Legend meets Leviathan in this gritty steampunk fiction by debut author Sophia Elaine Hanson. Charged with fear, heavy with heartbreak, and stitched with unexpected moments of joy,Vinyl is perfect for fans of Cinder andDivergent.
In the heart of the once powerful nation of Arutia lies the reclusive city state of Revinia. All citizens within its soaring black walls have metal Singers grafted into their skulls at birth. The parasitic machines issue a form of auditory hypnosis called The Music, which keeps their minds malleable and emotions flat. All artistic expression—especially real music—is strictly prohibited.
On the edge of the city, nineteen year old Ronja struggles to support her family. Plagued by migraines and haunted by prejudice brought on by her mother—a ‘mutt’ genetically twisted as punishment for crimes unknown—Ronja is hanging by a thread. Then, a chance meeting leads to her kidnapping by the Anthem, an underground resistance working to snuff The Music and preserve the human spirit. Violently severed from her Singer by the brash young agent Roark, Ronja revels in her newfound freedom…until she returns home to discover her family has been taken as a result of her disappearance.
The first in a trilogy, Vinyl is a story of loyalty, passion, trauma, human connection, and the extraordinary power of real music.
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Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: future readers be warned: 77% is a life ruiner moment; this book is gritty, unique, and all sorts of epic; I’ve never read anything QUITE like it; I need book two like yesterday; awesome characters; “the chosen one”…but not really; all-around wonderful
I should probably begin with the thing everyone’s thinking, probably. Future readers, beware: that 77% mark WILL stop your heart. It is the plot twist from hell. It will rip it into teeny tiny pieces and scatter them to the four corners of the world. It will laugh in your face and refuse to back down. Please—breathe through it. Don’t hyperventilate. Don’t throw your book across the room, because that will only hurt your book. DON’T set your book aside in a fit of anger. This, too, shall pass. Maybe.
Moving on. Sophia Elaine Hanson, you’ve just become my newest favorite person ever—and not just because you took my random fits of twitter rants in stride. Those were by and far ugly; I blame my heart giving out at the earlier stated plot-twist from hell.
“The Music was not crafted to protect the people of Revinia from their demons. It is a muzzle, one that purges all powerful emotions and rebellios inclinations, prevents tumult in the face of Bullon’s injustice. It exchanges your natural-born passions for a single thought: Be loyal to The Conductor.”
This book? Is steampunk dystopian like you’ve NEVER seen it. I know, you probably hear that every time someone recommends a new book for you to read, but trust me: I’m not lying, I’m not exaggerating, I’m singing these praises loudly but only because I stand behind them completely. The ideas in this book are so unique. And the writing?! is absolutely gorgeous. This book is dark, and dreary, and just the right amount of spine-shuddering creepy. When you crack this book, you will feel like you’ve stepped immediately into the world—it breathes, sings, and screams into life around you. It haunts you. It kidnaps and forces you to watch as it unravels and laughs as it shatters your hopes again, and again, and again…
Sophia Elaine Hanson knows how to write a world, is what I’m saying. She starts you off in the middle, as is the way…but wraps you in so much world-building, you’ll feel as if you’re not only watching from the sidelines, but are privvy to your own set of headphones and dome-like movie theater. You will see this world as if in 3D. The characters will grip your fingers, claw their way down your spine, and settle somewhere around (or on top of) your heart. They will build themselves a home inside your ribcage and then trample all over it—and you’ll LOVE every second, I promise. Ronja is just the sort of strong-willed, sassy MC I love reading about. The rest of the characters, as well, have a tendency to wrap themselves around your little finger and pull you along where they want to go.
“The Music is a beast, Ronja. A living, breathing beast that has its claws on your pulse. When your heart races, it clutches you harder.”
The plot is linear…but there’s an interesting experiment with varied perspectives going on throughout that I found not annoying, but intriguing and well-done. There aren’t so many that it gets confusing—the main perspective generally remains with Ronja—but there’s enough of a draw-back to open up book two to some interesting possibilities in regards to viewpoint. With everything that happens at the end of the read, I imagine this will be coming into play in said next book.
Overall, this was an amazing, life-ruining experience and I am SO so glad I picked up this book on the whim that I did! The only problem is…book two isn’t even finished yet. Someone remind me why I do this to myself? I think I’ve forgotten in the echoing heartaches this read left me with. I definitely recommend this to lovers of steampunk, dystopian, and uniquely amazing world-building! This just soared to the top of my “new favorites” list; I can’t wait to see what’s in store come book two!