Monument 14 #1
Release Date: April 4, 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books (UK)
Goodreads Stars: 2
Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong ...
Fourteen kids stranded inside a superstore. Inside they have everything they could ever need. There's junk food and clothes, computer games and books, drugs and alcohol ... and without adult supervision they can do whatever they want.
Sounds like fun?
But outside the world is being ripped apart by violent storms and chemicals leaking into the atmosphere that, depending on blood type, leave victims paranoid, violent or dead.
The kids must remain inside, forced to create their own community, unsure if they'll ever be able to leave. Can they stop the world they've created inside from self-destructing too? - Goodreads
Monument 14 has an interesting premise. There's a series of natural disasters which set off a whole chain of events, and eventually cause toxic waste to be released into the air. I really like post-apocalyptic stuff, and I was looking forward to this one because I thought it might help me edit my own apocalypse survival plan. Instead, it was a dull. So. Dull.
I didn't connect with Dean, the main character. I liked that the author made him an outcast and a victim of bullying, but it got to a point where he was just making whiny complaints and not doing anything about it. I would have liked to have seen the bullying addressed more openly. Dean fought back with his fists a couple of times, but he didn't really give the bully what for in terms of sticking up for himself mentally and emotionally. The bully also wasn't told off at all sternly, nor did he face any consequences of his name calling. However, that might well be coming in the sequel.
I also thought that Dean was a complete idiot because he chose a girl over his brother and his family. NOPE. Family comes first, Dean! Did you learn nothing from watching Supernatural?!
The writing is probably what I liked the least about this book. There just weren't enough descriptions. I think it was meant to feel as though Dean was writing these thoughts in a journal, but that made me feel very disconnected from the main plot and the setting. There was a lot of jumping from one point to another, and it just didn't suck me in. I didn't feel like I was in the shopping mall with them, I felt like I was looking in through a window.
Another issue I had was the use of "a-hole" and "F" in place of curse words. If you address themes such as rape, paedophilia, murder, and teen pregnancy, surely you can include a couple of assholes and fucks in there too. It just seemed strange to me.
There also wasn't much survival stuff going on. Ashfall by Mike Mullin did all that stuff perfectly, in the sense that there was hunting, rationing, fighting to survive, and it was so exciting. In Monument 14, the kids in the mall barely even talk about rations. It was all too cosy.
I don't think I'm going to be reading the sequel, but I'll probably look up spoilers because I am interested in seeing what happens to Alex and the others. Dean, on the other hand, can run off and disappear. I was so uninterested in him, it was crazy.