Author: Emma Trevayne
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Running Press (Perseus imprint)
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?
Coda is an extremely inventive and thrilling story, one young man's journey towards revolution and towards freedom. This book is ripe with danger and suspicion, and it highlights the key points of a dystopian setting. The horrors of an oppressive corporation and their corrupt goals, the dreary and dismal setting, the unflinching desire to keep those you care about most safe from harm, the overwhelming search for identity in a world where everyone is forced to be the same, and the discovery of limits, of how far we will go to stay alive. Of how much we will fight back.
Anthem has simple hopes, simple dreams. Keeping his siblings safe is paramount. Keeping them safe from the Corp, from tracking, from addiction. Keeping his father alive. He knows the Corp is dangerous, that it controls everyone, and that there's nothing he can do about it. But whispers are always in the underground, always in dark corners, and Anthem plays music in secret to keep the Corp from gaining complete control over him.
In Anthem's world, music is a drug. Tracking keeps you under the Corp's control, keeps you compliant, and alters your mind. Currently, music is a drug to some. There are songs we can't escape that make us sing along, make us dance, but this in mind control on a new level. This is dangerous and twisted, combining sound and rhythm and something else in order to control the population. Music is no longer seen as an enjoyable form of expression, as freedom, as communication, as art. Except for those willing to go underground.
Addiction is also dangerous, but that's what the Corp does, it uses music to control and keeps the population coming back for more. Then people are always chasing after that next high, that next track, working for the credits to purchase the next track that will send their mind to a different place. Drug addicts doing it to themselves in frightening enough, but when the government does it, when the people in charge does it to their own subjects, it's especially horrifying. And the sad thing is that, even while they cry out for a stop to it, they can't help but go back for another track.
I want more books where sexuality is a non-issue, where characters are who they are and no one questions the gender of their crush or romantic partner. Recent books like The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson and The Culling by Steven dos Santos also have this. Anthem is drawn to Haven, there's something between them, but he has some history with Scope, something that goes beyond friendship. This is part of Anthem, part of who he is as the unlikeliest of heroes and the most caring brother ever. Straight people, gay people, they're still people, it doesn't make them any less human.
The Corp is deadly, everything they do is done under the guide of help while it's actually population control. Tracking keeps them happy, keeps them quiet. Technology keeps everyone under watch. This makes Anthem's situation, his mission, that much more important. And also life-threatening. The Corp's power is seemingly absolute.
Those pushed down by the Corporation, those under its control, are crying out for revolution, but will Anthem be brave enough to pick up the mic and be its voice?
(I received an advance copy of this title at ALA Midwinter.)