I chose Monument 14 to read despite my preference for my dystopians anti-oppressive government than natural disaster and looting variety. My reasoning is that after a viewing of the film "The Mist" I find myself scoping out the other customers in a shop or diners if we should find ourselves in a similar situation. Monument 14 did have a religious zealot, but fortunately, for the other characters not one like Mrs. Carmody. I live in Florida where weirdness abounds so I find myself in many places where I'd hate to be shut in with strangers.
Monument 14 takes place in a Walmart-esque style hopping center. The 14 kids are shut-up in the store after a hail storm. Two school buses crash into the store from the high school and middle school. None of the small children die but many of the high school aged kids do. I kept expecting a "Lord of the Flies" situation after the one creepy Boy Scout Niko takes over leadership. All does not seem right with this kid. The kid Brayden also bugged me. Our narrator, Dean, won me over when he called Brayden an idiot for believing illegal actions done by the government are not illegal.
The government made chemical compounds cause different behaviours from people based on blood type. I have O type blood so I'd be a raging monster in this world. Poor Dean has O type and almost attacks his brother.
The weakest part of the novel is when two adults stop by the store because it was quite predictable. I was a deeply suspicious child when I was their age and can not imagine so many kids falling into the man Robbie's lap. He had warning flags all over him. I still wish the book had not set him up as a pedophile, however, because Niko was too power hungry and smug about needing control over the kids. There were too many scenes of what to eat for dinner but it felt realistic.
All of the characters were fully realised and fleshed out. It was nice reading a book with so many personalities and depth.
I'm interested to read the sequel to find out exactly what was going on between Niko and Dean's brother Alex. Alex shunned his brother the entire book over his blood type yet screams at him for choosing to stay behind in the store?
I would have loved this book as a kid due to the locked in a store setting. My favourite movie as a kid was "Opportunity Knocks" starring Jennifer Connelly and Frank Whaley. This book hearkened back to that film more than the Zombie Apocalypse films "Hey, we can shop for free!"