Monuments (Will Kostakis, Lothian)
Award-winning young adult author Will Kostakis makes his first foray into urban fantasy with Monuments, book one in a duology that has a massive scope but a local setting. Sixteen-year-old Connor is feeling unmoored after a friendship breakdown, so when adventure knocks on his door, he doesn’t turn away. He has no idea that his decision to help a strange girl with an Indiana Jones-esque puzzle in a hidden room under his school will have far-reaching consequences, not just for his own life, but for the whole world. Uncovering five gods buried for generations has repurcussions he can’t possibly comprehend, but with the help of the girl, Sally, and new friend Locky, he might just survive long enough to start to understand. Monuments showcases Kostakis’ trademark easy style and gentle humour but adds something entirely different to his usual work, moving away from grounded storytelling into something rather bigger than expected. While highly readable, the world-building of the book does not always work well, flicking from a relatable teenage life to a universe-building narrative that doesn’t always completely mesh. As an urban fantasy adventure, Monuments will no doubt find an audience among the 13-plus readership it is aimed at, but it lacks the level of sophistication of Kostakis’ previous works.
Tehani Croft is a teacher librarian, academic, publisher and literary awards convenor