Review: Melophobia by James Morris

Friday, December 11, 2015

Publisher: Kindle Press
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Review copy from the author
Pages: 265

Summary (from Goodreads):

Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.

The time—now; the place—America, but in a world where the government controls all forms of art and creativity. Any music sowing the seeds of anarchy is banned—destroyed if found—its creators and listeners harshly punished.

Merrin Pierce works as an undercover Patrol officer assigned to apprehend a fugitive musician who threatens the safe fabric of society, only to confront everything she thought to be true – her values, upbringing, job, and future.

Can love survive in a world without music?

Publisher’s Weekly called it “a convincing alternative history novel and…an accomplished coming-of-age love story that asks big questions about freedom and expressiveness in the face of oppression.”

This is an alternate history, dystopian YA novel in which music is deemed illegal. They have special Musak that is permitted after being okayed by the Minister of Broadcast Standards. What I gather is that the music people are allowed to listen to is the equivalent of classical elevator music.

This book follows Merrin Pierce, a Patrol officer who's job is basically to bust people for listening to music. She and her partner, Anders, get assigned to an undercover operation to bust the Rock and Roll and Punk music scenes and to try to take down the Source, the person responsible for creating and distributing music to the different groups. Merrin's undercover operation takes her to a place where she's really questioning everything she's ever been taught to believe.

Merrin is the daughter of the Minister of Broadcast Standards. Basically, he's a very important guy. She lives with her father because her mother was corrupted by music long ago and left the family, which is something that really motivated her to become a Patrol officer and take down musicians and their fans. She seems to be really good at her job, taking down multiple music scenes in undercover operations. I really don't know what to say about her. It was like a week between sessions when I could read this book and I don't remember a LOT from the first half of this book, but I guess I didn't really feel a lot about Merrin. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't have any strong feelings about her in general. I did really like her in the end of the book though.

Anders is Merrin's partner and former boyfriend. They went to high school together and then joined the Patrol together. Anders is FAR from over Merrin and basically everything he does is spurred by his lingering feelings for her. At first, he comes off as a good partner trying to do what he thinks is best for her, but in the end, I think he just comes off as a creepy douchebag. 

There is romance in this book that I found to be unexpected, yet somehow expected. I ended up really liking the romance. Merrin really learns to see things from the other side in this relationship and starts to question everything she's ever known and believed. 

The beginning of this book did not totally reel me in, but the second half of this book really turned into a page turner for me. I feel like the end of this book was full of plot twists that I never would have seen coming at all! I can think of three things in the second half that made me glue myself to this book. I feel like this book is a little bit slow, but then BOOM, the ending gets near and fit really hits the shan. The ending of this book just wasn't really fair. The betrayal and heartbreak nearly killed me.

There are a few things about this book that weren't my favorite. This is an alternate history where somewhere along the way, music became illegal, but I don't remember at all how that came to be. There was information on that in the beginning of the book, but in general, reading the history in a book makes my eyes glaze over so this is really a 'me' problem. I also feel like the whole music being bad doesn't come across urgently enough to make this reality seem really plausible. Maybe I missed a key piece of information when my eyes glazed over during the history lesson, but I don't understand their logic as to why music is wrong. I think they don't want it to evoke feelings in people that could turn to anarchy, but if that's the case, I think a lot of other art can do the same thing, but that doesn't seem to be illegal.

This book kind of has a big cliffhanger for an ending. I really kind of hope that there's more to this series because nothing is even close to resolved. Like not at all. I kind of feel a deep need to know what happens to all these characters now.

Overall, I think that this was a really interesting read. It was interesting to read about a world where music was illegal, even if it didn't feel as important as I felt it should. I think that people who are really into music and the music scene would enjoy this book.

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