Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2)
Author: Emmy Laybourne

Pages: 212
Published: TBR May 28, 2013

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Book Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars


**Contains spoilers for the first book in the series—Monument 14**

Sky on Fire picks up immediately after the events of it's predecessor. The original group of kids & teens has split into two parts. Most of them are on the school bus, heading for the Denver International Airport—a place they were told would offer help to an injured friend and help organize a rescue party for those left behind. Among those on the Denver-bound bus is Alex, brother of Dean—our narrator and main character for book one. Dean is among those left behind at the Greenway department store in Monument. Along with him is Astrid, who we found out was pregnant at the end of book one.

The group on the bus comes across many obstacles along the way, some expected and some not.

The group at Greenway is dangerous all on their own. Most of them have type O blood. Type Os, when exposed to the chemical compounds in the air, become enraged, violent, and completely homicidal.

Will either group be able to overcome all of the obstacles that stand in their way? Will they find their families? Find out how to beat the compounds? Survive?

- - -

I enjoyed this book a lot more than Monument 14! This book is more focused on action and danger than the first. The first book sort of irritated me because there was too much focus on sexual predators and sex in general. It wasn't really something that I feel had a place in the book. Anyway. This book impressed me!

I enjoy reading from male POVs. This book is told in duel viewpoints by Alex and Dean. Alex is with the group on the bus; Dean with the group at Greenway. This was smart of the author to do. It gave the series a fresh voice (Alex), and let us see what was happening at all times in both places. Each brother has a distinctive voice, and each of their strengths and weaknesses shine through in their words.

New dangers are introduced to us in this novel. The compounds remain a threat, but there are also other threats to consider. Looters, type Os who've been exposed to the compounds, running out of food and water, and gangs. One such gang becomes a problem for both of our groups. They call themselves the “Cadets” - Their leader is very violent and sort of insane. He's definitely a dictator. This group is where my problems came in... Mainly, these guys were overly crude and military-like. It seemed overly done, and too fake—like some bully on the playground putting on his big boy pants; playing a part more than actually being a badass villain.

As with the first book, I was thoroughly impressed with the uniqueness the compounds bring to the story. Incase you missed it: In the first book these chemical compounds were released into the air. They react with blood types. When exposed to the compounds, type Os become violent and full of rage. Another type (I don't remember specifics aside from type O) will literally become paranoid and insane. Another will immediately blister and bleed when exposed, and die pretty quickly. The last group becomes sterile; unable to reproduce. -- This element of the story is explained A LOT more in this book than the first. We learn some details on the why of it, as well as what the government plans to do about the issue.

A lot of emphasis is put on how bloodthirsty the type Os get when they are exposed to the compounds. I really liked how the Os used their weakness to their advantage. Throughout the book, they purposely expose themselves to save those they care for. It was pretty awesome. For lack of better word, LOL, it was badass! I loved the violence and gore. Who doesn't like a side of horror with their apocalypse? :)

Emmy Laybourne kept the pace up to a nice level. There was more action in this book than the first. There was a lot going on in just the span of a few pages. I am impressed with how much she fit into just over 200 pages. All of these action-packed events lead up to quite the remarkable climax! It was emotional and surprising, as well as cliffhanger-y, but not too cliffhanger-y. It seems to me that there will be a third book, and I hope so! If there is, I definitely plan to continue the series.

Overall, this was a fantastic sequel to Monument 14. Laybourne stepped up her game as far as excitement and pacing, as well as character interaction and development. She gave us a ton of answers to questions posed in the previous book. There is a thread of romance woven into the story, and while it's a bit of a love triangle, it's done well and gives readers a little something extra to root for. There are deaths. There is violence. There is love and hate. There is action and science. There are reunions and promises. It's really an amazing follow-up and I hope to see more in the series. I definitely plan to continue it if this is the case! 

~ 4 OF 5 STARS ~