Vinyl by Sophia Elaine Hanson

SynopsisAll citizens within the soaring black walls of Revinia 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 cousins and disabled mother. A chance meeting leads to her kidnapping by an underground resistance striving to preserve the human spirit. Violently severed from her Singer by the brash young agent Roark, Ronja revels in her newfound freedom until the consequences of her disappearance begin to unfold.

Trigger warnings: Use of the word "mutt" to refer to disabled people; references to substance-abuse
Review: First off, props to Sophia for giving me characters I enjoyed to read about. I rarely find a book where I like every character presented, but Vinyl was definitely one of them. Ronja had moments where her actions confused me. She seemed to hold a lot of resentment towards her mother, but then she rushed out to save her. I guess she loved her mom deep, deep down? Her attitude throughout the rest of the book made me think otherwise. The other characters were compelling and I can't wait to spend more time with them in the next couple of books. I will say, the treatment of "disabled" people in this world left much to be desired. The only disabled people Vinyl were created by the ruling government as a form of punishment. They have physical disfigurements, and they are treated horribly. That's something to keep in mind for anyone reading this book.

The story was compelling. I thought the idea of music being a kind of hypnosis was interesting and I was excited to see how it played out. What I appreciated the most was how this book took common dystopian tropes and turned them on their head. It felt unique in a world of similar dystopians. When reading this book, I naturally assumed there would be a love triangle between Roark, Ronja, and Henry, but something happened at the end to make me question that. I'm still wary because I know how tricky authors can be. I'm hoping the future books can shed a better light on the disabled characters in this world. I expect that to be explained a bit more, and in a more positive way.

Vinyl is a page-turner. The world is small, but well crafted. I have high expectations for the rest of the series.

4 howls