Reader: AJ G.
Author: Emma Trevayne
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pub Date: 05/27/14
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I don't think I would recommend this book. It's the sequel to Coda, which I think is most accurately described as being like The Matrix, but with music shoved into the plot line. The sequel is really not much different. The main character is the younger sister of the protagonist in Coda, which would be fine, if she wasn't quite as whiny. She spends a solid third of the book complaining about how she doesn't want to take on the burden of saving everyone from the miraculously restored Corp. Quick tangent about the Corp, it was almost too miraculously restored. It just sprang back up in about a day. Returning to the main character, she seems to think that being a hero is the single worst thing that you can do. It takes her twin brother attempting to shoot her to get her to accept that she has to do something. And even then she only does it because she was going to anyway, just later and only for herself. The writing in this book was fine, but I just really disliked the main character. I also disliked that whenever music was referenced (which is quite a lot) there is no real description of the music. All the descriptions are something like, "The drums were beating wildly, like my heart, and the guitar was like an extension of my hands, and my voice sang out such beautiful and inspiring words." The author never gives you a snippet of what the song is actually about, through lyrics. While that isn't a necessary part of writing about music, it would provide the reader with a better understanding of what the music was like, beyond the main character's music being good and natural and the Corp's music being evil and synthetic.
Memorable or Forgettable: The reluctance of Alpha (the main character) to take on the role of the protagonist was a really different narrative than you would traditionally find in a book like this. Even in Coda, the other book in this series, Anthem takes on the role of the hero unblinkingly. This could have worked better than it did in the story if, for example, Alpha had done less whining about how she wasn't a leader and tried to find a cure for her flashbacks while biding her time, or something. I just didn't see the whining as essential or helpful to the story. Another memorable aspect was finding out about other cities beyond the Web that had survived the apocalypse. Typically you wouldn't even have a sequel to a post-apocolyptic story, but you almost never see surviving communities other than the one where the main character grew up. I would have loved to hear more about how Los Angeles and Seattle had survived differently than the Web, because they obviously don't have the same evil music. Backstory wasn't necessary to the plot, I guess, but it would've been cool.
Cover: I like the cover. I think it fits with the contents in an interesting, but non-direct way. It's not a depiction of the main character, or even a picture of a person, which I really appreciate. I'm so tired of seeing the same model and cover photo on every book. I also like that it isn't a drawing or picture of something in the book. You can tell automatically that it's about music, which I think was an issue with the cover for Coda. I also like that this cover is more colorful. I was immediately drawn to it when I saw it, because it has such a bold design. It definitely will stand out on the shelf.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
tags: post-apocalyptic / music / coming of age / ya lit