Review: Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

2.75 stars – 😉


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 disappearing 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.

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I would like to start by thanking Dallas who contacted me on Instagram and provided me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

Although I have given this one a fairly low rating I would actually still highly recommend it, it just wasn’t for me and I honestly didn’t realise how much my reading habits (or needs?) had changed and how important a writing style is until giving Melody’s Key a read.

This book is actually really hard to pop in a genre is it YA or NA? Age wise NA (late teen early twenties), some issue’s that Tegan faces are very much NA however the style and actions are very much YA and it felt like I was reading a YA contemporary, so much so that when they would mention going to the pub, I was like ‘hold on they are only 16 why are they going to the pub?’ until I realised they are in their early twenties. So I’m going to call it a hybrid – young-new adult – and for this reason I would recommend this novel to anyone who is thinking of trying NA but isn’t quite ready for some bow chicka wow wow in their romance, and of course other thing us responsible adults do in our early twentie’s (lol).

Lets start with some positives

I LOVED how central Tegan’s family are to the plot of this novel. Whether your a teen or in your early twenties your immediate family is a large part of your life and it always annoys me how almost all novels try to remove them from the story or if they are they aren’t always supportive or fully present. I loved her little sisters pep talks and their family outings and dinners. It was a really great to show that family is an important part of who we are and how we develop as people.

On the topic of families and positive influences I thought I would share this quote which is probably my favourite from the book. Her dad is just great!

“What I am trying to say is, understand what makes her who she is… don’t try change her into what you want her to be. Let her stay grounded in what made her into what you have fallen for. Love all of her for who she is right now, not for who she has the potential to be. Only push her in the direction of her dreams, not the direction of yours. If you can love her like that…with no expectation save that she love you the same way, than her heart will bloom for you forever.”

I also liked how it explored mental illness – though I wish it did spend more time on the topic – and abuse of power from a female influence. These narratives are really important and show that both men and women are vulnerable and that the issues is not something that only effects women.

The letters were also super sweet and were a great way to brake up the story. John and Violet’s story was so bitter sweet. Dallas also did a great job of giving them a different tone to the overall story, I much preferred this style of writing however to the style he used for the rest of the story.

Which leads me to the negatives.

I am not a big fan of very descriptive writing. Lyrical and poetic I can handle as long as it’s a complete knock out, I am talking Leah Reader/Elliot Wake whose books I read for the writing style alone or Jandy Nelson. I am a great fan of descriptive writing when the protagonist is maybe trying to think through hers/his feelings or explaining them but not physical actions or descriptions of every setting. Writing style is not something that has ever really annoyed me enough to give  a low rating before, but I think as I continue to read more and more it’s not really something I can ignore, and Melody’s Key was just so descriptive and long when it didn’t need to be. He could have honestly cut this book in half (in my opinion) and we would have had a really engaging story.

It also felt like the characters weren’t fully developed properly, for instances Tegan mentions early on she doesn’t have social media and shes not a big fan of it in general but at the end of the book she says to her dad

“Wow, you are really pushing hard for this guy. Is it Man-Crush-Monday already?”

This is not something that someone who doesn’t have or like social media would ask, and doesn’t really fit with her as a character. There is a few instances were this thing sort of occurs throughout the novel and it threw me a little. I did also feel this with Mason in other instances. I did find the characters were slightly 1 dimensional and a little cookie cutter.

Also were was the epilogue??? We went through so much and we don’t get to find out how their life ended up or at least how they jumped fully over those last couple of hurdles. I hate when contemporaries do this, just give me a proper HEA or none at all!

Overall, some great themes and ideas and worth giving a go for those looking to transition into some more mature content and of course, to support an indie author however for me the writing style let it down. I can see potential here though and will keep my eye out for anything else Dallas writes.

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