Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne

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Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Satisfying second book in a dystopian series. The overall arc advances well and the episodic side is nicely tied up. I'll be reading book 3!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444914723

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We left our supermarket kids when they split up at the end of Monument 14. Niko, Alex and six others were taking the school bus to try to save Brayden who had been shot and to find the US military evacuation team. Dean, Astrid and three of the little ones had stayed behind - it was too risky to take pregnant Astrid into the poisoned outside. And when we say poisoned, we mean it. A bioweapons accident had left the air toxic in different ways to different people, depending on their blood group. Nobody knows where Jake is.

So, there are 15 kids. Without giving any spoilers, they won't all make it. And you might think life will be less difficult for the supermarket group, barricaded in with plenty of supplies. You'd be wrong. Everything is dangerous and risk-filled in this horrible, devastated world.

You know, I think Sky on Fire is an improvement on the first book in this dystopian series. The characters seem better developed and more rounded, while before I did think that they represented stocks. Also, Laybourne has used a dual narrative - Dean, who has stayed in the supermarket, takes one chapter and Alex, his brother on the way to Denver, takes the next. This works really well, both in describing both plot strands, but also in keeping the group together in the reader's mind because each brother wants nothing more than to find his sibling again. Sky on Fire also keeps up the praiseworthy aspects of book one: a racing plot, plenty of action, a credible scenario.

I liked the characters more, I liked the action, and I really liked the evocative picture of a society in disaster that Laybourne has created. She really does show her readers how close we always are to chaos, even though it seems so far away. It really doesn't take much to take a steady and peaceful society and turn it into a lawless dystopia. Each of the characters reacts in a different way and it's interesting to see. My favourite is Niko - the reserved, cautious boy who is called upon to protect others and struggles and tries in a way that really touched me.

It's not the weightiest read, but Sky on Fire is a thoroughly satisfying dystopian thriller and all fans of the genre will enjoy it.

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda has a very different dystopian setting (think vampires) but is also a real page-turner. I think you might enjoy it.

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Buy Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sky on Fire (Monument 14) by Emmy Laybourne at


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