Series: Monument 14 #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 28, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Survival
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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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. . . .
If you read my review of Monument 14 last summer, you know I got quite attached to the children in this series. I’m not sure if it’s because I work with children all the time, or what, but I just had to know what happened to all of them–especially the ones who drove off in search of help at the end of the last book. What a cliffhanger to end on! Luckily, Sky on Fire picks up right where we left off and it does not take too much time to refresh your memory before being thrown right back into the action. As always, my main points are bolded.
1. I feel like there was a lot more action in this installment. Half the kids are driving a torn up bus through the ravaged towns and cities in search of a way to a safer world. Their goal is to make it to the Denver airport. All the while, they are trying to keep exposure to the atmosphere at a minimum, due to the dangerous effects of the chemicals in the air. This part of the story was the most exciting, and had me flying through the pages. The kids get attacked, their bus gets stolen, they find a little humanity left in the world, and they really get pushed to the limits. I was SO scared for them as I read.
2. And then we have the kids who stayed back at the store. Most of them become aggressive, murderous monsters when exposed to the chemicals, so they end up waiting things out in the hopes that their friends bring back rescuers. They are faced with their challenges as well including walls being torn down and letting the chemicals in, losing their electricity, and dealing with intruders.
3. I really like how the story flips back and forth between the two brothers, Alex and Dean. Alex, the younger brother, decided to go off in the bus with Niko and the others, while Dean stayed back with a pregnant Astrid and the little ones. We get to read Dean’s story as it happens, and Alex’s in the form of a journal he kept as a letter to Dean in case they didn’t make it.
4. Because such a huge part of the story takes place outside of the store, we finally get to see what’s really going on in the world during this time. The chemicals have absolutely decimated the place. These chemicals are so powerful, that they dissolve rubber after a few hours. The few remaining survivors are pretty much insane, heartless, or not even human anymore. The world has been plunged into complete darkness. Scary! I really liked seeing what’s been going on outside the store.
5. Alex really shown in this novel, whereas I hardly remember him as being anything more than annoying in the first one. He has had to grown up, mature, and learn to remain level-headed. I liked reading his thoughts much more than Dean’s this time around.
6. Dean’s chapters were rather monotonous. There’s only so much that can happen in a store, and though some more intruders arrive and a romance blooms (one I’m not so sure I like, for that matter), I really looked forward to getting back to Alex.
7. Our supporting characters do not play the same dynamic roles this time around, and I really did not get to hear much about them. I missed little doomsday priest Batiste, although he is there piping in every once in a while. I think a little character development had to fall to the wayside since Alex was writing about his impressions, not giving us a play-by-play of what everyone is up to. Honestly, I didn’t mind much. I was so interested in what was going on, and how things would turn out, that I didn’t crave the dialogue between characters as much as I would have if they had all stayed in the store.
8. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. SO much happened! I had to keep reminding myself that these kids had only been living like this for a couple of weeks, because it’s insane how much happens to them and how long it takes to get places.
9. I was super satisfied with the ending (holy crap, it was tense and insane) until the last paragraph or so. I was thinking we were done, but BOOM. Cliffhanger! We are not done with kids of Monument yet, and I’m kind of excited to see where things go next.
All in all, Sky on Fire is a great read. It’s fast, action-packed, and I love those kids! I just want to squeeze them and save them from their world. They still have the strong determination to survive that they did in Monument 14, and I just LOVE watching children being portrayed in books as strong. I still love how much they care for each other. They are tenacious and smart, and they work with what they have. I just loved reading about them. Definitely read this book if enjoyed Monument 14, because I’m pretty sure I like this one better!