by Emmy Laybourne
To be published by Feiwel and Friends
on May 28, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed from Around The World ARC Tours
Summary (from Goodreads): In this sequel to Monument 14, the group of survivors, originally trapped together in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, has split in two. Most of the kids are making a desperate run on their recently repaired school bus for the Denver airport where they hope to reunite with their parents, be evacuated to safety, and save their dying friend. But the world outside is dark and filled with dangerous chemicals that turn people into bloodthirsty monsters, and not all the kids were willing to get on the bus. Left behind in a sanctuary that has already been disturbed once, the remaining kids try to rebuild the community they lost. But when the issues are life and death, love and hate, who can you really trust?
First, a quick (non-spoilery) refresher: Monument 14 follows a group of schoolkids caught in the aftermath of a deadly chain of events: a volcanic eruption creates a tsunami that decimates much of the east coast of the U.S., then a resulting earthquake causes a breech in the NORAD chemical weapons storage facility in Colorado. The chemicals that escape into the air have devastating consequences to those exposed. Victims with type A people develop blistered skin, type AB suffer paranoid delusions, and type B will have reproductive failure. There's a bunch of other exciting stuff that I will not go into, but, as as Monument 14 ends, our plucky group of kid survivors divides into two groups: those who want to stay inside the Greenway superstore, and those who want to try to make a run for the Denver airport.
Sky on Fire alternates from the point of view of the group that has ventured outside the Greenway and the group that stayed inside. I thought this plot development worked very well for the second installment in the story. While the Greenway seemed like a pretty good place to me to wait out a post-apocalyptic disaster, I was also excited to see what was going on outside. But it was bad out there too. Really bad. Think starving, crazy, dangerous, murderous people. Looting, pillaging, sexual menacing, regular menacing … you get the picture.
The group that stays in the Greenway faces horrible things too, because they are barricaded in with a whole bunch of highly desirable food and supplies. And perhaps … some dead bodies. And… um…. sharp, motorized lawn and garden equipment. Just saying.
One of the things I love about this series is the kids. I mean, as a parent, just reading about bad things happening to kids on a school bus strikes terror into my heart. But Emmy Laybourne really lets her characters be kids -- their reactions to things almost always seem completely authentic and kid-like to me.
This series is definitely plot-driven, and the pace in Sky on Fire moves along briskly, with each chapter ending on a suspenseful note. By the end of the story, the two alternating plot lines begin to converge in an interesting way. Sky on Fire doesn't end with as abrupt a cliffhanger as Monument 14, but it seems like there is definitely more story to come. I'm going to have to spend the next year preparing myself for what that might be. Or, I can choose to be optimistic and hope that in the third installment of the story, things will start to get better. If you love disaster and/or survival stories and/or fast-paced, suspenseful books, you should definitely check this series out. It is intense, with some mature content, but it also makes for great summer reading!
I'm also so excited to be part of the Monument 14: Sky on Fire Blog Tour
As part of the tour, Emmy Laybourne will be stopping by to chat on May 30. And you'll have a chance to win a copy of both Monument 14 and Sky on Fire. Don't miss it!
Here's the rest of the tour schedule: