted, but that has been difficult anyway given the shortness of the book or rather the amount of characters. What is worse is that the story sometimes looks outrageous, over the top. It made it difficult to really feel with the protagonists. Emmy Laybourne’s book is not a waste of time, but I do not want to continue reading the series either.