Will Kostakis, Monuments, Lothian Children’s Books, August 2019, 288 pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780734419224
All 16-year-old Connor is trying to do is avoid his ex-best friend when he stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same secret chamber looking for an ancient being, things take an unexpected turn . . . and Connor’s life will never be the same again.
Along with the mysterious Sally and, later on, his new friend Locky, Connor discovers the Monuments – gods who have been buried for generations – who created the world and hid themselves away from humanity to keep everyone safe. But now they’re exposed and vulnerable, and Connor isn’t sure who, himself included, can be trusted with the knowledge and the power these gods have.
Monuments is the first in a duology from Gold Inky Award Winner and OZYA star author, Will Kostakis. Set in contemporary Sydney, this fantasy story is a fast-paced, fun and extraordinary adventure. Main character Connor or Con, is intent on hiding and wallowing in his grief over the loss of his friendship when an impromptu trip down a secret chamber under the school changes his life forever.
Wrapped up in this action-packed urban fantasy, Monuments delivers subtle commentary on power and influence. Having been thrust into the world of Gods and Monuments, Connor must confront who he really is and what he stands for. Ignoring stereotypical YA representations, Kostakis has created authentic diverse characters. They grapple with real-life issues such as the loss of a friendship, the joy and nervousness of new relationships, and the ever-important issues of identity and belonging. Connor is equal parts witty, awkward and heroic. His blossoming relationship with Locky is sweet and adds a tenderness to the otherwise excitement-fuelled adventure.
Reviewed by Fiona Miller-Stevens