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Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.

The time—now; the place—America, but in a world where the government controls all forms of art and creativity. Any music sowing the seeds of anarchy is banned—destroyed if found—its creators and listeners harshly punished.

Merrin Pierce works as an undercover Patrol officer assigned to apprehend a fugitive musician who threatens the safe fabric of society, only to confront everything she thought to be true – her values, upbringing, job, and future.

Can love survive in a world without music?

265 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 22, 2015

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About the author

James Morris

7 books141 followers
James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching 'House Hunters Renovation', or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles.

Readers, if you enjoyed one of my books, please feel free to leave a review!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 96 reviews
Profile Image for Mads.
68 reviews59 followers
June 25, 2016
I have a little confession to make I did not want to buy this book so I went to the local library –

Book Heaven →

Just the smell of old books!
I entered a Alice in wonderland feeling

Melophobia: →

Meaning: →
Melophobia is by definition fear of music.

What does the name mean to you?

On this record, for us, it wasn't necessarily an actual fear of music, but a fear of making music to project premeditated images of self rather than being an honest communicator
by James Morris

So beautiful – Music is my way of communication

ME AND MUSIC OH MAN! The last 6 months music helped me to survive!


“Few phrases that means so much to me”
“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” - Plato
Think on this: “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies” what do you think might happen?

Imagine a world with no music! Well this is me and this song – OH man I will really die a thousand deaths without music
I love the old version of the song it was my father’s favorite:

Disturbed - The Sound Of Silence


I received a recommendation on this book: I did not even know about this book – BUT I am so glad for the recommendation:

It’s an amazing story, showing what can happen when Government is so eager to regulate everyone's thinking that music can become a huge offense.

This story brings you into the head of Merrin Pierce, a Patrol Officer (all of whom remind me of Fahrenheit 451 police) who goes undercover to infiltrate secret societies of people willing to risk everything to create and listen to music. With surprisingly natural exposition, you find yourself in a society based on moral standards.

This is about the War on Music, but if you substitute ‘Drugs’ for ‘Music’, you’ll get the picture. Only State-composed Muzak is allowed by The State. Even children’s music boxes are banned.

This is one of the most fascinating alternative histories I've read, spawned by the idea of the government declaring war on "moral decay." And at its center are the arts -- music, paintings, television or movies ... anything that incites rebellion or causes you to feel something more than apathy.

The world that it’s set in - remember V for Vendetta, or Equilibrium? But this felt more timeless than that, more tragic, and more….hopeless, I suppose is the word I want to use. Let me clarify this statement this is sort of media which might incite revolution, because social change, or question the status quo is strictly controlled! Parts of life have been impacted.

This all came about as the result of a war that began in the Sixties, a war against “moral decay”. Picture this for a minute: the Beatles are arrested, along with the Rolling Stones, Neil Peart never sitting down behind a drum se, Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash and Merrin Pierce - (Some of my favorite old prodigy’s, as ya all know MUSIC IS MY LIFE)

The counter-culture itself is lively and colourful, and it’s fun watching Merrin, code-name Melody, get sucked into it. People are known to respond to music instinctively, and even Anders finds himself starting to get affected by punk when he works undercover.

James Morris has written another great book. Sharp, clear writing is what I've come to expect from Morris and he delivers in MELOPHOBIA. Combine that with what I consider a terrifying premise (the outlawing of music) and you have a ragingly entertaining tale. Morris is the kind of writer who makes you eager to find out what he'll come up with next...but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

A very powerful question.
Can love survive in a world without music? What a scary thought, to live in a world where music isn’t aloud! I encourage all you readers to take a peek at this novel. It is quite good and Morris has gained an audience from me. I look forward to reading his other stories as he is a skilled storyteller.


Profile Image for Imogene Dacanay.
139 reviews64 followers
June 22, 2016
5 BLAZING STARS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! If I could, I'd give more than what this book deserves! Oh gods.

I'm grateful to James Morris for providing me a review copy of his book, Melophobia. Also to Karina of @afirepages , for the recommendation.

I am in a reading slump before I read this book, and I'm too desperate to read it ASAP. So I struggled to read the first chapter, again and again, for four consecutive days. Later did I realize, I'm few chapters away from the end of the book. What kind of sorcery was that?

“Just the music. Gets to me.” “I know,” Val said. “Sometimes it’s so beautiful it hurts.”

Envision the world where music is absent. A place where people who have fondness for music would be punished- worse, killed. Classical music are, be it, allowed, but still needs approval. Abominable, isn't it? James Morris introduced to us a world we never conceived. I'm a person who listens to music every time, I usually rave, aside from books, music gives meaning to my life.

The book followed Merrin Pierce, the daughter of the Minister of Broadcast Standards. She's a member of the Patrol who captures law defiers. One who goes undercover to bust the "music people". Together with her ex-boyfriend Anders Copeland, they were given an outrageous mission by the commander in chief to find the insuperable, The Source. In their journey, they found themselves inclined to the music. Questions arise, confusions struck them. Characters started doing, and feeling things they shouldn't. Now they must redetermine everything that they believe in.

I loved how the characters were portrayed in this book. They all have strong voices. They know what's right, and they do what they think is right. I love how Merrin thinks wisely, she doesn't just listen to whatever her heart says. She criticize everything, making sure what she's doing is right. I love how honorable Anders and Merrin were. I admired how passionate some characters are to music, to their duties especially. Readers will love the appeal of each character. Mostly, how the characters did what they truly want. Because that's what this is all about, discovering yourself, finding meanings, learning the answers.

The romance between two characters. The impermissible love that's growing, deep and gripping. How hard it is to love someone you shouldn't be loving. Knowing that it'll be against all of what you've believed in. Merrin and Rowan Sol's love is drop-dead comforting, yet dreary. Rowan's feelings for Merrin happened too fast, but in a way, it's utterly good. They started escaping boundaries, crossing lines. I appreciated them when they're together, for they're being able to be their true-selves.

I was invested to the book for plenty of reasons, but the sole reason was I wanted to know the reason behind the government's abhorrence to such beautiful creation, to music. Why would someone be so impenitent to charge imprisonment just because of their hate for something? One raised question, leads to more.

"It’s not funny. Look around –music’s considered a doorway to sin. Excitement’s a disease. A calm society is a productive society. A safe society. And a damned boring one.”

The plot, I don't think I've ever encountered a plot like Melophobia's. The intricacies and the developments surprised me. It has well-flourished ideas that made the book suspenseful.

James Morris did not make a book that will just manifest to us the meaning of music. Through his book, he conveyed us to the significance of music. He steered our hearts to our love for music.

The book was told in a 3rd Person's POV. James used meticulous words, one that will constrain you. He has this uninterrupted writing style that will tranquil, at the same time, disturb your mind and your heart.


Melophobia, is an unexpected book that made me want to rip my heart out. Made me want to be emotionally numb for the rest of my life. I'm still hurt, I feel like I'm feeling all the pain I've felt when I read such a tragic book. Only this time, Melophobia's all the heart-breaking book in one. I don't think I can ever get over how the ending of this book made me feel, this book per se. Would someone blame me if I'm aching for a sequel? Even if it's just a short one. Would someone blame me if I wanted Merrin to avenge Rowan's death? Even a sentence will do. Something that goes like this: "And then Merrin, with all the pain, the rage, the hatred inside her, hurled Anders, grabbed his gun, and shot him through his head."

Melophobia is rare, it's a page-turner

A book about self-discovery, love, responsibilities, and family. This book made me want to get out of the cage I'm in, soar and fly like a bird. Free myself from everything, and just do what I love most.

"Why? Why did they do it?” “They’re scared, Rowan. Scared of you.” “…it was only music.”

Even though Melophobia has a great potential for a second installment, the book being a stand-alone is still splendid. Melophobia, like my favorite music, my favorite songs, will be forever treasured.
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
470 reviews286 followers
October 8, 2015
4.5 Stars

Wow! Great book! James Morris does it again with another captivating YA novel that is sure to get people reading!!

Melophobia is set in an alternative, dystopian America, where somewhere along the way all music became outlawed. The government is in control of all things that can cause anarchy. The Beatles got arrested, and even listening to music became an offence punishable by harsh law. The story follows young Merrin, an undercover patrol officer, who spends her days (and nights) busting underground raves, parties and concerts - To rid the world of music once and for all. She is tasked with finding "The Source", a musician who is talented in all genres of music, and distributes it to his followers. Merrin goes deep undercover to find "The Source", but begins to question everything in her life as she begins to fall in love with the music, and the man behind it.

First of all, LOVE the cover! Simple yet gets the point across in a BIG way! I also love the title. Melophobia = Fear of music...

I REALLY enjoyed this book! Im a bit hit-and-miss with dystopian settings, but Morris's music-free America was so well done! It was a fascinating and interestingly original setting! What a dark and dismal world it is without music! I am glad I don't live in it!

Absolutely loved the characters! Merrin had a lot of growing to do throughout the novel, and I really liked her by the end. I enjoyed the unrequited love triangle, and Anders unhealthy almost obsession with Merrin. I loved how Merrin was the daughter of an important government figure and the back story of her mother and what happened to her absolutely made the novel for me! Loved the twists and turns! Don't want to give anything away!

Loved the romance, it has a sexy scene that might be a bit graphic for the under 16's, and a bit of blood and gore. But It had everything I love in a book; mystery, a great setting, bit of romance, bit of sex, bit of violence, twists and turns and was overall an extremely satisfying read!

I love how even in a book, music can be described so beautifully! I could easily resonate with the description of the music, as if I were sitting there listening to it myself. Just goes to show what a powerful thing music is and how we all take it for granted.

I enjoy YA dystopia novels because they help people understand oppression. This book is no exception. I can easily imagine this book becoming the next Hunger Games. It has the potential to be HUGE!

And what a dramatic ending!! I can't wait for the next one! I truly hope that this book reaches the masses because it is FABULOUS!!

Big thanks to author James Morris for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
March 21, 2018

Very well written, lyrical, interesting premise. Almost reads like a classic, reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451. I just kind of find the plot a bit predictable what with the countless dystopias I’ve already read. Usually in a dystopian novel in the guise of a utopian world, a human emotion or passion gets banned from the society. In Delirum, it’s love. In the classic novel I mentioned above, it’s books. In the Giver, it’s basically all human emotions. In this particular case, it’s music. It’s therefore not hard to see where the story is going and it’s easy to tell it’s not going to end well.

I guess the utopia/dystopia genre is no longer for me. I’m now more a fantasy-dystopia fan. I even dig space opera nowadays but clearly for those who like the former genre, Melophobia is definitely something they would enjoy.
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,484 reviews842 followers
October 2, 2015
This was fun - 1984-type science fiction with romance, intrigue and betrayal.

This is about the War on Music, but if you substitute ‘Drugs’ for ‘Music’, you’ll get the picture. Only State-composed Muzak is allowed by The State. Even children’s music boxes are banned. At least with drugs, we are allowed to use strong ones under supervision.

Merrin Pierce’s father, Tarquin, is the powerful Minister of Broadcast Standards, and Merrin herself is a member of The Patrol, the police force whose job it is to wipe out music and musicians.

Merrin’s father introduces her to mild-mannered Rowan Sol, the State’s composer of Muzak, who compares poorly with her previous love interest and current Patrol partner, Anders, a macho hunk. Her mother disappeared years ago – ran off with a musician, wouldn’t you know it?

Merrin and Anders spend their time locating and infiltrating raves to try to find out who and where the new music is coming from – punk, rock and roll, jazz – but as soon as they shut one speakeasy-type place down, using stun guns, more pop up.

“With the effects of the stun gun having worn off, Merrin and Anders, guns at the ready if necessary, escorted the ravers – now cuffed together in a processional of nearly 150 people – up the stairs and out into a waiting caravan of Patrol vans. Helicopters crisscrossed the skies, creating their own Broadway light show on the ground. Many ravers were crying, pleading not to be arrested. Promising better behaviour. They knew what the future held.”

That future was said to be four levels of punishment, from tracking ankle bracelets to more serious consequences. Then a Fifth Level is rumoured - maybe not Room 101 of 1984 fame, but nobody really knows.

The counter-culture itself is lively and colourful, and it’s fun watching Merrin, code-name Melody, get sucked into it. People are known to respond to music instinctively, and even Anders finds himself starting to get affected by punk when he works undercover.

This is well-written and entertaining. There are a few small sections here and there that seemed to be below the standard of the rest, but on the whole, I think Morris is a writer to keep an eye on. And I wonder if we will see more of Merrin?

Many thanks to the author and to Booklover Catlady Publicity for letting me read a copy for review. I enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,063 reviews1,473 followers
March 30, 2016
“Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.”

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author, James Morris, and the publisher, Kindle Press, for providing me with a copy. Also, thanks to Maxine at Booklover Catlady Publicity for being the link between author and reviewer.

I chose this book, almost randomly, from a sea of other titles. I was intrigued by the name and knew exactly nothing about the book. It seemed fate provided this book to me because it is unlike any other I have read and has become a firm favourite!

The book opened, rather poignantly given the recent tragic news, with a quote from the late, great David Bowie. It was then that I knew I was going to fall in love with this book.

I had a little trouble guessing the actual period the book was set in. I assumed, on times, it was futuristic, given some of the technology used within the book. There were other resemblances that pointed to it being our own time. Either way, the book was set from roughly the present day, or the near future. I digress…

An alternative history is presented to the reader, one in which music was outlawed and treated as we would drugs in our present day reality. A Patrol governs the present day citizens, monitoring and controlling musical usage and outlets. This book felt like a modern retelling of 1984 , with subtle reminders of the book, such as interrogation Room 101 used inside the Patrol for musical delinquents. What was immediately shocking for me was to find that our main protagonist was on this Patrol. Merrin Pierce acted as undercover agent, infiltrating different musical genres and gaining access to illicit performances to apprehend the criminals. Whether performer, DJ, security, or mere fan, all caught there were subjected to varying levels of rehabilitation. Or, in layman terms, brainwashing. She believes their lifestyle choices to be poor ones and has little empathy for the convicts. That is, until she discovers Rock ‘N’ Roll…

Popular genres and artists were used throughout the book, such as a photo of The Beatles, taken after their fictional arrest, adorning the chief of the Patrol’s desk. This increased the shock factor of the book as it amalgamated reality and fantasy into a believable context. The passion used by the author when describing music and the effects of it, through the voices of various characters, made my heart beat a little harder in my chest. I could align my feelings with theirs, and this was further heightened by having a direct understanding of the genre and artists they favoured. The usage of recognisable music aligned me immediately to the ‘bad guys’ in the book, and, initially, against the protagonist. This felt like an odd stance and one which I hadn’t experienced in a book since, Lolita , and look at the longevity that book has had.

The power of the book lay in both the story and the impressive telling of it. The author continually showed not told the reader what was going on, requiring some reading between the lines to discover the truth. The protagonists were all slightly unreliable, in that they don’t know their own hearts, but I prefer it when I have to work for my story. I like a book that requires the reader to be an active participant in the tale and not a passive receiver of it; it heightens my emotional investment with the characters and my affinity with the book.

This book made me question the present world we live in: are we so brainwashed by those who lead us, as to be compliant to laws that could have adverse effects to our souls? And yet, it hurts me to say this, I might not like the law presented here, but I can’t say its nonsensical – curbing creative input curbs creative expression and leaves a duller, yes, but a more uniform and, therefore, easily controlled race in its wake. Gigs and raves are outward expressions of the sounds of our souls: they are both celebration of the self and a rebellion against conformity. With this chance of freedom abolished, a dim future is observed.

This satirical novel is a heightened representation of our own world and acts as a warning against the curbing of invention, in all their creative manifestations. This novel has depicted an attempt at muting the world and yet colour and sound continues to exists in pockets of each community. It can’t be contained and to attempt to do so results in explosion. World, be warned!
Profile Image for Lindsey Lynn (thepagemistress).
373 reviews94 followers
October 12, 2015
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book follows Merrin, an officer in a world where music is illegal. You get to see what our world would be like without the joys of music and melodies. Merrin goes undercover for a her sector to try and take out some of the biggest "criminals" in LA. There are so many twists and turns. The writing is stupendous and keeps you hooked from page one. James really knows how to throw us into that world and feel the emotions of the characters. I highly suggest everyone reading this. It was absolutely brilliant!!!!
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
568 reviews406 followers
September 30, 2015
Melophobia was such a compelling book. Especially because of the subject matter.

It paints the picture of a dystopian U.S., in which music has pretty much been eradicated and outlawed. Music is believed to entice sin and moral degradation, and as such, anyone caught listening to any sort of music (except government created and approved toneless tunes) is sent to reeducation. Merrin Pierce is an officer in the Patrol, tasked with going undercover and exposing illegal gatherings of music lovers. Her newest mission involves uncovering The Source, a mysterious person, thought to be the center of all illegal musical activity. Merrin finds herself caught in the magic of music, though, and she starts questioning her beliefs and everything she stands for.

I love music. I'm always listening to something, every day, almost every minute. So this was very difficult to read about - a reality in which music is no longer allowed. Because most of the moments in my life are tied to music. So in this respect, Morris does a wonderful job at portraying that desolate, musicless reality. It's murky and devoid of colour and sad, quite frankly. I got a lot of 1984 vibes from this book and that's something that I loved, because 1984 is one of my all-time favourite books. So comparing them was inevitable.
I loved seeing Merrin develop as a person, as an individual and a music lover. Her struggle permeates the pages and I felt for her so so much. Reconciling who you used to be and who you are becoming is a difficult thing in the most normal of circumstances. I also loved the side characters, I feel like the added flavor to the story and helped shape the trajectory for the main character.

I wholeheartedly recommend this. Especially for fans of dystopian books. And for music lovers - this will make you appreciate more the songs you sometimes take for granted :)

A huge thank you to the author for sending me a copy!
Profile Image for Jasmine.
442 reviews711 followers
August 24, 2017
Music was a gateway drug, easy to start, but doomed to send its listeners on a journey of rebellion.

In the dystopian version of Los Angeles, classical music was the one and only type of music allowed for everyone. The State wanted to make sure the music wouldn’t arouse too much passion for a person so there were people keeping an eye on suspicious music listeners everywhere. Merrin “Melody” Pierce was an undercover agent on the outside but deep down she was a music lover—or should I say, she was transformed into a music appreciator by the talented “the Source (a specific person who produced music of all sorts and secretly influenced the whole music society)”—so apparently, she had to choose a side eventually. Merrin’s father, Tarquin Pierce, was a respectable man who worked for the government but his wife left him because of a musician. Anders Copeland, was Merrin’s total-workaholic co-worker and overprotective, dominant ex-lover; he desperately wanted to win her back but at the same time, couldn’t tolerate any illegal music. In the beginning of Melophobia, “Melody” was a raver in disguise, she did a perfect job blending in those underground parties and successfully arrested all of the party goers. I thought that was the real Merrin until she met Rowan Sol, who worked for her dad and produced legal, soothing music, oops, excuse me, “Musak” for the State to listen to.
”Probably because I write music for different styles.”
“You mean clans.”
“No, styles. They’re only clans because of the world we live in, a political reason to create division and mistrust. To me, it’s just different kinds of music.”

This talented musician totally made Merrin’s life more colorful by introducing her to various clans types of music and much to my delightfulness, she learned to embrace music other than the classical.
Once it ended and silence filled the room, Merrin realized she’d lost track of time; the song had hijacked her, transported her, somehow freed her from her swirling thoughts. It touched her in places she kept walled off—feelings, emotions, memories, dreams. How easily music seduced her, how dangerous.

As Rowan’s music/Musak grew on Merrin day by day, her secret identity as the undercover was threatened to be revealed. She couldn’t bear betraying and losing Rowan, nor did she dare to tell him the truth. After an unexpected night, Rowan knew and left her immediately; then everything went downhill afterward.

So, which would Merrin choose, doing what she was supposed to do as an undercover or following her heart and fighting for Rowan?

Honestly, James Morris’s writing style is by far the most lyrical one I’ve ever read and I loved, loved, looooooovvvvvvveeeeeeddddd it so much!!! I was amazed by not only the connection between Melophobia and James’s musical way of writing/storytelling, but also the dystopian world-building. The words he chose were extremely beautiful and melodic but definitely not flowery; the way he described a piece of music, the rhythm of a song or the emotion of the lyrics was absolutely extraordinary so there was no problem feeling what the characters felt at all.
For the first time, Anders understood the appeal of this world as he lost himself in its torturous embrace, thrown to the floor only to get up, the cycle repeating, until all he saw was a crush of flesh beneath or above, the feeling of someone’s body ricocheting, then rebounding onto another, bodies upon bodies, the insane glow of faces, high on endorphins, the music an amphetamine giving strength and voice to his aggression, to unfairness, to helplessness, to a maelstrom of other lost souls finding themselves in the dark through contact, violent contact, reminding themselves. We are alive, feel me, I am alive, I am here.

To my astonishment, I particularly admired how James depicted the tremendous influence of music; I could easily immerse myself in the melophobic atmosphere of the story while feeling the musical osmosis—how incredibly it could infiltrate our minds, change our thoughts and cast its spell on us—by simply reading the book. I truly enjoyed the overwhelming sensation of being sucked into this unexplainable musical realm I’ve never seen before.

Ah, where should I begin? The truth was, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about this book. The character development was absolutely outstanding; every single character seemed to have their own stories to tell yet James somehow connected one with another and tied up the loose ends beautifully. As a reader, I also felt the struggle Merrin dealt with when she was torn between two utterly opposite identities: either being the undercover “Merrin” or “Melody,” where her heart belonged.
She was a ghost walking in this world, a world in which she didn’t belong. She’d witnessed something, something only later she would give name to—a death. But she couldn’t pinpoint exactly whose—hers? Friendship? Or an ideal?

Cassie said, “Not everything’s black and white, Merrin.”
“Are we leaving?”
Cassie looked firm. “No…I’m sorry.”
“Me, too.”

As for Rowan, it was easy to resonate with his passion for music/Musak (it no longer mattered at some point because…you’d know when you read the part ) and I couldn’t be happier when he finally found that special someone who truly understood him.

Aside from the fabulous characters, the entire storyline was impressive enough. I hadn’t felt so alive when reading anything in general so I couldn’t believe what I was reading when devouring this book. I meant, the story totally captured my undividable attention from the first page through the end. There was something magical about the story that always piqued my curiosity so I had no choice but to continue reading it. Believe me, this was an unforgettable feeling you wouldn’t want to miss!

Speaking of the ending, oh my, please don’t get me started. *sobbing*

When I started reading this book, I didn’t see that ending coming at all. Every twist and turn seemed to suggest that there should be a happy ending; perhaps the State would lessen the punishment on music listeners after Merrin’s thorough research on the underground music or maybe the clans would stick together and overthrow the government since the Source might be the most powerful person of all time in that he had access to everywhere in the State. Well, now I finally realized that nothing was guaranteed when James was the one controlling the protagonists’ fates. *sigh* At some point I refused to face the music—please excuse the pun—since the truth was just cruel and harsh. After shedding some tears for my favorite characters, I, surprisingly, let go and moved on easily because I knew the finale wasn’t the end, it was instead a promising beginning for a brand-new chapter. The only difference was that there would be no more Musak and the music would be played and listened to forever.
Merrin had died in the carnage and Melody had emerged. A new war was on the horizon and she vowed she would set the fuse.

Melophobia was a masterfully written story full of twists and original ideas. The book itself was already a piece of music for me; though there were ups and downs, crescendos and diminuendos throughout the story, it was wrapped up flawlessly with no questions unanswered. Hence, I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Melophobia to everyone and I was pretty sure this book wouldn’t disappoint!

***Thanks to the author for sending me an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.***
Profile Image for Karina.
171 reviews162 followers
June 14, 2016
BOOK REVIEW: Melophobia by James Morris

Can you imagine…
A world with no music allowed?
A world where music is banned and illegal?
A world where listening to music is a crime?

There is just nothing to say the way Mr. James Morris written the book. It’s excellent, very-well written, gripping, and one of the most moving novels I’d ever read.

Confusion, betrayal, and doubt all in the name of being a Patrol officer, the daughter of the Minister Tarquin Pierce, and a woman who was abandoned when she was just a child by her mother who chose to live a life with music instead of her and her father.

Melophobia is a suspense young adult fiction set on an old America.

First of all, I am a fantasy lover and I am NOT really fond of reading suspense novels. I had never read any book with this genre and I am NOT interested. But seeing the title Melophobia made me want to read this book immediately and I am beyond happy to have the opportunity.

Melophobia is an unforgettable story of love, duty, family, patriotism, and music.

Merrin Pierce is an undercover Patrol officer, the daughter of the Minister of Broadcast Standards, and a server of law. Together with Anders Copeland, their job is to find and arrest illegal rave and concert goers, and anyone who will be seen listening, distributing and making music. After doing so many successful missions together, their Chief Commander gave them the most important and hardest mission they could possibly have; to find and arrest The Source.

Merrin Pierce and Anders Copeland is living in a society where music is strictly prohibited.

At first, I really don’t know how this book will work for me. Even though the reason is already given, I still can’t understand why they are scared of music. What is the point of seeing music as a threat to the peace of their society? What is the sense of banning music?

Unlike any other books where I can always feel myself as the main character, I can see myself as one of those teenagers – even adults are not excepted - whose Anders and Merrin is putting into jail. Aside from reading books, I also sometimes go to rave. And I really love music so living in their society I think, will put me into jail or worse, put my life into death.

What I love the most in this book is the journey of Merrin towards self-discovery. The struggle between doing what you’re mind is telling right and doing what you’re heart really wants. I love the way she is always trying to do what is right and what she is supposed to do as an undercover Patrol officer but eventually finding herself doing the opposite. I love the way she’s trying to continue what she really is but can’t help and stop being terrified of what she had slowly become. Just imagine being the daughter of a man who hates music and a woman who loves music. I love her journey of seeking freedom, independence and her true self.

“What’s wrong?” Val tries to soothe her, wiping away her tears as she would a child.

“It’s nothing,” Merrin lied, the alcohol compounding matters, her thoughts lingering on betraying her father. “Just the music. Gets to me.”

“I know,” Val said. “Sometimes it’s so beautiful it hurts.”

Weeks passed since I’ve read this book and I still can remember the overwhelming feelings it gave me. It cuts deep into my heart right at those precious moments. James Morris will show you what is the real meaning of music. And he will also show you the different kinds of love.

Music is not just music. It is life. Music is not just composed of notes, tones and lyrics. It is also composed of dreams, passion, and love.

The love triangle, the love of a father to his only daughter, the love of a leader to his society, the love of a patrol officer to his duty, the love of an abandoned daughter for her lost mother, the undying love of someone from the past, and the forbidden love of two individuals. This book will make you cry and make your heart break as much as it will also make you laugh and smile.

The forbidden love in this book is ONE OF THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE LOVE STORY I HAD EVER READ. It will leave you speechless. I find it very hard to believe how this book can tell such a love story. No words can describe how much I really felt towards this book.

And I love how James Morris turned things around. The roller coaster ride of emotions was just insane! Do you know how hard it is for a reader to read something that he/she doesn’t want to happen? To silently torture yourself for continuing reading it even though you already know where will these end? And to silently hope for the very impossible to happen? I really hate the fact that this book made me cry very hard. I hate the fact that I can’t do something about it. That as a reader, I just need to accept things and move on, but I love the idea of James Morris writing such a thing. Carry on Melody, set the fuse.

I was impressed by the idea, the plot, the relatable and convincing characters, and the beginning and ending of this book. After reading this, I was in awe to realize that a book like this still exists. This book is worth treasuring. It is one of the best book I had ever read.

I will never get tired of re-reading it until I get old.

I highly recommend Melophobia. It deserves more than a 5 out of 5 stars rating.

Can love survive in a world without music?

Profile Image for Chantal.
7 reviews
October 29, 2015

A world without music! I can’t imagine how that would be (don’t want to either).

This story is telling us about a world where music is banned. People are not allowed to make or listen to music and if they do they will be punished!

Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.

The time—now; the place—America, but in a world where the government controls all forms of art and creativity. Any music sowing the seeds of anarchy is banned—destroyed if found—its creators and listeners harshly punished.

Merrin Pierce works as an undercover Patrol officer assigned to apprehend a fugitive musician who threatens the safe fabric of society, only to confront everything she thought to be true – her values, upbringing, job, and future.

Can love survive in a world without music?

Merrin is a patrol officer. Her job is to arrest musicians and people who listen to Music. Her father, Tarquin Pierce is the minister of broadcast standards. Her mother ran off with a musician years ago.

She works undercover with her partner Anders to infiltrate the underground music scene and arrest musicians and listeners. While undercover she meets Val. Merrin doesn’t like Val but she becomes friends with her because Val knows the fugutive musician Merrin wants to catch.

Her father introduces her to Rowan Sol. Rowan also works at the ministry of broadcast standards, he composes muzak.

Merrin falls in love with Rowan, but not only with Rowan!

The characters are very well discribed.

I liked Merrin, She is doing her job very well but ends up asking herself if she is doing the right thing. She makes some stupid decisions (made me wanna slap her)

Her father does everything to keep his reputation high and didn’t stand behind his daughter. I don’t like him for that.

Anders and Merrin used to date. Anders is still very much in love with Merrin and also a bit jealous. Not a good combination!

Rowan is a sweet, romantic guy. I totally understand why Merrin falls in love with him!

It’s a story about love and betrayal with some unexpected twists. It started a bit slow but after a few chapters it got faster.

The last chapters I couldn’t put it down, I had to know how it would end. And it was not what I expected!

What lies within was the first title I read from James Morris. I gave it 5 stars.

Melophobia also gets 5 stars from me!

James Morris is a great writer. I’m definitely gonna read everything he publishes!

I highly recommend this to everyone!

Read my other reviews on: http://readsbychara.blogspot.nl/
Profile Image for Alyssa Janine Busia.
125 reviews45 followers
June 2, 2019
Melophobia is an addictive, breath-taking, and a captivating twisted novel that will make your heart breaks into pieces and will make you cry loads of tears. I never thought that this book will touch my heart and will make it bleed at the same time. I am surely proud to say that this is one of the best books I’ve read so far.

One of life’s great pleasures, to feed the people you love. – James Morris, Melophobia

This novel tells the story of a patrol officer named Merrin Pierce who happens to be the daughter of Tarquin Pierce, the Minister of Broadcast Standards, who goes undercover to bust raves, parties, and concerts that play music. Together with her ex-boyfriend Anders, they are assigned to find The Source who creates and distributes music that bounds to destroy the people of the good society. What Merrin didn’t know, as she gets closer to finding who The Source is, she is bound to change everything she believed as truth and that she’ll start to question everything around her.

Secrets never stayed secret. – James Morris, Melophobia

In this place called America, Music is not allowed because it is believed that the ideas hidden under the lyrics are messages that approve of wrongful and improper behaviors and has a subliminal message. When you are caught listening, distributing, and creating music, a re-education was given where the treatment has four levels, and I am telling you, the level 4 is one of the harshest punishment I’ve read.

She’d always had the idea that identity was like a locked box – once formed, it’s what you were. – James Morris, Melophobia

The story was written on a third person’s POV.

The main character, Merrin Pierce, lives in a time where arts and creativity were controlled by the government. Music that sought to infiltrate the minds of the people is banned and destroyed. Only classical ones are allowed, but it still needs some approval just to make sure it would not arouse too much passion.

What people couldn’t see was she was a phoenix, rising from the ashes, reborn. – James Morris, Melophobia

Her character shows a strong personality. She does what is right, and she never let anyone control her. She likes to know why she’s doing something before doing it. As a woman who grows up without a mother, she finds it hard to love and to act like a lady. Even her only girl best friend Cassie seems to be far from her reach since she started to be a patrol officer. Confused and having doubts, she tries to find an answer to all of her questions even if it means opening her broken heart again.

Unrequited love always involved an element of self-loathing – James Morris, Melophobia

The other character is Anders. I imagine him to be like Asa in the novel Too Late that is written by Colleen Hoover. Same as Asa, he is becoming a selfish man because of his love for Merrin. He is still in love with Merrin, and he wanted her. Knowing that there’s a guy who lurks around Merrin, he felt threatened, and we all know that sometimes, a guy like him tends to do things that will hurt the girl he loves as long as that girl will end up with him. I just felt sad and angry at him when he did “that” in the last part of the book.

The best way to create change was from the inside. – James Morris, Melophobia

Rowan is the other character in this novel that makes the story more beautiful even if he started not so appealing in the start. He is interesting as the story goes more in-depth, and he makes me fall in love on how passionate he is when it comes to music. He is also romantic, and I’ll doubt it if Merrin will never fall for his charms.

The deeper she went the more baggage she seemed to collect and the farther she walked this path, the lonelier she became. – James Morris, Melophobia

When I saw the title of this book, I thought the story was all about the person who has a fear of music. And, I’ve never tried reading the synopsis when I started reading this because I wanted an element of surprise on what this book will be about. Now, when I reached the middle part, I said to myself that I am wrong, this is not about a person who has a phobia but it talks about society, the government instead, that is afraid of music because they believe that music is the voice of a devil.

As I reached the end, it makes me cry a lot. I was left hanging and still contemplating what had just happened. In Filipino, “BITIN” would be the right term to describe what I’m feeling right now. I want more. I was left to ponder what the outcome will be. I hate to say this, but this book is one of my biggest heartbreaks. And it is the book that I’ll always remember as the book that breaks my heart, and now, the pieces of it were nowhere to be found.

Time lost its meaning and there were only two of them, not surrounded by music, but living within it. A meditation of sound. – James Morris, Melophobia

Mr. James is really an excellent narrator. I can feel what each character feels, and as if I’m just around them when they do something. They are all well-written, and you can very well see the differences between them.

The cover was another point here. It is not just a musical note that has fire around it. For me, the meaning in the cover shows the point of the story, and it is a (possible) war between the government and the people who love music.

Overall, this heart-wrenching novel will surely make you gripped it hard as you reach the ending part. It will make you lost in the world Mr. Morris created. It will make you still staring at the end part as you reflect on what had just happened.

I am hugely recommending this book! This is a fantastic and blazingly successful novel that will surely make you left hanging and wanting more.

Disclaimer: I received a reader’s copy from the author.

BLOG POST LINK: http://bit.ly/1U161s0
Profile Image for Suzanne.
441 reviews4 followers
August 15, 2017
The day the Muzak died, lol.
A world where music is illegal. Terrifying. This book is like what would happen if the Church of Christ ruled the country/world. No music, no dancing, no drinking, no fun.
It's not clear if the music ban is worldwide or just the states. Either way I shudder to think...
That said, the identity of the source was not a surprise to me at all, but then it wasn't like a pivotal reveal so it didn't bother me so much that i saw it coming a mile away.
I also really like the end, It just felt like the right way to end it.
Profile Image for Yvonne (It's All About Books).
2,108 reviews260 followers
April 4, 2016
Finished reading: December 1st 2015
Rating 4qqq

"She could see how easily someone could succumb to the hex music weaved over them, the temptation to lose oneself within the hypnotic trance-like beats. No thoughts of the future, or the past, only the immediate present, as if life itself had condensed into a single moment."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
Profile Image for Luucy.
53 reviews66 followers
December 28, 2015
3.5 :D
** I received this e-book from the author in exchange of my honest review **

What I really liked about Melophobia is the way James turn everything around :D . Because music is the way we protest and express our feelings, and James made that look like something wrong and sinful. And the incredible part was that I could see the reason behind that and at moments it made sense. :P

The main character Merrin was difficult for me. :/ Sometimes I liked her because she was so badass and smart, fighting against she thought it was wrong, but other times she was really childish and naive, the thing I didn’t like the most was that she called her dad “Daddy” and I imagined her saying that like a little girl and it just made me uncomfortable. :/ However, I liked her more than disliked her, because I could feel her as a real person with her ups and downs. :)

Now the Source was so freaking amazing! :D I love him/her (I can’t tell because of spoilers) with all my heart. <3 The Source is my new boyfriend/girlfriend, I love him/her so much because of his/her passion and love with the music.<3 Also, he/she was soo sweet and adorable with everybody. :) For me there wasn’t anything wrong with him/her and that shows how much I liked him/her! :D

The bad thing was that I always imagine how a book could end and in this book I was able to predict the things pretty well. :/ The only case I liked that was when Merrin met for the first time with the Source and joking I said “She/he is the Source”, I was right and it was funny because I just said it without thinking it. :P

However, I liked this book a lot, all the mystery and the adrenaline in some scenes were really awesome. Oh! And the romance that is in this book, is really sweet and unique. <3
Profile Image for J. Kahele.
Author 15 books441 followers
September 28, 2015
Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.

The time—now; the place—America, but in a world where the government controls all forms of art and creativity. Any music sowing the seeds of anarchy is banned—destroyed if found—its creators and listeners harshly punished.

Merrin Pierce works as an undercover Patrol officer assigned to apprehend a fugitive musician who threatens the safe fabric of society, only to confront everything she thought to be true – her values, upbringing, job, and future.

Can love survive in a world without music?

What a scary thought, to live in a world where music isn’t aloud, talk about your underground music. In this tale, listening to music is against the law, the crime punishable by the law.
There is an underground person who is distributing music to people illegally.

Merrin is a patrol person, her main job is to seek out those who listen and distribute music. When the identity of the source is revealed to her, she is caught between a rock and hard place. Does she follow the trueness of her heart, or does she stand by the law she promise to protect.
I have to admit the story started out slow for me, it took me a few chapters before I found it interesting enough to continue on. But once I hit that plateau, I was engulfed into completely.
Profile Image for Shomeret.
1,061 reviews208 followers
June 13, 2016
Melaphobia by James Morris was the second book that I nominated on Kindle Scout that was selected for publication. Because I had nominated it, I received a free copy of the book when it was published. I should have read and reviewed this sooner, but I've been busy with the work for my graduate degree.

I noticed a review of this book here on Goodreads from someone who didn't understand why the authorities in Melophobia condemned music. I was very young during the sixties, but I was there. So I learned then that music could give voice to rebellion, and that protest was bound up with music. I was exposed to anti-war music, and labor activist music such as the hauntingly beautiful Bread and Roses. Melophobia emerges from this extensive background of music as dissidence.

This is a very dark book. Don't expect happily ever after. Yet there is a glimmer of hope in the end, and that was really all I needed.

For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews573 followers
September 29, 2015
Ever hear someone say, “Turn that racket off! Whatever happened to good music, where you could understand what was being sung?” Probably a parent, older adult, or a person with better taste in music? ;) Now, imagine that someone put an end to music, period. No more Elvis with his suggestive hips, no more Beatles, heck, even the Wiggles would be banned! Imagine a life with only Muzak, kind of like being trapped in a mirrored elevator for life. That’s the world Merrin grew up in, the purveyors of music are her enemy, and she is part of the long arm of the law tasked with capturing the rebels who dare to make, play, listen or dance to music. She never questioned why, until she heard it for herself, learned of its history, and fell for the head of the rebel movement.

Her soul has awakened, her heart has come alive and she feels the pulse of the music with every beat of her heart and she likes it. How can she do her job when she discovers the humans behind the rebel movement are as real as she is, they love and laugh and cry and they have the guts to feel the joy of each musical note, hidden away from the prying eyes of the law. Will Merrin’s heart come between doing as the oppressive government commands or will she find hidden pieces of her soul beneath a pile of lies, murder and deceit, pieces that complete her. Will her heart find a romantic aria or the crushing crescendo of heartbreak?

James Morris’s Melophobia is a dark trip into a world where the beauty of music has been distorted into a hideous monster to be feared as the masses blindly follow the dictates of a twisted government. Well written, dark and atmospheric, fear runs rampant and punishment is swift and brutal. Like a funeral dirge for humanity’s soul, Mr. Morris has captured the loss of a simple joy we take for granted to sooth, excite or speak to our souls…and I keep hearing, “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie…..I knew that I was out of luck, the day the music died…” Great reading, but I can’t imagine not getting my mood lift from Boston.

I received this copy from James Morris in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Kindle Press
Genre: Alternative History \ Science Fiction
Print Length: 265 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Liis.
584 reviews111 followers
December 30, 2015
Loved this book because music!

Say, how do you feel about elevator music? Or the “i’m-left-on-hold-on-the-phone-here-is-some-tunes-to-make-your-ears-bleed” kind of music? Assuming that majority of population always gets irritated by these “waiting-tunes”, can you picture a world where this was the only music available? The only kind of music allowed? Imagine, if all your life you were told that all the other genres of music were forbidden because they are the root of all evil and equal rebellion against the state?

Gosh, I love these kind of controversy-themed books. A different, yet unique version of 1984 by Orwell.

The story is set in Hollywood, LA and it’s a natural choice for a story such as this. After War on Moral Decay there was no more Beatles, no more The Rolling Stones, no more artistic, makes-your-feet-tap, makes-your-heart-sing, lifts-your-mood kind of music. None. But people always prevail, they always stand for their passions and nothing can stop them, not even a daft, disillusioned Government.

I loved the writing style, so many beautiful words were used and so many times I just re-read a sentence because it made me happy. I could feel the power of emotions radiating from the pages whenever music was talked about.

Picking up this book will transport you into a world where music is considered sonic warfare, where any physical copies of music will be burned in the incinerator.

The ending of the book was perfect for me- even though it left me with a sense of gain, it also left me with a sense of loss.

I rate this book 5 stars for the beautiful use of language which worked a treat for me, for the controversial topic which fits like a fist in my eye, for creating numerous scenes where I felt I was present, for mentioning punk and moshpits because hellyea!
Profile Image for Janie Johnson.
899 reviews134 followers
October 19, 2015
I had received this book in exchange for an honest review from the Author. This is the second book I have read by this author. I did find that this book was very engaging which kept me quickly turning the pages. So it was good, it just did not WOW me.

In this book you have a world where the government controls all forms of art, and music is one form that is prohibited. Merrin, who is a 'Patrol Officer', is on the case to seek out and apprehend 'the source', a fugitive musician, so that this new world is no longer jeopardized.

I thought the premise of the story was pretty unique since there are not of too many stories about music being illegal, unless of course you include Footloose. First off, I found this story to be very fluid. It flowed really well and was pretty easy to follow. The writing style does keep you turning the pages. There was some great action scenes. However, there were some aspects of the book I found unnecessary though. I don't want to get into those so I don't spoil the story. Overall it was very well written and very entertaining.

With that said, lets talk about characters. I did not really enjoy our main character Merrin. I could not connect to her at all. To me she seemed pretty wishy washy and could not decide what she wanted or didn't want. She made some dumb mistakes along the way as well. She really does not think before she speaks. She does grow on you a bit by the time the story is over, I just wish she would have been more grounded than she was. The only character I really liked was Rowan, I think he could have been much bigger than he was in this story by playing a more influential role. I don't feel like we got to see enough of him. I would have loved to have seen much more of Rowan.
Profile Image for The Behrg.
Author 14 books147 followers
May 16, 2016
This is one of the most fascinating alternative histories I've read, spawned by the idea of the government declaring war on "moral decay." And at its center are the arts -- music, paintings, television or movies ... anything that incites rebellion or causes you to feel something more than apathy.

And feel, you will.

Morris explores this world through the eyes of a young patrol officer. The daughter of one of the government's high ranking officials, she works undercover, exposing the ranks of those who create or listen to music. But her next task will force her deeper than she's ever been in order to bring to justice The Source, a creator of music so talented that he has begun to unite the different genres of music-lovers under one roof.

Part Orwellian fiction, part coming of age, this is a novel that exceeds its premise. Morris takes his characters down impossible paths, with choices I never saw coming. And while you think you know where things will end up, there are plenty of surprises still in store.

What stays with you the most, however, beyond the stunning characters, is the tribute this novel is to the power of music. This novel is a celebration of music. It's influence -- for good or bad, light or dark. It's power to transform. To creates memories. To bury pain. Or to convey one's thoughts better than words might ever accomplish. As a musician, this novel especially spoke to me.

Hopefully Morris will revisit this world with a follow-up; there's definitely an opening for more material and a sequel could breed enormous possibilities. But even if this ends up being a stand-alone, like some of the greatest songs every created, it will be one I always remember.
Profile Image for Karen.
585 reviews22 followers
February 27, 2016
James Morris does it again with another exciting page-turner, which by the way, I can totally picture as a movie! This alternate reality book is set in present time where music is banned, all music except musak of the elevator variety. It was an interesting and unique perspective to read about. I loved the family interactions, the betrayals, the treachery, and the unexpected romance. This book had a little bit of everything, all in a setting I am very familiar with.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Anne.
387 reviews145 followers
January 12, 2016
The book starts off with this quote:

"Rock has always been the Devil's music...I believe rock and roll is dangerous...I feel we're heralding something even darker than ourselves."

-David Bowie, Rolling Stone, February 12, 1976

May he rest in peace.


The story opens from the perspective of Anders, Merrin's partner in the Patrol. He's attending a rave party in undercover mode. Together with Merrin, he's trying to bust the party and get everyone arrested for playing music. I'd hate to give too much away here, but that is one HELL of an opening scene!
We then switch to Merrin's perspective and pretty much stay there for the rest of the book. This transition adds even more brilliance to the opening scene. It's like a movie where we're introduced to the main character through the eyes of a side character. I love that concept!

So, listening to music is a crime. Owning music an ever bigger crime. Making music is a top notch crime. Distributing it...YIKES!

In this dystopian version of America, there has been a big national war somewhere in the 60's. Needless to say, the side which thought music was a sin has won and is now in charge of the State, ruling from the Ministry and sending out officers of the Patrol to irradicate music. The only exception being Musak, a dull version of music which is allowed to be played in elevators and shopping malls and mostly numbs the brain instead of activating it. Whenever a person is caught engaging in music, there are 4 levels of punishment, depending on the severity of the crime:

"Level One was akin to a Traffic School parole program for first-time or juvenile offenders. Level Two incorporated an ankle bracelet device that traced aural levels, alerting authorities if certain thresholds of decibels or melody were crossed ; it was worn for a period of no less than two years. Level Three included an intense psycho-pharmaceutical process of creating a gag reflex to music; much like a Pavlovian experiment, successful offenders found they could no longer tolerate hearing music without experiencing headaches, vomiting and vertigo. Level Four increased the methods of Level Three, making the offender's ears literally bleed and in severe cases prompting "aural sterilization," i.e. deafness."

I own and play at least five musical instruments myself. Imagine what would happen to me if I was found out!
When it becomes clear that there's a person called 'The Source' who is making all kinds of genres of music, really good music, in fact, brilliant music, and distributing it him-/herself, Merrin and Anders are ordered to go undercover again, track him down and by doing so, destroying the biggest music leak ever.

The story is fast-paced, the characters are well developed, the world building is great. It's like Orwell's 1984 meets the Bourne film series. There's action, paranoia, romance, and a disturbing thriller setting with spies!
Based on my level of enjoyment and the writing style which made me fly through the book, really, I'm giving it 4.5 stars

However! I do have a two questions for the author and/or you guys when it comes to consistency:

1. If music was banned in the 60's, how come all the well-known songs of today have been written and made popular all the same in this version of America? Is it because the rest of the world doesn't have a ban on music?

2. The entire nation's TV programming consists mainly of black and white old movies. My first thought was: isn't there a shitload of music in most of those?

Then I've got one point of true criticism which made me reduce my rating by half a star in the end: the punk scene. As a lover of punk music, I thought it was a bit silly to make the whole scene and the people in it sound so stereotypical. It's like they're nothing but a violent and aggressive bunch, out for destruction. I admit there's a lot of playful aggression going on in the moshpits, but there's only a certain amount of people participating in that anyways. Whenever I go to a metal concert, for example, and I notice a moshpit is opening up, I'll make sure to get as far away from it as possible, while still enjoying the music. I know a distinction had to be made between different genres of music fans, but making it sound as if all punkers are some sort of reincarnation of Sid Vicious is a bit too judgemental if you ask me.

A big thank you to James Morris for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Profile Image for Emily Wrayburn.
Author 5 books41 followers
January 23, 2016
Thank you to James Morris for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review posted to A Keyboard and an Open Mind 09 January, 2016:

I read Melophobia is a day. It’s a really interesting alternate history, the premise being that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to cope with the sexual revolution and events like Woodstock, the US government began the War on Moral Decay. All types of creativity, such as music, film and art, are illegal, except for government-approved material. Those arrested for either obtaining or creating illegal art are sent to re-education facilities where they receive treatment from Levels 1 – 4.

As with most alternate histories, we have a main character who starts to question the status quo. In this case, it is Merrin Pierce, one half of a police partnership tasked with bringing down The Source, an anonymous composer supplying music to all the various factions of fans. As Merrin gets deeper and deeper into her investigation and the musical world, she starts to question everything she’s been brought up to believe.

Merrin was a good character, though I did find some of her character development a bit rushed. Rowan, her main contact in the music community, had an interesting backstory that was revealed at a good pace. My main issue was with Anders, Merrin’s colleague and ex-boyfriend. He was possessive and stalker-y, and wouldn’t take no for an answer, despite the fact that Merrin made it clear she wasn’t interested in him anymore. Characters like this really bother me.

The world-building was solid and consistent though I would have liked to know more about what was going on in the rest of the world in this version of events. Was the ban on creativity world-wide, or just in the USA? Both the Beatles and the Who were mentioned among the bands that were reeducated – was the British government okay with this? Would U2 have really had to stay in hiding or could they have just gone home and been fine?

Overall, I recommend this book for fans of Orwell and the like – an entertaining what-might-have-been.

Initial Review:
I read Melophobia in a day. I found some of the character development for the main character, Merrin, a bit rushed, and I didn't like her partner, Anders at all (though his character was at least consistent throughout, and worked for the plot). The alternate history and world-building were very good, though, and the plot was tightly structured.

My blog is on a hiatus for the Christmas holidays, but I'll get a more in-depth review up there (and cross-posted here) early in the new year. Right now I need to go do some of the housework I ignored in favour of reading.
Profile Image for Jean (Bookish Poetess).
623 reviews72 followers
November 4, 2015
"People say they want the truth, but really, they don't. It's simpler, easier, less painful ro live without it."

What it is like to live in a world without music? A world where music is forbidden, hated, and feared? Unimaginable. Unthinkable. There is no doubt the world will go insane. And James Morris proved it here in his excellent novel, Melophobia. The title itself reveals too much. Melophobia: fear or hatred of music. At first, all I wonder is, is it possible? To fear or hate music? Then it all came down to me, everything is possible.

Merrin Pierce is one of those people who is against the music. Being a daughter of the Minister, Tarquin Pierce, and been left behind by a mother who succumbed to music, she had no other choice but to fight against it. She had been working undercover with her partner Anders Copeland, and she had no resistance whenever she captures musicians, distributors or even listeners. She vowed to plug the leak. Until the inevitable happened, she fell in love with Rowan Sol. Not only just with an ordinary person, but also with music. And when the truth revealed in front of her eyes, she will do everything, even against her principles and what she believed all her life, to fight for the right and to never fear music.

After reading a few pages, I wanted to stop because of two reasons: it doesn't appeal to me and it's boring. And thank all the gods in Olympus because I've done the otherwise! The book is excellent! It travelled me into a new world and made me experience new things. This is something new among the other books I've read. It's a blend of reality and fantasy and it made me think of the "what ifs". The action is exciting and the story, though somehow slow pacing, is easy to follow and to get lost into. It also filled me with disgust and hatred with the State, and admiration to those fight for what they love, though it's against the law. I like the character of Merrin, though she has been blinded of the truth by her father. And also, I like Rowan Sol, I like how intelligent and talented he was. I like how he did not surrender his love for music and even made a way to spread it. The only thing I hated it the ending, because it's not what I expected. And also because of Anders. He'd been so obsessed with his "love" for Merrin that it made him so selfish. And I hate him for that. I really do!

Excellent. It is so excellent to live in a new world and new rules and all. It is amazing really. Hands down to the author! I am recommending it to everyone!
Profile Image for Lynda Dickson.
581 reviews57 followers
February 15, 2016
Melophobia is defined as the "fear or hatred of music". James Morris presents us with an alternate image of our world, where music was criminalized in 1974 after the War on Moral Decay. Playing and distributing music (other than Classical or Musak) is illegal and punishable by four levels of reprogramming called Re-Education or Re-Edging. But is there also a more sinister punishment - the rumored Level 5?

Merrin Pierce and Anders Copeland are members of the Patrol, enforcers of these new laws and undercover agents who infiltrate the underground music scene. In their latest assignment, Merrin and Anders go undercover to try and unmask the Source, the major distributor of illegal music. But as they immerse themselves in their new identities, they both find that music has a way of creeping into your soul. As the lines between good and evil become blurred, Merrin and Anders must re-assess everything they've ever believed in.

This is an intriguing look at what can happen when something we take for granted becomes illegal, in this case, music. The concept is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, where books are outlawed. There are also hints of George Orwell's 1984; there's even mention of a Room 101, also the name of the infamous torture chamber in Orwell's book. A bit slow to start, the action picks up towards the end, leaving the reader with no idea of how things are going to resolve. There is something for everyone here - action, adventure, mystery, romance, and family drama - along with plenty of musical references. My one bugbear is the author's use of "&" in the text.

You'll have a new-found appreciation of music after reading Melophobia.

Warnings: violence, coarse language, sex scenes, drug references.

I received this book in return for an honest review.

Full blog post: https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.co...
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,721 reviews260 followers
October 28, 2015
I received a free ecopy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In this alternate version of America, the government controls art and creativity. Primarily, in the form of music which could potentially cause anarchy and discord if not nipped in the bud destroyed. Those caught making music, distributing music, or enjoying music are severely punished. Merrin Pierce is an undercover Patrol officer who apprehends the fugitives who threaten the values and safety of society with music. On one case, however, she begins to question the validity everything she's ever known.

World-building in dystopian novels can sometimes be hit or miss, but this was one element of the story that I particularly enjoyed. I've always gotten a kick out of alternate history that has close ties to our real life past and present, so seeing how Merrin's world developed was of particular interest. That being said Morris's novel is very original and creative - I've never read anything quite like it before.

I also particularly enjoyed the characters. While Merrin could grate on my nerves at times, she really grows over the course of the novel and it's fascinating to see where she ends up as a character, and to learn her backstory, too. This book has something for everyone to like from music, alternate history, action, mystery, and a little romance. Just to warn you there is a bit of an unrequited love triangle in this story as well, but it is well-written and also heartbreaking.

Overall, I'm so glad I gave Melophobia by James Morris a shot. This dystopia in the vein of 1984 is well worth your time. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for future works by James Morris.

This review is also available on my blog.
Profile Image for Maggie.
Author 41 books394 followers
September 13, 2015
Imagine a world with no music. Really, try a little harder. Hear that silence? No romantic wedding music. No tender lullabies. No songs of heartbreak and cheating. No energizing rock ’n roll. In this fictional dystopian world, what passes for music is more watered down than Muzak.

Now imagine a young woman at a crossroads. Merrin works at Patrol, the organization dedicated to stamping out the last remnant of people who listen to real, albeit illegal, music. Merrin has made a name for herself in her field, but the more undercover work she does, the more questions she has.

If you can imagine all that, you’ll have the opening for Kindle Scout winner James Morris’ Melophobia. This book struck all the right notes with me. It provoked a visceral reaction and made me appreciate music even more. While this is one dystopian world I hope never comes to fruition, my eyes were opened to how integral music is to the fabric of our lives.

Maggie Toussaint and Rigel Carson for Muddy Rose Reviews
Profile Image for Haley.
171 reviews55 followers
September 30, 2015
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Perfectly paced and well written.

A society where music is illegal and if caught re-education is required. The world building was put together well. The re-education process was interesting to read about (and learn about in the end).

This book had a lot of twist I didn't see coming. The Source should have been obvious and I thought I knew who it was going to be, but I was wrong. I was quite pissed at her father for several different things. I wanted him to change in the end, wanted him to be on her side. What he did was unforgivable. From a romantic stand point... I wanted the ending to be different.

Music is a big part of my day to day routine. I listen to music while cleaning, working, driving, working out. To think elevator music was the only "Musak" allowed just makes me angry. I would be re-edged... level five.

Would I read another book by this author: YES :)
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