I love live music, and this book is a coming of age story centered around the underground music scene in a dystopian near future that seems all too possible.
My biggest issue with this book is the classification of science fiction. The science and technology in the book center around...
Immersive Virtual Reality experiences
The current tech is still pretty clunky but VR is a thing today.
1-hour drone deliveries from an online superstore
Technically possible today.
So it's not so much science fiction as near term speculative fiction.
Now let's look at the socio-political situation in the book.
A wave of terrorism in the US and some sort of viral epidemic has resulted in the government outlawing public gatherings of more than 30 people, and an economy pretty much owned by the online superstore.
Seriously, we could have that next week.
As the book begins, Luce Canon is on top of the world, as her band is selling out every show and she has a major hit song. Then the shit hits the fan.
Jump forward about 15 years and Luce is eeking out a living playing clandestine shows in what amounts to a speakeasy in the basement of the house she bought with her last big royalty check. The only way to enjoy live actual music is to break the law at underground shows. The authorized shows all happen in virtual reality.
Meanwhile Rosemary is an early 20s young lady whose parents moved to a remote farm when all hell broke loose, and she completed her schooling in a virtual school. All her friends exist as avatars in various VR environments, and she works as a remote customer service rep for that online superstore with the drones. A chance opportunity to attend a VR concert by a top band sparks something in her, and she ends up getting a job with the online concert company scouting new talent. Her job is now to travel the country, find the underground artists, and sell them on selling out for a stable paycheck in virtual reality.
Rosemary has never left the farm. She is a germaphobe who is terrified of physical contact with strangers. This should go well.
What results is a dystopian coming of age story in which Rosemary learns that maybe her parents didn't do her a favor protecting her from the real world, as she also comes understand the power of a real community, the power of a well written song, and the power of a heartfelt live performance.
Oh, the online company is actually evil. But you probably already guessed that.