Published by Running Press Kids on 7th May 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
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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.Coda is stunning.
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?
It has a tremendous cast of characters, a breathtaking plot, and most of all, it's a love song to music itself. It's about the freedom that creative expression brings us. It's about addiction, set in a world where the government uses music as a drug to control its citizens. It's about love and family and sacrifice.
Trevayne's writing style is so lyrical and subtle and absorbing. Everything she describes is so palpable. I was almost moved to tears several times.
Anthem is a great MC. He's passionate about music and he cares about his little twin siblings (who are adorable!) more than anything else, and he is driven by his love for them. He shares a wonderful friendship with Scope, who is his ex-boyfriend, and who knocks some common sense into him. (For anyone curious about the LGBTQ element in this story, Coda appears to be set in a world where no one much cares about anyone's sexual orientation. Anthem is into guys and girls, and Scope seems to date guys only.)
But oh, HAVEN. Haven is the girl that Anthem is in love with. I can't say much about Haven without spoiling the story, but. Haven is my favourite character. She's fierce, resilient, and amazingly competent at what she does: writing code and hacking. She comes from a much higher class of citizens in comparison to Anthem; it's hinted from the beginning that her father is a powerful figure and has some influence within the Corp. Her relationship with Anthem is searingly beautiful; I just loved how completely smitten Anthem was with her, how he writes songs about her. There's so much heat and wonder in their relationship. It's one of the most gorgeously understated romances I've ever come across in YA, so well-written and full of heartbreaking moments.
Anthem uses music to fight back against an oppressive regime. The Corp doesn't allow any unauthorised music; but he plays bravely on. The plot gets quite interesting and complicated, and there are a fair few twists, and sometimes, terrible and awful things happen. Coda was quite unflinchingly realistic.
It doesn't quite manage to get five stars from me because the story felt a little slow at times, especially to begin with, and there were some confusing bits. I found that the writing style didn't quite work when it came to scenes where there was a lot of action actually happening.
That said, the ending was just perfect. Soaring and achingly lovely, and Trevayne's writing really shone there. Its bittersweet note lingers, and I'm sure it'll keep playing through my mind for days to come.