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{April 29, 2014}   {Review} Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14 #2)

Monument 14 Sky on FireFrom Goodreads: Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected…

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I absolutely adored the first novel in this series, and while this second novel is very well written, it just didn’t grab me like the first. While part of this has to do with needing to rekindle my relationships with the characters, and thankfully Laybourne gives readers all the reminders they need to get back on track, the main issue for me was the font. Normally, I don’t discuss layout or font when critiquing a novel, especially since it generally has no barring on the story itself—the author doesn’t control font in a big publishing house—but I just can’t get over it. The novel is split between two characters, Dean and Alex, as they branch off from one another and tell their stories as the days unfold. Dean and just a few young survivors are staying behind at the Greenway Superstore due to blood toxin issues, and so events unfolding there are told through his eyes, in a normal, every day font. On the other hand, Alex, Dean’s brother, and the rest of the young survivors have taken the bus and are driving 60+ miles to the airport in attempts to bring people to help rescue Dean and the other survivors who can’t weather the toxins in the air. And here is where the story lost me—I had trouble reading Alex’s point of view because the font changed, and it wasn’t a normal easy font for me to read. It was lighter than normal font, with the letters elongated and spaced out, and it really impacted my reading. One can’t enjoy something they struggle to read, and while I get the idea behind different fonts, I think it was a not so great move on the part of the publishers. I just couldn’t get into Alex’s story because I struggled so much to follow it.

This novel is actually rather short in the realm of things, sitting at 213 pages, and truthfully, not a whole lot happened. There were a few issues that arose, but our heroes and heroines were able to smooth things over quite quickly, which is good, but doesn’t leave much in terms of excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the story, and I’m excited to see what happens next for the characters, but I hope there is just a little more substance and, of course, a normal font throughout. Three stars.

3 stars

I purchased this novel from Barnes and Noble.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

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