Giant robotic monuments litter Mehndria, worshipped as gods by some and loathed as monsters by others. 800 years ago, these massive assailants appeared from nowhere and unexpectedly attacked the warring city-states. Now one nation, the people of Mehndria barely remember their past – but for better or for worse, that is about to change.
The plot of The Monuments proceeds as an expertly crafted unfolding mystery, to be peeled back layer by satisfying layer. A story that deals in tough, philosophical and ethical quandaries, The Monuments explores the challenging concept that worldly and governmental change is not possible unless the old is destroyed and rebuilt as new. While this premise is not entirely original, the different ways in which the creators develop the idea is: through character development and narrative style.
There are three characters that we follow in this story, each having their own past challenges, hopes and desires, and ways of viewing the world. As they develop, and so too does the plot, we’re able to understand each characters’ reasoning behind their actions, whether we agree with them or not. Additionally, presenting a juxtaposition in narrative, the reader is privy to not only the present day happenings in Mehndria, but equally to the events that took place 800 years prior and how they shaped the present.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the beautiful art. Through vivid and detailed facial expressions and body language, Bracco presents a keen sense of emotion in his illustrations that helped me feel along with his characters. The landscapes and monuments present a mood mixed with wonder and foreboding. Likewise, Mertz enhances the overall tone of the book with a combination of bright and gloomy colors and shading.
Bracco, Mertz, and Isenberg have created a fascinating world with The Monuments. Sci-fi, fantasy, and modern elements intertwine to make it a truly unique experience. While the story felt complete, I can’t help but hope there’s more to come, as I’d love to further explore the past and future of United Mehndria. Action-packed and compelling, this book is truly monumental!
Thank you to Michael S. Bracco, Oliver Mertz, and Mike Isenberg for the ARC of The Monuments. The Kickstarter for The Monuments launches April 1.