Book Title: Melody 8 – Book Two: The Musical Witch of the South
Author: Ernie Howard
Publication Date: May 2, 2019
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Picking up directly from where we left off from the end of “Book One: The Day of the Song”, seventeen-year-old Melody is processing everything she learned about her destiny and what she needs to do to follow through on it. Caught between safety and uncertainty, she decides she must seek out others like her who share similar abilities. Picking up a new friend named Brenton along the way, they seek out someone nicknamed “The Musical Witch of the South”. Will they find her and can she help them?
We also get a glimpse of Carlton Feast and how he rules the apocalypse with an iron fist. He’s a brutal man who uses the tools at his disposal to torture his subjects. But he’s also a shrewd man who seems to know much more about Melody, her background and her mission than she does! He dispatches his cruel lackey Hamingford to terminate Melody but does he have the skills necessary to find and kill her? And what will happen if he does?
I really liked the way Melody learned about life prior to the end of days and how that spirit is embodied by someone they meet at an old gas station. As I was educated more about how The Day of the Song continues to resonate in people’s lives in unforeseen ways, I was struck by how sad it made me. This novella enveloped me deeply in its atmospheric setting and played with my emotions. It really made me think about how that might affect me if I was traveling the same journey that Melody was.
I also liked how Melody’s friends were fleshed out here. Their interactions with her felt like sincere friendship and provided a nice contrast to the dog-eat-dog world they inhabited. Their budding rapport with Melody as well as what they shared about their backgrounds made for beautiful character work and made them more interesting to read about as a result. The appreciation of music by all the characters is especially poignant in a world where songs are completely outlawed.
The deadliness of this apocalypse was brought home through the tense conclusion. As new friends and lethal foes fight to stay alive, the difficulty of their struggle made me wonder how it would play out. The strategies they both utilized in combat against one another was unexpected and impressive. I felt the raw power on display in the finale and was awestruck at how it was used. The unpredictability of the situation caused fear to race down my spine as I asked myself how Melody would survive this.
Melody is a teenager and her mettle can only be tested by the strength of the enemies she faces. Both Hamingford and Feast are challenging bad guys and they gleefully display their wanton depravity over the course of this novella. They both made me despise them quickly through their actions and made me wonder whether Melody would be able to win the war ahead of her or die trying.
Given that this series is told by Melody’s point of view, she discusses her past with the reader like she was narrating a novel about herself. As a result, we get some intriguing glimpses into her future. Her journey to become a hero and how she develops her special abilities get tiny mentions here and propel me to want to know even more about her story and what happens along her path towards her uncertain future.
On a final note, I was truly revolted by Hamingford by what he chooses to eat, the condiments he puts on his eggs and how he does so. At some point, I must remember to thank the author for putting that disgusting mental image inside my head.
This is the second book in the “Melody 8” series and it continues to intrigue me with its setting and its characters, so I can’t wait for more! When “Book Three – A Sound for the Deaf” comes out, I will eagerly devour it to see where this story leads me.
If you found this review to be helpful to you, please click here to go to the review on Amazon. Then navigate to the bottom of this review and click on the “helpful” button.