Monument 14: Savage Drift
By Michael Berry,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Harrowing, gripping end to post-apocalyptic trilogy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The setup of the central predicament in Monument 14: Savage Drift requires a highly unlikely number of simultaneous catastrophes. But given the unlikely premise, events proceed logically, and the author presents a convincing portrait of what it might be like to survive a continent-spanning catastrophe.
Monument 14: Savage Drift is a novel of survival in extraordinary circumstances. The book emphasizes the importance of cooperation in the face of adversity. It also spotlights compassion for the weak and resolve in opposition to corrupt leadership.
Positive Role Models
Dean and Josie are the two viewpoint characters of Monument 14: Savage Drift. Dean's largely concerned with protecting his pregnant girlfriend, Astrid, but he has to learn how to do so without smothering her with jealousy and anxiety. Josie has to learn to trust herself, that she's not a bad person because she did terrible things while under the influence of a mind-altering drug. Both characters share a belief in doing what's right, rather than what's easiest for them personally. Each is willing to sacrifice his or her own happiness to protect other, weaker members of the group.
Violence & Scariness
There are many violent scenes. Young children are in mortal danger throughout. In the containment facility, Josie is harassed and beaten by a corrupt guard and by members of a prison gang. One of her older allies is beaten to death. Dean witnesses the killing of a young mother and later gives a gun to her killer, so that he can commit suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dean's 17-year-old girlfriend, Astrid, is pregnant by another teen, Jake. The boys do not get along, especially after Dean witnesses Astrid kissing Jake. In a scene at the containment center, one of Josie's underage charges is found bargaining sexual favors for protection from one of the gangs. The details of the conversation are not given. In another scene, Niko spends the night in Josie's room, and they wake up naked together, presumably having had some kind of intimate encounter.
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"Hell" is used a handful of times, but more often, the characters choose substitutes like "godforsaken," "a-hole," or "freakin'."
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Products & Purchases
Gatorade, Advil, and Popsicles, are mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drug addict and alcoholic Jake swigs from a bottle of whiskey after a particularly harrowing incident.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monument 14: Savage Drift is a fast-paced, suspenseful, post-apocalyptic thriller with an engaging cast of young characters. The plot picks up exactly where the second volume in the series left off, with one group of kids in the relative safety of a Canadian refugee camp and their friend Josie trapped in a prison camp for those with type 0 blood and who are supposedly primed to turn into homicidal maniacs. The language is mild, with only a handful of uses of "hell." There are many violent scenes. Young children are in mortal danger throughout. Josie's harassed and beaten by a corrupt prison guard and by members of a prison gang. Dean witnesses the killing of a young mother and later gives a gun to her killer, so that he can commit suicide. In terms of sexual content, Dean's 17-year-old girlfriend Astrid is pregnant by another teen, Jake. In a scene at the containment center, one of Josie's under-age charges is found bargaining sexual favors for protection from one of the gangs. The details of the conversation are not given. In another scene, Niko spends the night in Josie's room, and they wake up naked together, presumably having had some kind of intimate encounter.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
No sooner have brothers Dean and Alex Grieder and other survivors of the Monument, Colo. disaster found relative safety in a Canadian refugee camp than they discover that one of their missing friends, Josie, is not dead after all. She's being kept in a prison camp designed to contain survivors with type 0 blood and who have been exposed to the mysterious chemical compound that can turn them into homicidal maniacs. Meanwhile, Dean's pregnant girlfriend, Astrid, fears she'll be taken away and experimented upon by the military, so they set off with Jake (the baby's biological father) and Niko (Josie's steadfast boyfriend) on an odyssey to rescue Josie.
Is It Any Good?
SAVAGE DRIFT brings the Monument 14 saga to a satisfying close, finding enough new juice in its post-apocalyptic scenario to carry it through a third installment. This time the narrative spotlight is on Dean and Josie, but there are plenty of callbacks to many other important characters from the series. The scenes in the prison camp are tense and harrowing, and Dean's adventures of the road with Astrid, Jake, and Niko cover new ground rather than just repeat familiar situations.
The two plotlines intersect a little too neatly during the suspenseful climax, but most readers probably won't notice and will be satisfied with the book's resolution. Gripping, sad, and occasionally funny, this saga is a cut well above the rest in this crowded field.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why post-apocalyptic literature is currently so popular. Why do readers like stories in which disaster has struck and toppled civilization?
Do governments ever give false information to their citizens? Is it ever right to do so?
What are good ways to protect the people you love? Is it possible to do harm to someone when you believe you are protecting them?
- Author: Emmy Laybourne
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: May 6, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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