Author: Emma Trevayne
Synopsis: Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.
Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?
Review: Okay wow. This book had me from the synopsis. Music is a drug. Music is a drug that KILLS you.
Now, I used to be HUGE into the punk/emo scene back in the early 2000’s. I went to ‘shows’ and moshed in moshpits and loved screamo. I was a ‘your music sucks’ kid. I hated anything that wasn’t ‘my’ music. That all changed when I discovered Japanese pop music and now… I listen to all kinds of stuff. My iTunes is a mix of Japanese, all the scene stuff that used to be my religion, and now even a scattering of rap and hip-hop. I even have a tiny bit of Korean hip-pop.
Music isn’t as integeral to my life as it used to be… but I do get excited about new stuff by my favorite artists (ONLY TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL NEW THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS!!!), and I listen to music a lot. So this book really drew me in and I was able to be properly horrified by it.
This is a perfect dystopian with a fresh twist on how the ‘evil Corp’ controls the citizens. It takes place in a future NYC where we sadly don’t learn much about the war that forced the people into this dystopian society (this was really the only thing that could have bumped my rating down, but the rich prose saved it). I had the feeling that they were kinda the ‘last people on earth’ but not really… just trapped on Long Island. Apparently after the war everyone went there, and medicine was scarce, so they used music to help people get through the pain. One thing lead to another and music was being encoded so it was not only addictive, but it eventually ate through your brain and killed you.
The society had a very dark, edgy feel to it and I imagined the characters to all be a mix of cyber-punks (I read some reviews that referred to them as goths, but the love of neon colors kinda squashed that image for me). I’m not sure if ‘ravers’ are still a thing, but that’s what I pictured these clubs (night clubs where citizens could go and get their fix every night when they weren’t plugging in to ‘track’ at home) to be like… giant raves.
I loved the characters in this book. The narrators was male, which is very rare in YA (and another thing that draws me towards certain books. I LOVE me a male protagonist). He had a family to take care of, a girl he loved, a group of loyal friends, and… his voice. Which he used to go against the Corp. As any musician should be able to do, he was able to start not only a riot, but a revolution.
The writing in this is heavy, and beautiful, and a bit slow at times. It took me a little longer than normal to get through this book, but I didn’t mind too much because I was able to savor it. It took some twists and turns that I did not expect, and there were a few emotionally crushing scenes. But everything lead to a very well done conclusion and I cannot wait for the next book.
And I am SO excited for the next book. When I looked up the synopsis on Goodreads I was surprised to see that it’s not a direct sequel but just a continuation. It’s set in the future, and told from the POV of the narrator’s little sister. Again, a different move than most YA dystopian, but I think it was a smart one. I for one am getting a bit sick of all the trilogies and having to wait years between cliffhangers.
Anyway, I LOVED this book and highly recommend it so GO READ IT NOW.