Dystopian December - Emma Trevayne!

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Guest post by Emma Trevayne!

Hi everyone, and thanks to Hannah and Claire for having me at Dystopian December!

I'm supposed to be using this space to tell you about my book, which, honestly feels a little weird. (The talking about it, not the book. Or maybe the book, too.) That's something I'm still getting used to--the idea that there's this book I wrote making its way out into the world, and talking about it feels, in some ways, like talking about myself, which I've never been great at. But I'll do my best!

CODA came to me in a flash of inspiration in the week after Christmas 2010. I spent a confused, somewhat agonized January wondering if I could get this voice in my head to shut up so I could work on the book I'd already been working on for quite a while at that point. Obviously, I couldn't. That voice was Anthem's, the main character, and he was very, very persistent. The other book is still in a state of not-done-ness, though I've written other things since. Anyway, back to CODA.

It is, in the technical sense, a dystopian novel, but I rarely characterize it like that because it's more accurate to call it cyberpunk, albeit "light" cyberpunk. Dystopias are one defining feature of cyberpunk, but what I was really after was the incredibly close relationship between humans and technology that is another characteristic of it, so the dystopian aspect was half organic, half accidental. Just the way the story needed to be told to get what I needed, which in my opinion is the only way to write a book. Listen to the story.

Anthem lives in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic New York City that is, as far as anyone knows, the only city to have survived a disastrous war. They're cut off from anything and everything beyond Manhattan, and the city is ruled by a cruel, authoritarian group known only as the Corporation. After taking power, the Corporation needed a way to control the citizens, keep populations down and rebellions smothered. What they came up with was music.

Note: I make a lot of stuff up about the music in CODA, but there is valid science behind the base concept of music as a drug. It has already been proven to have all kinds of physiological and psychological effects on humans. Equally, this was inspired by seeing people walk around with earbuds in all the time, oblivious to the rest of the world--and I'm as guilty of that as anyone. Probably more so than the average person.

Anthem and everyone around him struggle with addiction, and the knowledge that their lives are very short, by today's standards. Time is precious, so they all find ways to make their lives bearable. For Anthem, that's breaking the law. In a society where all music is encoded as a drug, harshly regulated, and required listening, all other music is strictly forbidden. No one's allowed to make it without the Corporation's permission, but laws, as they say, are made to be broken. It's his involvement with a secret, underground band that first inspires Anthem to take action--to save his own life, and the lives of his younger siblings who haven't yet been exposed to the drug. 

What else can I tell you without being spoiler-y? There's a love story, but I've never viewed CODA as a romance. There's action, and danger, and--I hope--a lot of compassion. More than anything, and despite the microchips in their heads, the identification chips at their wrists, I hope I've made these characters very human. And I hope you'll all read it. 

Thank you, again!

Author Links:

Website - Twitter - Goodreads -

Coda - 
Emma Trevayne
Released: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Running Press Kids

Synopsis: Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.

Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?

Win an ARC of Coda! International!

Claire Blennerhassett

Reader, Blogger

Twenty-something | book-blogger | tea-drinker | procrastinator | wannabe-writer | student


  1. hi! it says on the post that it is INTL, but on the tweet it says US only?


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