Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
I was sent a copy of Melody’s Key by the author, Dallas Coryell, in exchange for an honest review. I don’t read very many contemporary novels, as usually I’m more of a fantasy-lover. But I have been meaning to get into the contemporary scene lately in order to broaden my reading habits. Melody’s Key is a pure romance – there really isn’t a side-plot to the story other than the fact that the main protagonist’s family is dirt poor which creates obstacles.
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Title: Melody’s Key
Author: Dallas Coryell
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published: June 24th, 2016
“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”
Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.
About Dallas Coryell
Dallas Coryell is a musician and author residing deep in the untamed wilds of Michigan, USA, where he desperately attempts to assign meaning to his world through bouts of maniacal creative catharsis and pitifully doomed hopeless romantic fantasies.
All of the songs written by the characters in MELODY’S KEY are real and can be viewed on the author’s fledgling YouTube channel:
Selfies and other assorted randomness can be found on the author’s Instagram:
The plot was a basic contemporary romance. Tegan lives in a world with no future: she’s poor, can’t go to college, and isn’t able to do anything but work for her parents. Then Perfect Boy (in the form of a celebrity pop star) shows up and turns her world upside down. It wasn’t anything ground-breaking.
There was a side-plot with Tegan’s GBF (gay best friend), Simon, and his love interest. The side-plot reached its own climax when Simon’s love didn’t show up to the end-of-summer bonfire party. But nothing really happened after that. There was no real resolution for Simon, and I thought that the lack of conclusion or closure for him was pretty lame.
The characters were kind of interesting. Mason, the celebrity love interest was cliche like you wouldn’t believe. But there was a fun dynamic between Tegan and her sister because they often pranked each other. That was probably my favorite part of the book.
I thought there was kind of a weird dynamic between Tegan and her mom. I think talking about sexuality openly is awesome, but it was kind of weird and almost unbelievable when Tegan’s mom told her that she was going back to bed with her father and wanted to see if he would use his rough hands all over her. It was just kind of weird.
Also, it was really confusing to determine many of the characters’ ages, and even their appearances felt inconsistent at times. Using math and some of the textual clues, I think I determined that Mason, the main love interest to the protagonist, was around 26 or 27 years old. That’s pretty old for a Young Adult contemporary romance. In fact, I think it pushes it out of the Young Adult category altogether. Based on that and other textual clues, I think that Tegan must have been in her early twenties.
Most of my issue with this book comes from the writing. The first issue I will touch on is the fact that there were several typos and misspellings, a really casual narrative, and often incredibly specific cultural and time-period references that I don’t think will age well. Such as when Tegan talks to her dad about “man crush Monday”. It was distracting at best, and made me cringe at the worst of times. Many of the jokes were told in this manner, and often didn’t even translate well to me, arguably the target audience for this book.
This story also felt pretty inauthentically British. The setting was in England, but Coryell included so many British stereotypes that it felt like a poorly written sitcom. The author himself is not from England, and so I wonder if it was an issue of writing about a culture you’ve never lived in – a lack of authenticity.
It was a pretty short book, so it didn’t take too long to read, which is a bonus in my mind. Other than that, there just wasn’t much that I loved about this book. I’m not sure if it’s because the contemporary genre really just isn’t for me, or if it was the other issues I had with this book.
Also, I didn’t understand the title. Melody is Tegan’s middle name, and the key it refers to is a special one she wears around her neck which opens a special box full of love letters from her ancestors. But she loses the key at the beginning of the book, and then is reunited with it at the end. I didn’t understand the use of her middle name, as she doesn’t go by it and the name isn’t revealed until at least halfway into the book. Also, the key itself didn’t seem very symbolic of anything. I get that “melody” = song, and key = piano key like on the cover of my copy of the book, but it still felt like a stretch to me.
I give Melody’s Key 1.5/5 stars
Let’s talk about it
Have you read Melody’s Key? Do you enjoy contemporary romantic reads? What other recommendations do you have for someone who prefers fantasy novels to contemporary ones? Leave your thoughts below in the comments!