Dec 6, 2013

Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne

Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Click to read my review of book 2 -- Monument 14: Sky on Fire
Click to read my review of book 3 -- Monument 14: Savage Drift

Intended Age-Group: 9th grade & up
Issues of Violence: gun fights, deaths from post-apocalyptic disasters, fist fighting, rape
Intimacy Level: kissing, nudity, attempts at sex (both willingly and forced)
Language: Use of "God," "Christ", and "Jesus" for exclamations. Hell, SOB, b****, f*** (blanked out), a**,
Other: Underage drinking/intoxication, drug use, conversations revolving around sex, drugs, "getting high", hallucinations from air toxin, violent animal-like behavior from air toxin, etc.
Recommendation: Neutral. Use caution. 3 out of 5 stars with reservations (see end of entry)

Back-Cover Blurb
Six high-school kids (some popular, some not), two eight-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.

Initial Reaction: *****
I picked up this book on a whim at the library. It truly was a whim, but once I started it, it replaced the others and became my midnight read until I completed it two days later. There are many things I enjoyed about it, but also many things I didn't.

1. Characters: *****
I liked how realistic the kids seem. No one came off as completely cardboard. Sure, there was the jock, but he wasn't a total self-absorbed jerk. Then there was the nerd, but he still had social skills. The pretty popular girl  wasn't an airhead or a flirt. Through the book, I got to know the characters   right off the bat (though I had some trouble keeping the little kids straight.)
2. Realistic. The author captured the terror that might come from these types of events in a very realistic way. She really pegged how I believe thinking would change, hope would change, and leadership would change with a handful of kids trying to survive.

3. Parent Appreciation. One aspect I especially appreciated was how the children missed and worried over their parents--even when we see some parents aren't the greatest of caretakers. I was pleased that this wasn't a "kids-in-charge!" type of book and showed how leadership and loneliness can be very real.

4. Action Packed. Practically every chapter brought a new reason that made me want to turn the page to the next. Small things--realistic things--that, in a situation like this, make them very big. 

CONS: 1. Clean Content: ***** The book got a bit crude on the sexual side of things -- joking, jealousy, some scenes of nudity. I understand that's something that goes on with teenagers and it's still realistic, especially with no adult supervision in this environment. But it's not something I enjoy reading. And it's not content I would want to hand to my 9th grade daughter or son. There is also drug use and underage drinking that, understandably, takes place amongst some of the older kids.

2. Spiritual Content: ***** This 'con' is mainly because I review from a Christian point-of-view, and my reviews are to help those with similar beliefs as me to choose which books they would like to delve into next. This point is not to "sway" readers with different/nonexistent spiritual beliefs. 

There were some strange mixed views of God--mostly whatever-you-believe-is-right type of thinking--but it's the views of confused children raised with differing beliefs, not an expressed view as a theme/message in the book. One younger character does go around pointing his finger and saying, "That's a sin!" over and over. Though it was funny, it made me sad to see the views of a "judgmental God" portrayed in one so innocent--sad because that's how a lot of the world often views God, and that portrayal is not accurate.

Overall Recommendation: (3.5 stars)

This book may be dark and somewhat scary to a teenage reader, depending on his/her reading habits. I certainly recommend caution. But as a post-apocalyptic work of fiction, I thought it was written well. It's gritty, harsh, realistic, and captures the slivers of hope that always exist in dark times. I enjoyed it, despite the mature themes throughout the entire book. 
Story-wise and because of good quality, I found this book to be a good read. I enjoyed it, and I recommend it with caution. As always, I encourage all readers to examine his/her own reading preferences before following my recommendation.


Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released September 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at

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