Review: Coda by Emma Trevayne

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 17, 2014 | 10 Comments

Review: Coda by Emma TrevayneCoda by Emma Trevayne
Series: Coda #1
Published by Running Press Kids (5.7.2013)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Source: I own it
Buy on Amazon

2 Stars

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

I didn’t care much for the delivery, but the concept was pretty cool. My favorite part was the idea of the memory chips that everyone has, which allow family members to access memories after the person’s death. This would be wonderful! If you lose a relative, you’ll always have something to remember them by. The whole music as a drug thing was awesome and original! The people do something called “tracking” – which is basically getting high off of music. And you could OD on music. Very interesting! I did really like that bit.

But – did you see that but coming? – the unique concept wasn’t enough to make up for the glaring lack of world building. Things weren’t explained well enough for me, things like ‘hygiene cube’ and ‘trans-pod’ – yes, I can figure them out from subtext, but I’d like to at least get a picture in my head of what they looked like! They weren’t described at all. I had a lot of trouble picturing anything in the world, because you were simply told about something  and it wasn’t described to you. And what is Quadrant Two? How many Quadrants are there? What is the layout of the Quadrants? What year is it?!

Red meat is almost non-existent down here – the only land on which large animals can be kept is the giant park in the middle of the island, and even those are weak, over-cloned from the ones brought in before the siege began.

What siege? When? How long ago?

Tunnels were caved in, bridges were dismantled. To keep us safe, of course. To keep us protected in a fortress of glass and steel and concrete. The airports didn’t survive the war, and the last planes fell out of the sky when the pulse bombs went off.

Safe from what? What war? What pulse bombs? WHEN?! Argh. It was so frustrating! I also didn’t figure out what the hell an Exaur was until 1/3 of the way through the book – and then only from context – because it was never explained either. Seriously, all it would take was one second to say “blah blah Exaur – someone who’s been rendered deaf as punishment – blah blah.” 

Other than that, I was just bored. The pacing was painfully slow and I struggled to finish the book. The story had fabulous potential, but the delivery was kind of stiff and dry and I couldn’t really connect like I hoped. I also didn’t care about what was happening to any of the characters. View Spoiler » 

There is a mild LGBT undercurrent, but it’s not in your face. I wouldn’t even think it’s worth mentioning, but that may not be some people’s thing. It’s not exactly mine, either, but I didn’t mind it because it was so mild.

Overall Assessment

Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 3/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 1/5
Pace: 1/5
Feels: 0.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Jessi (Geo)

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10 responses to “Review: Coda by Emma Trevayne

  1. This is truly disappointing. I’m one of those crazy music people that when I find a really excellent new song, feels compelled to make everyone around sit and listen. Kind of like books, LOL. SO yes, the premise sounds awesome. But what good is a premise if that’s all there is? Like you, it would have driven me batty to read references to sieges and wars that were never explained, and to bored in between frustrations . . . yuck.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this book, but I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. I’m so music crazy….I just HAVE to read this book and find out if I’ll like it. But so many unanswered questions?? That’s annoying. I get a bit frustrated when books do that, because I feel like I’m not really IN the book, you know? I like being swallowed by books when I read. :)

  3. Ahhh That’s so sad :( The blurb sounds so cool!! I love the idea of draining certain people’s life to power the grid. I think I just in generally love tech-savvy dystopian worlds. There are so much to be done with good imagination. It’s a shame the writing and plot are not on par with the idea. It is always frustrating when authors just conjure things up with much back stories.

  4. Well, this is unfortunate. I added this to my TBR list early last year, I think, and I was really looking forward to it because that premise just sounds amazing. Sad to hear the execution didn’t work out too well.

  5. Aw man. I hate when a book just doesn’t live up to expectations. A concept can only take you so far.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but thank you for an honest review. I think I will pass on this one.

  6. I hadn’t heard of this book yet. But you are right, the premise does sound pretty cool. I might still check it out if I can find it at the library.

  7. Those memory chips would be pretty handy to have in real life! That would be a great way to keep someone close to you :) It’s a shame that the world-building was so lacking, because the overall story doesn’t sound so bad.

  8. Yikes! The concept of this one is super cool, the world building sounds terrible. I think I’ll skip this one, which sucks because I love the idea.

  9. Haha! I love your annoyed reviews. I’m sad this one has such a cool cover and isn’t that great. I’ve heard that about this one for sure. :D but great review anyway Jessi!

    (Aah I miss you girl! I have been SO busy that I miss commenting on your blog!)
    XOXO, Inky

  10. I tried to read this one myself a handful of weeks ago. I got to page 80 and dropped it. Like you said, super cool concept but it’s terribly boring and there’s no information given to be interested in the turnout. Not to mention there’s a nearly nonexistent plot.. I can only read so long about a sad boy who stumbles around not doing much of interest.

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