I received a copy of this book via the author, Dallas Coryell, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for offering me a chance to read your novel!
Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
Pages: 305 pages
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Overall Rating: 3/5 ★★★
Synopsis: “His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”
Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappe
aring into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.
This story centers around the figure of Tegan Lockwood and the journey her heart takes to learn to love again. I must confess, it’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary romance novel. This year I’ve been really into historical non-fiction, fantasy and some old classics, so it took some effort to get back into this type of story. The last thing I had read resembling contemporary was fanfiction. So, there’s that.
But getting back into Melody’s Key, this is a sweet, feel-good story that I really enjoyed. The pace was good and kept me engaged. The language was beautiful, which makes me really excited to see what future projects the author tackles. It was an interesting debut novel that reminded me of the beauty of falling in love. And also, of being a teenager in a world that is not plagued with demons, monsters, fairies or creepy tournaments (sorry, there has been one too many YA fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi books on my shelf lately).
One of the things I loved the most about this book was the family’s dynamic. A thing that unnerves me in young adult novels is the overuse of the misunderstood teenager trope. The brooding, sulking brat that snaps at his/her mother simply because she worries or the completely exaggerated version of a protective mother who just will not let the poor kid take a breath. In Melody’s Key, the family is close-knitted and lovely; they all understand and support one another and there is never a moment of tension between them, not even when the romance begins. They all work hard to keep the family business–a thematic vacation getaway– afloat. Their interactions never seemed forced and they were quite realistic. I loved finally reading about a functional, happy family in a contemporary novel.
I also loved the underlining message, sometimes overused but never untrue, that there is more than meets the eye and no one should judge a book just by its cover. Mason Keane is–in Tegan’s eyes– a spoiled brat and a complete jerk, much like a guy that did unspeakable damage to her body and mind. However, as the story progresses, she realizes Mason is not what she expected, and love blossoms.
It is, as I said previously, a feel-good novel. It is enjoyable and cute but I believe it to be targeted towards a younger audience. I know that I would have loved it when I was fifteen and probably would have daydreamed about meeting a famous pop star that would fall in love with me and take me to live my dreams. However, early-twenties me is not that impressed. Even though I still daydream about fictional characters and will probably never stop because they own my soul, I must say there were some aspects of the novel I didn’t enjoy, simply because I am older and (I hope) wiser.
For example, the clichés. They were all over this book, beginning with the prose. Now, don’t get me wrong, Dallas’ writing style is beautiful and I think as he grows as an author, it will develop into a knock-out style that will leave readers swooning. But… I found myself rolling my eyes at the over-the-top descriptions of Mason’s “green embers” and his perfect, sculpted-by-Greeks body. It was just too much for me and I feel it served no purpose, a simpler description with poignant words would have been more powerful than a string of adjectives.
Another thing that my fifteen year-old self wouldn’t have noticed was just how easily everything got resolved in the end. I do not mean to spoil anything to future readers, but things turned out absolutely perfect and in the blink of an eye, just as if a fairy godmother had pointed her magic wand at the scene and fixed every error, removed every obstacle and gave every one clear skin to boot. Let’s be real here for a moment, life. is. hard. While I know and understand that books are an escape from the daily troubles, I think it is tricky to show readers (particularly young, impresionable readers like the ones I believe the book should target) a perfect world where all your problems are resolved easily with “the power of love.” That’s not how life goes and by giving them that impression they may be seriously disappointed when their lives don’t get a fairytale ending.
Have you read Dallas Coryell’s debut novel? What are your thoughts on it? Or are you planning to add it to your TBR list? Let me know!