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.

Bonus:

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.

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Otherborn by Anna Silver: review + giveaway of a Kindle Fire HD

Otherborn (Otherborn, #1)Otherborn by Anna Silver

Series: Otherborn #1

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction

Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing

Release Date: April 4th 2013

Synopsis: London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

My Thoughts: 

What a book! I have fallen in love with Otherborn. This isn’t a perfect dystopian novel. But there is just something that makes my adrenaline pump, but also makes me want to fall in a deep sleep and dream whenever I read a page of this book about a terrible world and strange dreams.

The originality that Otherborn contains quite obvious. I will bet you any amount of money that you will be amazed by the premise. The creativity that author’s have always put me in a state of awe and Anna Silver’s creativity is no different from many other great authors.

The atmosphere in Otherborn is fantastic. Sometimes I could have sworn that the smell of blood was wafting into my room. Or that tendrils of darkness were creeping under my door. If what I just described doesn’t seem like a well made atmosphere to you then I don’t know what is. Otherborn isn’t horror, but it was certainly able to send shivers down my spine.

The word prickly describes London well, I think. She was a bit hard to like at first. But prickly isn’t the only word that describes her. London is a capable, tough, hardened protagonist who will etch herself into your mind and never leave.

The side characters were also well written. They are impossible to categorize. Their personalities don’t shine as bright as London’s, but they would still be forces to be reckoned if they were to be compared to side characters in other stories.

Silver is a master story teller, I believe. And like all great story tellers she has a way with handling words. She writes a first-person narration in a way that flows wonderfully well. And the way she builds a world is skillful and fascinating.

A person who is a fan of dystopian will want to know if the dystopian world is explained in a believable way, yes? To answer that question I will say that there is a little bit of explaining, but there are a more detailed needed, I believe. I thought that the backstory was a little bit lacking. Hopefully this teensy flaw is fixed in the later installments.

The ending is the type of ending that will have you craving for more. I am in desperate want for the next book and I am sure that you will, too if you ever read this amazing book.

Otherborn is not one of the better dystopian novels I have read. It is one of the best dystopian novels I have read. Now that statement may make you raise an eyebrow, but I assure you that this really is the best kind of dystopian for me. Creepy and unsettling are my favorite kind of vibes to get from a book after all!

A free copy of this book was provided in return for a honest review for this tour.

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*This post is part of the Otherborn Blog Tour: 

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Höst: review

And All the StarsAnd All The Stars by Andrea K. Höst

Standalone

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian

Publisher: Andrea K. Höst (Self-published)

Release Date: September 30th 2012

Synopsis: Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.

Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.

None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.

Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

My thoughts: With the promise of cupcakes I began reading this book without really knowing what to expect. In the end, though, And All The Stars exceeded my expectations. Höst was able to keep me turning the pages, wanting more. I would say that And All Stars has a dose of almost everything. Science fiction, romance, action, superpowers, great characters, and emotional scenes. And there are cupcakes.

Cupcakes…The universe couldn’t live without them.

I am serious. This book has a lot of baking in it. Lots and lots of baking. It made me hungry just reading this book.

Madeleine Cost is a skilled artist, aspiring to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. She plans to paint the portrait of her cousin, Tyler, the handsome, famous actor. However, Madeleine’s plans quickly change when the world is suddenly covered in glittering dust.

What surprised me the most is that this story was set in present time. Most science fiction novels I read are set far into the future. This allowed me to focus more on the actual apocalypse instead of trying to learn more about the world. This book is also set in Australia! The place that I dream of going to! So yay!

The author has a talent for creating loveable, relateable, and humorous characters. I couldn’t get enough of the Blue Musketeers. Madeleine, Noi, Pan, Fisher, Nash, Emily, and Min were easy characters to read about. I really loved how they were able to support each other and work together. The friendship between the Musketeers is quite refreshing.

Now. If you want a fast paced story filled with action than you might want to stay away from this book. And All The Stars is about survival and trying to take down your enemies. It is slow and it takes a lot of time for the excitement to build up. Did this take away from my enjoyment of the book? No. I liked how this story didn’t rush itself to be exciting. This story had substance. Besides, even with its slow pacing And All The Stars is still a very entertaining novel. The characters make sure of that.

I was also surprised how emotional this book made me. This book made me cry! Some scenes made me so emotional that I had to set down my kindle and take a break. And even when I wasn’t reading this book I felt really sad.

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The romance in this book is the kind of romance that takes it time to build up. Madeleine and Fisher’s relationship went from just being attracted to each other to love in a realistic amount of time.

And All The Stars is not just an alien book. It is a book with substance. I highly recommend it.

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.