Monuments is the first book in a fantasy duology by OZYA author Will Kostakis and it’s hard to believe that this is his first fantasy book. The award-winning author wanted to offer an escape for readers but also turn things upside down by giving power to those who don’t usually have it and, in this case, letting teenagers have their chance to control things in the world!
The story opens with 16-year-old Connor who has recently had a falling out with his best friend Olly. While he is trying to put this out of his mind, Connor manages to find a trap door in a hidden room at his school, Charlton Grammar. Just as Connor realises that this is no ordinary store room but the hiding place of a Monument, Guardian Sally Rodgers appears.
Just to clarify, a Monument is an ancient being, a God and creator of the world. The Monuments have been hidden away for many years keeping themselves away from humans to protect themselves and those who might be tempted by their powers. There are also Guardians for each of the five Monuments. Guardians spend their lives pursuing the Monuments in order to destroy them.
It appears that the Monuments are in danger and they need to be moved and Sally is leading the way. And so, they set off on a journey to locate them all in their hidden chambers, under schools across Sydney. However, Sally who is dealing with the grief of losing her mother has her own agenda and Connor has a lot more than he expects coming his way – including starting a new relationship with Locky who he meets along the way. Connor struggles with his natural tendency to want to play by the rules and yet he is sensitive to the fact that Olly declares him boring. However, being thrown into the chaos and danger of this new world gives him immediate clarity on what’s important.
The initial idea came from Kostakis’ school days when he heard a rumour about secret tunnels under his high school. This mix of school legend, mythology and fantasy also explores friendships, family relationships, loss and grief – there’s lots of fun and a lot of dry humour but also a chance to reflect on real life issues. While the plot is action packed, fire, ice, power struggles and the start of a new relationship, the cast of characters is very diverse with a great representation of the LGBT+ and aboriginal community.
The next instalment called Rebel Gods will be out next year but if your teen 14+ (or you) enjoy Monuments then they might want to go back and read his other books. Find out more about him here.
Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen, and his second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards.
The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories.