Review Blog

Sep 20 2019

Monuments by Will Kostakis

cover image

Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9780734419224. 280p; p/b.
High schooler Connor gets caught up in the affairs of the world's creator gods, Monuments, after stumbling across a hidden sanctuary at his school. The action-driven plot engages the reader almost immediately and goes in unexpected directions that keep things quite fresh. It sets up nicely for a sequel while still resolving enough of its own questions to not feel unsatisfying. The humorous, light-hearted tone makes the novel a treat to read. The quick pacing fits the story's circumstances of being suddenly thrown into an unbelievable situation, but it does sometimes feel like the focus changes a bit too fast to keep up with. The novel's characterisation is quite strong, with Kostakis doing a good job fleshing out even tertiary characters in the short amount of time they have.
The novel explores themes of duty and responsibility, both to roles and other people. Connor and others struggle with their duty that comes from inheriting the Monument's power, and later experience guilt when they realise what they've caused to happen to others. Interestingly, Kostakis seems to imply that not going along with the Monument Jivanta's plan wasn't entirely incorrect, which is a refreshing take on a message that can otherwise be kind of trite.
The novel is set largely in a modern real-world Sydney, with the addition of the fantasy elements. The realistic setting is established well enough without being belaboured, and the fantastic additions are explained clearly enough to get used to.
Vincent Hermann

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