Series: Coda #1
Published by Running Press Kids on January 1st, 2013
Genres: young adult
Buy on Amazon
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?
Forgotten Fridays is a monthly feature here where the three of us get together to read an older book and discuss it. There are sometimes spoilers, but we always try our best to avoid them.
Lyn: Can I say that I am so, so, so, so sorry??
Kara: You don’t have to apologize! These things happen. Now I know why I had a bad gut feeling about this book and never read it when it came out. Because, it was, like, seriously BAD.
Lyn: I love music, and I liked how music was treated like a stimulate in the description, so I thought it would make for a GREAT novel. That is what caused me to get so upset over this novel: I saw a lot of potential in the story line, because a lot of music now uses ploys to get people to like it, and music can give you an emotional high or low. I already bought into the premise, so I was set to LOVE this novel.
Kara: I am surprised you bought into the premise because it was one of the main reasons the novel failed for me. I just didn’t believe that music could be encoded to turn it into a painkiller, or a relaxant, or to even kill you. Science just doesn’t work that way. If it had been something milder like you said and just had been an emotional high or low, it would have been more believable for me. But they we wouldn’t have had much of a plot, would we?
Lyn: Yeah, using music to directly kill someone was way out of bounds. I can accept music making someone get emotional enough TO KILL someone, or even harm themselves, but I can believe music can dull pain or help you relax. I think it would have worked if there had been some type of world building. Seriously, I got to page 60, and I had no freaking clue what was happening. How did this all work? Why was everything so sketchy? Everyone had the same voice and the writing never caused me to feel anything but boredom.
Kara: Yeah, the world building was completely crap. HOW did this world come to be like this, and WHY did it exist? And also, why would their government want people to die before the age of 30? It just doesn’t fucking make sense. I need me world to make sense within the context of the narrative and this was just stupid. Honestly, it felt like some high schooler’s over-reaching creative writing project. Like, TONE IT DOWN, BUDDY.
Also, like you said, I freaking hated the writing. I needed more details, there was just a lot of vagueness, and descriptions just did not have enough for me. Explanations left me feeling confused and I just didn’t get what was going on half the time. I had to reread so many passages and I just didn’t want to because frankly, I hated this book.
I had no attachment to the characters either. I kinda hated them. I liked Anthem a little, but not enough to care. They had no backstories, no depth, this book was all plot and not plot that made any sense.
Lyn: It did feel like a fanfic by an angry adolescent teen wanting to talk down Apple or something. Just, everything above was so spot on. This book was so….juvenile. Besides the lack of world-building, another huge obstacle I ran right into was the pettiness. Anthem acted unfairly to his ex’s new boyfriend and the women in this novel were the typical good/bad girl. Haven was seen as sweet, perfect and ideal, while Phoenix was a downer and caused some strife in the band when she first came. It really pisses me off when a book has the devil/angel approach with female characters, like girls cannot possibly fall into a grey area.
Kara: I don’t know if the author meant to do that, but I agree. I think doing what was done with the female characters is just a hallmark of a writer who doesn’t know how to give depth to their characters in a creative way. Sorry if I am being brutal here, but it’s something I’ve seen time and time again in the work that I do. Characters are either “good” or “bad” and they build the base out from there, rather than writing real and flawed personalities like genuine people. Meh. I was unimpressed.
Also, YES, I was super pissed that Anthem kept calling Scope’s boyfriend “Yellow Guy” and he never got a name throughout the entire book. How petty and childish can you be? I take it back–I hated Anthem for that. It was so ridiculous, and not only that, but it was just incredibly awkward and a bit farfetched for me to read. Every time “Yellow Guy” came up in the narrative I rolled my eyes. Especially toward the end. Like seriously, the entire book? REALLY?!
The only thing I DID like about the book was how Anthem’s sexuality was written. It just fit into the story perfectly, there was no fanfare, it was seen as normal, and it was just truly handled in a classy way. Sometimes I feel like authors add diversity and make it a huge deal when it shouldn’t be.
Lyn: The Yellow Guy issue was the final straw. Between worshipping the future love interest, and the cardboard descriptions, dehumanizing someone with just a nickname was something I couldn’t get past. For a book that totes the human experience with music, there were a lot of anti-humanity messages. And that was just in the first 20%.
Spot on about the GLBT theme. I did love that the story just folded it in, like it’s normal, and nothing to specifically point out. Yes, so many times, I see a lot of attention drawn right to the diversity theme, and it cheapens it a bit. Why reduce someone’s lifestyle down to a ploy disguised as a celebration of diversity? So at least there was one great thing.
So…..I DNFed at 20%. I just stopped caring. This is my first DNF FF book. And that makes me sad.
Kara: I finished the damn thing. I mean there were places where I scanned a bit but, I truly did read most of it because I just had to know how it ended. It did not get better. This ended up being a 1.5 for me, and the .5 was because of the sexuality that we just talked about. The rest was a HUGE mess. But I forgive you. 😀
Lyn: So…..are you going to read the sequel?
Kara: I doubt it. It’s more of a companion novel as it’s about Alpha and Omega, I think. So I can safely pass it up as this book was resolved and finished for the most part. Just not necessary to torture myself further. Haha.
Lyn: Oh, alright. Next month’s pick is by Pixie – Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson.