Praise for Vinyl by Sophia Elaine Hanson
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
"What happens when we lose control?
Incredible trilogy opener by a very talented up and coming author. Vinyl will have you swoon at the quality of writing and genuinely care for the characters in a way you haven't in awhile.
The action takes place in Revinia, a city state where music is used as a means of controlling an entire population. Free music, and any other artistic expression, is strictly forbidden. Everyone has a place and they better stay in it. That's the world Ronja, the protagonist of the story, has to navigate. She lives at the lowest rungs of society scraping for enough work to feed her family until one night, she meets
Roark and encounters the resistance. That's when her life, and the fate of her family, are set on a course that will change them forever. Hanson takes you on an incredible journey, exploring the timeless themes of friendship, love, oppression, tyranny and the healing power of art. Of all the dystopian books out there, Vinyl deserves a place at the top." ~ S.Dagen, Amazon Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I know a lot of young writers. A lot of really good young writers. A lot of really good young writers with book ideas constantly swirling around their heads, book ideas that sometimes even get a couple hundred words down on paper, maybe a chapter or two. What’s rare, though, is a really good young writer that can keep going with her book idea, can turn two chapters into twelve into twenty into sixty-six, can follow through completely. And then can publish it, herself.
But Hanson is an absolutely glowing example of that kind of writer, and Vinyl is an absolutely glowing example of what that kind of writer can accomplish. Every chapter had me short of breath, close to tears, laughing out loud, actually in tears, or wanting to (for honest lack of a better word) whoop for joy. Lots of times multiple of the above. The characters were deliciously realistic, and people I would love to be friends with given the chance; the storyline was unpredictable and beyond original. There were times when I could almost feel the world that Hanson handspun erupting around me—and more than a few times that I felt the characters’ emotions was strong as if they were my own. The writing not only shows you Revinia’s twisted society and its effects, but it pulls you in headfirst and makes it impossible to even want to come back to reality.
Radio is really pitchin' anticipated. Also wouldn’t object to a movie, if we could swing that, please and thanks. ~JamForMor, Amazon Review.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
"Getting tired of dystopian YA? Well here's your antidote!
We've seen a lot of dystopian YA in the past few years, and it's starting to get a bit repetitive, but Vinyl breathes new life into the genre. Hanson has created a compelling new world that we get to explore through the eyes of several intriguing characters. It's clear that the author has a passion for music, and the novel itself is like a song - with perfect tempo, and tension gradually building towards an epic crescendo.
This is an amazing debut by a talented young writer. Recommended!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Skillfully written, leaving you satisfied but desperate for more: I don't even know how to start writing a review for a book this good. I guess I'll start it with that: this book is Good. With a capital G. I've been a voracious reader my entire life, and have rarely come across a book written with such emotion and skill. Vinyl breathes fresh life into the YA dystopia genre, it takes all the expected tropes and turns them on their heads. The characters are colorful, well rounded, and filled with life. The world is incredibly immersive and detailed, seeming at once familiar and completely alien. I devoured the entire book in less than two days, and had to literally force myself to put it down to go to work or sleep. Its a life-ruiner in the best way possible, and left me satisfied but desperate for more at the end. I'm eagerly awaiting book two in the series and everything else Hanson decides to grace us with. ~Amazon Review
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
"Incredibly interesting dystopian world (that doesn’t have some weird competition or division of society). Adorable lesbian couple. Awesome, diverse female characters. Vinyl is set in a world where strong emotions are discouraged so much that metal Singers are forced into their skulls at birth. Through these Singers they are forced to listen to The Music whenever an emotion pops up that is… undesirable. When Ronja, a hard-working social outcast, goes on an illegal delivery she gets kidnapped by a rebel society called the Anthem. Her Singer (together with the ear it belongs to) get violently torn from her and she finally discovers what it truly means to be free. That is until she discovers her family is probably in grave danger.
I absolutely loved this book! I adore science fiction and dystopian novels and it was so refreshing to finally pick one up with an original story line. The book is told from Ronja’s point of view, with the exception of a few chapters. All the voices are unique and aid the story to keep it interesting keep the reader wanting more. The emotions conveyed in Hanson’s writing are raw and, I am not ashamed to admit, brought me to tears more than once. The characters are diverse and feel incredibly real and are, by themselves, already extremely interesting, but when they are brought together to interact it is as though the entire book comes alive. The friendships, the loves and the inexplicable bonds felt by the characters are all tangible and relatable.
In short: this is an amazing debut novel and should be far more popular than it is!" Lynn ~ Goodreads Review
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
"My thoughts: Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It in no way affects my review.
You guys might want to grab a snack and relax, because this is going to be a long one. For a while after I finished this book all I could think was Wow. Let me say right off the bat, it’s been a long time since tears have actually fallen from my eyes from a book. I’m always skeptical when I hear that a book made someone cry because it has happened to me so rarely. But it happened to me with this book. Granted, it was 11 o’clock at night and I may have been more emotional than usual, but still.
Second of all, I should mention that this book was written by a nineteen year-old. Wait, did you read that correctly? Yes, 19 years old. Sophia attended NYU this year as a freshman and is now someone I look up to immensely. (Keep your eyes out for an author interview coming soon!!!)
I like to write on sticky notes and put them in my books when I get excited about stuff, and my copy of Vinyl now has plenty of neon pink sticky notes throughout its pages. One of the first things I wrote was that I really like Ronja. Ronja is the daughter of a “mutt” (someone who has been experimented on and has mutated genes), and as such, she has been discriminated against her whole life. She is constantly treated as a lower class citizen and in turn, this has hardened her against the world and she doesn’t trust anyone to be kind to her. Because everyone around her treats her like a horrible person, she has begun to act the way they expect her to. But she is fiercely loyal to her family, and works tirelessly to get food for them. I’ll admit, sometimes Ronja was rude to everyone around her to the point that it was slightly frustrating but her whole life had taught her to be harsh to protect herself. I imagined Ronja with short, curly hair and a face that has her strength and resilience written all over it.
The first thing I noticed about the book is that it has amazing writing. Hanson has written short stories that have been published before, so she definitely has experience with writing but I was pleasantly surprised at how exceptional it is. It reminds me of how Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon at such a young age, even though his writing far surpassed what was expected of someone his age. This book is testament to the fact that young people can write just as well as older authors, if they have enough experience. The writing style and the fast-paced plot reminded me of both Casssandra Clare’s City of Bones and Marie Lu’s Legend series.
The pace of Vinyl was fast in a perfect way. There was action when I wanted action, and emotional conversations when I wanted things to slow down a little. The plot was constantly being thrown forward by new twists and turns that I never saw coming. (If I really think about it, there were almost too many? plot twists. I loved it but sometimes it felt like it was a little much.) One of my favorite parts of the whole book was when Ronja experienced her first “jam” (similar to a concert) and the way Ronja tries to describe instruments without knowing their correct names.
This book is pretty much the epitome of all distopian fiction, which makes it perfect for fans of that genre and the concept of a totalitarian government using music to control it’s masses is so blissfully unique.
Finally, the ending. I couldn’t stop reading once I had about 60 pages left. I had to know what happened to Roarke and Ronja and every moment was better than the last. I loved the spy vibes that were going on during the secret mission in the end. I also loved how B.A. Terra and Evie are. I also adore Henry and Ronja’s friendship.
This book is full of independent but simultaneously loyal and tough characters and it’s perfect for fans of the Legend series. I’m so glad I got to read this book so now I can recommend it to everyone I meet!
Okay, “What’s the catch?” you ask? Well, there were only two teeny tiny issues I found, but I say teeny tiny because they really didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book. The first thing is that a few aspects of Ronja’s world are slightly confusing. Especially in the beginning, it’s difficult to figure out what a Singer is, what The Day Song is, what an Off is, and what a shiny is. You can kind of figure it out from context clues but more elaboration on these vocabulary words would have been nice. I still don’t fully understand how The Music works and how it controls the citizens and their emotions. Second, towards the end of the book Roark is willing to sacrifice something huge for Ronja and I just wasn’t quite convinced that it was realistic. It made for an awesome plot twist but it just didn’t seem like he would really do something like that after only knowing Ronja for a couple of weeks. Sorry if that seemed vague, I didn’t want to give away any spoilers.
All in all, I’m so glad I got to review this book, I would have probably picked it up myself if Sophia hadn’t sent me a copy. Huge thank you again, Sophia! As I mentioned earlier, stay tuned for an author interview with Sophia that I’ll be putting together for you guys! Thanks for reading!" Maggie Tibbitt ~ "Inareadingworld" Wordpress Review
"I have read a lot of books and never written a review, but my goodness, this book deserves all the five stars. I finished reading Vinyl a few weeks ago and I can not stop thinking about it. I NEED more, I will even admit to following Miss Hanson on social media just so I know as soon as number two is released. If you're reading reviews to decide whether you want to read this book just stop and read it. You won't regret it." Lorelei ~ Amazon Reviewer
"I should probably begin with the thing everyone's thinking, probably. Future readers, beware: that 77% mark WILL stop your heart. It is the plot twist from hell. It will rip it into teeny tiny pieces and scatter them to the four corners of the world. It will laugh in your face and refuse to back down. Please—breathe through it. Don't hyperventilate. Don't throw your book across the room, because that will only hurt your book. DON'T set your book aside in a fit of anger. This, too, shall pass. Maybe.
Moving on. Sophia Elaine Hanson, you've just become my newest favorite person ever—and not just because you took my random fits of twitter rants in stride. Those were by and far ugly; I blame my heart giving out at the earlier stated plot-twist from hell.
“The Music was not crafted to protect the people of Revinia from their demons. It is a muzzle, one that purges all powerful emotions and rebellious inclinations, prevents tumult in the face of Bullon's injustice. It exchanges your natural-born passions for a single thought: Be loyal to The Conductor.”
This book? Is steampunk dystopian like you've NEVER seen it. I know, you probably hear that every time someone recommends a new book for you to read, but trust me: I'm not lying, I'm not exaggerating, I'm singing these praises loudly but only because I stand behind them completely. The ideas in this book are so unique. And the writing?! is absolutely gorgeous. This book is dark, and dreary, and just the right amount of spine-shuddering creepy. When you crack this book, you will feel like you've stepped immediately into the world—it breathes, sings, and screams into life around you. It haunts you. It kidnaps and forces you to watch as it unravels and laughs as it shatters your hopes again, and again, and again...
Sophia Elaine Hanson knows how to write a world, is what I'm saying. She starts you off in the middle, as is the way...but wraps you in so much world-building, you'll feel as if you're not only watching from the sidelines, but are privy to your own set of headphones and dome-like movie theater. You will see this world as if in 3D. The characters will grip your fingers, claw their way down your spine, and settle somewhere around (or on top of) your heart. They will build themselves a home inside your ribcage and then trample all over it—and you'll LOVE every second, I promise. Ronja is just the sort of strong-willed, sassy MC I love reading about. The rest of the characters, as well, have a tendency to wrap themselves around your little finger and pull you along where they want to go.
“The Music is a beast, Ronja. A living, breathing beast that has its claws on your pulse. When your heart races, it clutches you harder.”
The plot is linear...but there's an interesting experiment with varied perspectives going on throughout that I found not annoying, but intriguing and well-done. There aren't so many that it gets confusing—the main perspective generally remains with Ronja—but there's enough of a draw-back to open up book two to some interesting possibilities in regards to viewpoint. With everything that happens at the end of the read, I imagine this will be coming into play in said next book.
Overall, this was an amazing, life-ruining experience and I am SO so glad I picked up this book on the whim that I did! The only problem is...book two isn't even finished yet. Someone remind me why I do this to myself? I think I've forgotten in the echoing heartaches this read left me with. I definitely recommend this to lovers of steampunk, dystopian, and uniquely amazing world-building! This just soared to the top of my 'new favorites' list; I can't wait to see what's in store come book two!" (5 stars) Elizabeth M. ~ Wordpress Review
"A compelling read, and one that will definitely appeal to fans of dystopian/sci-fi/action novels. Author Sophia Elaine Hanson does an amazing job of bringing this incredible world to life where man must fight against mental and emotional enslavement. “Passion is perilous”. Very interesting concept, and the premise feels like nothing I’ve come across before. Although there are common elements, Ms. Hanson’s voice is unique, and her characters fresh and engaging. We really root (or cry) for them and get totally invested in the outcome. BTW the editing was GREAT! Nearly flawless, and that is rare. And appreciated! Great, authentic dialogue that flowed well and moved the plot forward nicely, sparing us of the dreaded “telling” that so many authors tend to do. We feel like we are a part of the book and I recommend for fans of Dystopian Sci-fi who’d like a new twist. This is the first in a trilogy though, so we are still in for more of a ride. Can’t wait!" (5 stars) Claire Middleton ~ Indie Book Reviewers
"Gorgeous writing, an intriguing book from a brilliant young author. Truly great work and I'm looking forward to the next books in this series!" Christa M. ~ Amazon reviewer
"I was hooked from the opening pages of Vinyl by Sophia Hanson and my interest never wavered for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build and shock and surprise. Just when you think you know what’s happening, something comes along to throw a wrench in it. This is good because I HATE books that are super predictable. And this one isn’t. Although there are some familiar themes and tropes at play, the author brings a fresh voice and makes it all her own… impressively so. I’ve read a ton of YA fantasy and science fiction over the years so I’m rarely surprised by anything anymore but I can say that this author managed to do it. I appreciated the brisk pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life – world building is absolutely crucial in selling a ‘fantasy’ story and it is done quite nicely here. Will be interested in seeing where this series and our leads go to in the next one. Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, action packed, alternative reality novel with unexpected twists." (5 stars) Jenna Brewster ~ Indie Book Reviewers
"Wow, what an insane book! Holy bananas!!! Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and I don’t want to give anything away… Vinyl: Book one of the Vinyl Trilogy by author Sophia Hanson is one of the most original and just flat out interesting fantasy/ science fiction/ dystopian novels I’ve ever read. I liked it for so many different reasons, first the writing was stellar. The strong word choice and fluid prose makes it a very easy book to sink into. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. I wish I knew what the characters looked like better though, because some of them I had hard time keeping straight. I liked that there were things I haven’t seen in other books like this before, and it just felt more “intelligent” than others I’ve read, like there is a deep underlying philosophical message there that goes deeper than just beneath the surface. One thing I have really been loving about this new explosion of NA/YA authors over the past few years is that they keep coming up with new and creative ways to improve upon existing themes. This is wonderful because there are certain themes, like good versus evil, free will and freedom, fighting against the status quo…etc… which will never go out of style. But sometimes you can feel like you are reading the same story over and over. Well this was not the case here! This almost seems like it could be a movie or a miniseries… Looking forward to the next one as soon as it’s out!" (5 stars) Eliza Brown ~ Barnes & Noble Reviewer
"This book was an interesting mix of so many elements… I can’t quite say that I’ve ever really read anything like it before, but I can see it appealing to fans of Divergent. Great writing and wonderful characters… really liked Ronja, but Roark, Evie, Terra and the others were awesome too. I really hope that things “turn around” in the next book. There are many complex subplots woven throughout and while this is a longer book for YA, it was fast paced and the prose is gorgeous – we can picture everything perfectly. Can see fantasy/sci fans really liking it, even those who maybe it’s not their thing, there is a lot of action and has a great message. Something for everyone, I think". (4-5 stars) Laura Clarke ~ Indie Book Reviewers
Elegant! Elegant use of the genre. Elegant use of imagery. Elegant use of language. I look forward to seeing much more from this gifted young writer".
(5 stars) An Avid Reader ~ Amazon Reviewer
"Dystopian at its best.
Sophia Hanson is a talented writer, weaving a tale of hardship, suffering, and oppression with an underlying theme of music in a lush fantasy/steampunk setting. Her apt and vivid descriptions bring to life a world, familiar yet horribly altered by the little machines feeding emotion-numbing music into everyone's ears.
Vinyl is full of characters, refreshing and achingly real, some are easy to love while others are easy to hate. The main protagonist, Ronja, is steadfast, headstrong, feisty, a little rash, but loyal and has her priorities in order. She's a heroine worth rooting for. Roark, on the other hand with his constant use of the word love as a term of endearment and his good looks makes for a charming and intriguing character. It's hard not to want more of him. But Ronja and Roark aren't the only interesting characters in this book, Henry, Iris, Evie and even Terra are captivating to read about.
The world building was fantastic. The more you learn about this alternate world and the people living in it, the more difficult it is not to care about the outcome of the story. With a cast of strong characters and a unique premise, Vinyl definitely holds its own among the YA Dystopian novels I’ve read. The dialogue flowed naturally and I loved how the romance was icing on the cake rather than the entire filling." (4.5 stars) Cherry (_forevermint) ~ Goodreads Review
"Couldn't put this book down I read it in two days!!! An intriguing story and a masterful writing style; this book pulls you in." Art Friend ~ Amazon Reviewer
"FANTASTIC! It was fresh and original, heartbreaking and inspiring, and generally everything you could want in a great science fiction novel. Definitely recommend."
Cathleen ~ Goodreads Reviewer