Review: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

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. . . .

I read Sky on Fire in one sitting. I never do that. I think maybe the last time I did was Monument 14, the first book in this series.

When I first started this book, I remembered that I had loved Monument 14, but I didn’t remember a lot of the details. I knew there were a lot of characters and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get back into the story. There was a little bit of recap at the beginning and a nice reintroduction to the characters that took care of that for me, although I never did remember Niko from the first book. He was probably my least favorite character for that reason, but you can’t love them all, right?

The group split up at the end of M14, with most of the kids leaving the Greenway on a bus to try to reach the Denver airport for rescue. Sky on Fire picks up immediately after the ending of M14 and has two POVs instead of just one. Alex writes about the dangerous trip to Denver in a letter/journal for Dean and Dean narrates what’s happening back in the store, which is no less dangerous than what the bus group is facing. I liked having the two POVs because it gave me a chance to get to know Alex (and I think I liked him better than Dean) and see the other characters from his POV instead of Dean’s.

There isn’t much character development in this book. There just isn’t time for that. There’s too much going on. It’s all action! action! action! and while that’s not my normal type of book, I loved it. These characters face danger at every turn: the long trip to Denver, other survivors, even the violent type Os themselves.

The epilogue wraps things up nicely, telling us what’s happened to each of the characters in turn, but just when you think it’s about to end…it’s left open for another book. Savage Drift is due out in 2014.


  1. […] Emmy Laybourne – I loved both Monument 14 and Sky on Fire. There’s so much action that unlike a lot of YA books I read, these would definitely appeal […]