Featured Review: "Talon" by Julie Kagawa »

January 13, 2013

"Monument 14" by Emmy Laybourne

[Clickey the cover for Goodreads!]
Title: Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1)
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publication: 2012, Feiwel & Friends

Summary: Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.
...read more

Review: Thanks to a terrifying turn of apocalyptic events, fourteen kids ranging from elementary to high school age wind up imprisoned in a massive superstore. As biologically damaging chemicals and disastrous storms tear up the world outside, the trapped students find ways to keep alive. "Monument 14" does have quite the original and intriguing premise, despite the apparently unexciting superstore setting, |paused|

Side note: Okay, according to many people, the premise of the supermarket is apparently incredibly similar to Stephen King's "The Mist" that has a synopsis that goes: "trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world".

|resumed| however it just did not reach higher than ground level for me. Mediocre characters, a plot that goes stale, and a disappointing ending secured my final verdict for this one, unfortunately.

"Monument 14" without a doubt handles a huge cast, and out of all the characters, some were appealing, others weren't, and the rest just proved to be unmemorable for me. There is nothing wrong with unlikeable characters, and with a cast this large, I believe that the author most definitely can afford it. It also shows a broader range of realistic personalities, so that is great. However, when all these characters fail to earn the faith and attention of me, the reader, then that is when the overall impact of the book plummets.

In addition, the main character did not grasp my interest either, even being a male first person POV. Instead, he gave a bland narration and soon, my mind started to blend him and the other characters together into a blob even when he stood apart from the others in the story. The cast wasn't entirely weak, but considering the number of characters introduced, the impression they made on me was just too faint.

The initial swirl of events that plunked the cast inside the superstore made for an active and adrenaline-filled beginning. Overall, things happen, even once in the superstore setting is stabilized, yet soon after the first quarter of the book, I started to doze off. The plot moves forward, but combined with the two-dimensional narration from our male protagonist, it did not prove to be compelling enough for me. Also, many a turn of events was unoriginal-feeling and did not deliver a strong blow. Soon, the counted days in the story got repetitive and old and I found myself trudging along tiredly. 

However, the ending was what disappointed me the most. It was abrupt and blunt, an insulting cliffhanger that taunted me before I swatted it away with the decision that I no longer cared. 

"Monument 14" definitely has a couple of good moments, but there are just too many fundamental problems that irked me. The diction was unfortunately plain and unrefined and considering the main hobby of the protagonist (writing), it didn't make sense to me at all. The plot that turned bland failed to hold my attention and the conclusion really made me smack myself on the head in frustration. Sadly, this apocalyptic novel did not gain enough depth or momentum for me to truly enjoy it.

Rating: ✰✰ 2 Exhausted Hoots

Final Notes: I was taking a leap outside of my normal picks with this book and I really wasn't expecting to not like it. Perhaps it just wasn't my type of book because many people did turn out to like it just fine so don't let this negative review stop you if it sounds like your type of book.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Oh, now that's disappointing! I was looking forward to this book. The blurb sounds great and I love the cover :) Boring characters is absolutely one of the things that makes me DNF a book. Add an annoying ending and I think I'm done.. Thanks for the honest review Viv!


  2. I had such high hopes for this book - after all, it has an amazing premise! :( But sometimes with such a large amount of characters I get confused too! That happened to me with Eragon... I'm already really sceptical about male narrators so a boring one would be torture for me!

    I might still give it a go though! Thanks for the great, honest review! It's just a pity you didn't enjoy it as much as you had hoped! :( xx

  3. I have seen many mixed review on this one. By the synopsis this sounds like a books I would love, and after reading your amazing review I think I would enjoy it but not as much as I would like. I really dislike books with a huge cast!! I think I MIGHT still read this one just because I am curious.

    Such a brilliant and honest Review Vivian! :) xx

  4. Oh boo I'm sad that you didn't like this one more. I am very excited to read it since I am a huge fan of The Mist, one of my favorite books/movies. The thought of being trapped in a store is so intriguing to me, I'll be reading this one soon for the paperback release. I hope I have better luck with it! Thanks for the honest review, Vivian!

  5. I've actually heard a lot of negative things about this book. Sounds like something I would NOT enjoy. A big cast can work, but not if none of the characters are going to stick out and make an impression (esp. the MC). I'm sorry this one was so slow for you, though. Never fun if you're going to take the time to read it.


  6. Oh! I'm sorry you didn't like it :/
    I really wanted to read this one,maybe I wait a bit longer before give it a try!
    Great review as usual.


  7. I've heard of Monument 14 but never actually read the summary. I've heard mixed reviews too so I might pass the chance to read it. I'm also sorry to hear that you didn't quite enjoy it, Vivian!

    Thank you for the awesome and honest review, Vivi! ♥

  8. I really enjoyed this one actually. I liked following all the kids as they fought and attempted to work together. I find it fascinating how groups work in disaster situations. I thought the chemical spill was a bit far fetched but otherwise it held my attention.

  9. Aw, sorry it wasn't what you wanted. I haven been iffy on this one.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  10. I find it near impossible to enjoy a book if I don't particularly care for the main character. This book sounds like a case of good potential lost - I haven't read many positive reviews for it in all honesty. I doubt it would be for me. Thanks for your helpful verdict, Vivian! :)

  11. Urghhh I'm so glad I didn't pick this one up now! I don't think i can handle such a huge cast, especially since even the main character's narration was bland. Thanks for the honest review Viv! I don't think i'll be reading this...ever.

  12. Aw, I'm really sorry this one fell flat for you, Vivian! I was going to buy this, as I found the plot really interesting and unique (I never knew about Stephen Kings similar book) but now I don't think I will.

    If I'm not a fan of the main character, I pretty much give up on the book there and then. Being interesting and having a strong voice should always be the authors priority with her MC, so it's always a massive shame when this doesn't work. Also, I definitely wouldn't be able to enjoy a book with such a huge cast.

    Anywho, thanks for your lovely, honest review, Vivian! :D

  13. Ahh I remember seeing this book on goodreads a while ago but never picked it up. I haven't read much Stephen King so the setting of this book does sound new and exciting, but it's a shame that the characters were so bland. Especially the narrator!
    Thanks for the beautiful and honest review, Vivian! They're always so much fun to read. :)

  14. Great review, Vivian! I'm sort of relieved, I wasn't tempted to read this one and then it kept popping up in book hauls last year. I think I've made the right choice skipping it.

  15. After seeing this review and a few others I think this book just isnt something I would want to read and that is sad. Do you see yourself reading the sequel, or have you given up? Thank you for writing this review and being honest. :)

  16. Ohh, too bad! I'm sorry the characters ruined this one for you, Vivian, it's so hard when you can't connect to the MC, and seeing that the ending was a disappointment, I'll reconsider reading this one, although I had every intention to, and soon.

  17. I bought this book because I was at an author group signing and she was there, but I don't feel like this book is for me. Thanks for your honest review!

  18. Too bad you didn't like this book!! The blurb sounds awesome, but now, after reading your review, I think I might skip this book...
    I really hate it when I read a whole book just to find a disappointing ending.
    Thank you for your honest review. I'm a new follower!

    Please check out my new blog and follow back. Thank you! ^_^
    Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  19. Sorry to hear that it was not as good as you thought. I was expecting on reading this one but because of your review my enthusiasm went down :(

    BTW, I'm currently having a giveaway on my blog. You can check it out and join :) FOllower APpreciation GIVEAWAY!

  20. Sounds very promising! I generally don't read survival type books because I end up dreaming about it. >_>

    grace (Alaska Hunts)


If you read this post, please, by all means, leave me a comment! They make me very happy, and I will almost always get back to you! Thank you for reading!