Review Detail

Vinyl Featured
Young Adult Indie 2003
A Solid Dystopian Debut
(Updated: December 13, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
4.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Vinyl is a true young adult novel that will appeal to fans of dystopia and steampunk. It takes place in the city of Revinia where all citizens are implanted with a device that suppresses their emotions and makes them pliable and submissive to the city’s leaders. Ronja—a young city dweller—has worn “a singer” since she was born. She endures its grating “Music” every time her emotions get out of control, which is often, considering the hardships and injustices she and her family go through day in and day out. Life is not easy, and she must scrape bare bottom just to put food on the table and keep her small cousins from joining Revinia’s bedraggled workforce.

But everything changes when she meets Roark, a mysterious boy who defies everything she knows. He comes into her life with a destructive force and undoes the flimsy existence she’s so carefully juggled into place. It is then that Ronja’s metal is tested, and we find a strong protagonist ready to fight for the right things, ready to put everything on the line for those she loves. Following her through each new discovery, we learn about Ravinia and it’s wicked history, as well as Vinyl’s amazing characters who come to life in full 3-D, proving that friendship, family, and justice are causes worth fighting for.

Page-turning action will keep the reader engaged, while unexpected twists will please even the most harden genre fans. Vinyl’s strengths lie with its many well-developed characters and clean prose. Though, the novel is not without its fault. Mainly, I feel the author missed the opportunity to create a richer world and show the effects that singers have on people’s emotions. For the most part, Revinia comes across as any bustling city and the occasional mention of airships and autos does little to construct a proper steampunk vibe. Moreover, the city appears like an isolated island in a world that is a complete unknown. What is beyond Revinia? How can it be so disconnected from everything else and get away with outfitting its citizens with mind-control devices without any judgment from anyone? Similarly, Revinia’s people are very much like regular Earth citizens (with the exception of Ronja’s mother who is known as a mutt) and don’t fully and convincingly portray a population under the evils of mind-control. How do they differ from us? What are some of the things they do that we would never do? A deeper exploration in this area would surely help create a better picture of this foreign world.

Those looking for a unique dystopia will not be disappointed with Vinyl and will turn the last the page wishing the sequel was at their fingertips.
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