Coda by Emma Trevayne: review

Coda (Coda #1)Coda by Emma Trevayne
Series: Coda #1
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: May 7th 2013
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?

My Thoughts:

Beware: Major gushing ahead!

I would say that I loved Coda with all my heart and soul. But that isn’t true. I loved this book with all my heart and soul and ears. I swear that when I was holding and reading this wonderful book, I heard music coming off the pages. I am not kidding you.

You see, I have an exclusive obsession with music. Even as I type this review, I am listening to a song playing. Sure, my taste in music is vastly different from many other people who I interact with in life, but still. Maybe that is why I felt such a connection to Coda, a book that is about the need for real music. The need for real music that will wrap around you and gift you not with corrupt addiction but with pure emotion.

In the world that has been taken over by the Corp, the people aren’t allowed to have real music. Instead, they are forced to listen to encoded music that is literally an addicting drug. The Corp doesn’t care that the ‘music’ is shortening and destroying the people’s lives. The Corp doesn’t care that the people feel suffocated by the addiction that constantly urges them to go to a console and listen to a track that will cause them to slip into a corrupted but blissful high. The Corp just wants to control.

But Anthem is secretly going against the Corp. He is in a illegal underground band that plays the real music that he craves so much. It is this real music, along with the existence of his little brother and sister, that helps him get through the days, even though his life is slowly being damaged and shortened.

It is only until the Corp’s musical tracks kill off one of Anthem’s dear friends that he realizes that he needs to take a stand and not just play music awhile being unknown.

Obviously, Coda has a very, very unique story that mixes up the genres of cyberpunk, dystopia, and science fiction. But there is also the question on whether the execution is good or bad. I will answer that question by saying this: the execution is superb. Trevayne created a story that is captivating, addictive, and raw.

The pacing is at a perfect speed. The plot twists are often times jawdropping and painful. And the writing conveys so much emotion and beauty, even with all the ugly addiction and bright neon lights. And the way the author describes music is really gorgeous.

“This is music. Scope starts, an eerie drone into which Pheonix rains clear, metallic mist. Long, languid notes slide from Johnny’s guitar, and Mage hits a drum note once. Just once. Stale, ordinary air transforms to song in my lungs, a cloud of warmth that spreads out from my chest and sets my limbs buzzing. Johnny’s heavy, darkly sensuous song surrounds me and imbues me with secret energy, like kissing at night.” –Page 28

Anthem was such of a fantastic protagonist. He isn’t perfect and constantly doubts himself and makes mistakes. But he is a determined soul that will go to great lengths to protect the people he loves… even if it means that he must go against everything he believes in. The way that Trevayne writes this character is flawless. I felt his addiction, suffocation, doubt, sadness, anger, and hope. I felt his character with such clarity that it hurt sometimes.

And the rest of the gang: Haven, Scope, Mage, Pheonix, Yellow Guy, and Pixel were characters that I attached to rather quickly. I invested a lot of love and trust in them. And even though that trust was ripped apart multiple times, I still loved them. Well, most of them, anyway. There is one certain character that I will never forgive.

I believe I should also mention that the ending chapters turned my heart to glass and shattered it into a trillion and one pieces. I can’t say why because of how much I will reveal by doing so, but really, it was harsh. But after I read the last page, I felt a glimmer of hope. Even though Coda is the symbol of an ending, there is always a new beginning. Which is why I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

The passion that was poured into this story left me literally speechless. The music element, and integral part of the story, glowed with passion. The characters were finely written with passion. Everything. I don’t think I have read a dystopian novel that had such obvious passion put into it.

To put it plainly, this book absolutely floored me. So much so that I am sure that this review is kind of useless.


I also just loved the fact that awhile Anthem is bisexual, that trait didn’t define him as a person. We need more of those LGBTQ+ characters in YA.