In a dystopian future where music is a corporate-controlled mind-altering substance, an illegal underground band revolts through pure music.
It started with specially encoded music that provided pain relief when pharmaceutical medicines ran short. By the time Anthem comes of age, music has gone beyond medical and even recreational uses. It’s how the Corp controls the population. All citizens are legally required to be music addicts, craving it even though it eventually destroys them. Lower-class citizens like Anthem are further destroyed by working as conduits, plugging their bodies into machines to power the Corp’s Grid with their energy. Anthem’s only reasons for living are protecting his younger siblings, comforting his dying father, spending time with his not-quite girlfriend and playing real, unencoded music in a secret underground band. Despite conflicting opinions on whether the band should risk playing for audiences, they stay private—until one of their own is killed immediately upon listening to a corporate music track. Anthem strikes back through his music in illegal concerts, planning a revolution. A betrayal endangers everyone Anthem loves, forcing him to make difficult choices. The fictional world doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny, but the quick pace conceals it well. Anthem’s personal connections to the richly written cast make the character-driven plot sing.
Trevayne’s debut showcases a creative concept, skillful dialogue and vivid characters. (Science fiction. 13 & up)