Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne **Review**

Sky On Fire
Series: Monument 14 #2
Pages: 288
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release date: 7th November 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Goodreads synopsis
This is the second book in a series.
If you've not yet read Monument 14 and want to avoid spoilers, don't read this synopsis. The review itself may also contain minor spoilers.

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. . .

It's been so long since I read Monument 14 that I was worried I wouldn't remember the story well enough to enjoy Sky on Fire. That worry was soon put to rest, though.
The first couple of pages is a letter that Alex writes to 'whoever finds this', that basically recapped everything that had happened (or the most important bits, anyway) in the previous book. So by the time I reached the first proper chapter, I felt up to speed and ready to continue with the story.

The first thing I think needs saying about this trilogy is that it is so fast-paced, there's never any worry of getting bored, and that is especially true of Sky on Fire. The chapters alternate between Dean and Alex's points of view, which gives us both sides of the story, as the group split up at the end of book one.
Both sides of the story were really interesting and nerve-wracking all the way through, and I was constantly desperate to know what happened next. So it's safe to say that it was both gripping and compelling from the very first chapter right through to the last, and I need to know what happens next, in the final book, Savage Drift.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was how the relationships between the characters evolved as the story progressed. There were unexpected romances blossoming, unbreakable loyalties, friction and even unconditional love. It's safe to say that the situation the characters found themselves in bought out both the best and the worst in them, but in the end, it was clear that the best side of them won – even those with O type blood.
There were obstacles to overcome, and despite the dreary outlook, they somehow managed to keep going. It's an incredible story of human resistance and survival against the odds.

There was one thing that meant that this book didn't receive the full five stars from me (although it is a very high four). Without giving anything away, there are events in the book that are quite extreme, and some of the 'good guy' characters do things that may not be considered so good.
Although I'm fine with these things happening, because I do think they fit the story, I do wish that the characters' reactions to them had been a little more appropriate. Yes, okay, it's the end of the world and bad things have been happening for a while now ... but it's still only been two weeks. You don't become 'conditioned' to these things that quickly – if at all. They do have a little trouble with the things they do, but nowhere near what I would consider a normal reaction – especially for a teenager!
That's my only real complaint about the story though. Otherwise I thought it was incredibly gripping and believable.

If you've not already read Monument 14 yet, and you enjoy post-apocalyptic or dystopian fiction, and even thrillers, I seriously think you should consider giving this trilogy a go. And if you've read Monument 14 and liked it, or if you thought it was just okay, you should pick up Sky on Fire.
Just as fast-paced as book one, but even more gripping, thanks to the alternating points of view, it was definitely an edge-of-your-seat read. Loved it.


Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

Loved this one :) What a great series!

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