Author: James Morris
Genre: Alternate history
Date Read: 19/12/2015
(Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes)
I read Melophobia is a day. It’s a really interesting alternate history, the premise being that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to cope with the sexual revolution and events like Woodstock, the US government began the War on Moral Decay. All types of creativity, such as music, film and art, are illegal, except for government-approved material. Those arrested for either obtaining or creating illegal art are sent to re-education facilities where they receive treatment from Levels 1 – 4.
As with most alternate histories, we have a main character who starts to question the status quo. In this case, it is Merrin Pierce, one half of a police partnership tasked with bringing down The Source, an anonymous composer supplying music to all the various factions of fans. As Merrin gets deeper and deeper into her investigation and the musical world, she starts to question everything she’s been brought up to believe.
Merrin was a good character, though I did find some of her character development a bit rushed. Rowan, her main contact in the music community, had an interesting backstory that was revealed at a good pace. My main issue was with Anders, Merrin’s colleague and ex-boyfriend. He was possessive and stalker-y, and wouldn’t take no for an answer, despite the fact that Merrin made it clear she wasn’t interested in him anymore. Characters like this really bother me.
The world-building was solid and consistent though I would have liked to know more about what was going on in the rest of the world in this version of events. Was the ban on creativity world-wide, or just in the USA? Both the Beatles and the Who were mentioned among the bands that were reeducated – was the British government okay with this? Would U2 have really had to stay in hiding or could they have just gone home and been fine?
Overall, I recommend this book for fans of Orwell and the like – an entertaining what-might-have-been.