Melody Burning by Whitley Strieber
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: December 6, 2011
Summary: Beresford has been within the walls of a skyscraper since he was a little boy. He’s even named himself after the building. When teen sensation Melody McGrath moves in, Beresford is mesmerized by her, and he’s certain he’s found love. Beresford gets an opportunity to interact with Melody when he discovers that the building (and thus her life) is in danger of going up in flames.
My thoughts: Melody Burning is charming in some aspects, but odd in others. The chapters told from the perspective of Beresford are written in a very juvenile manner, which is delightful because the style reflects his lack of education. Beresford is a very mysterious character, and it’s never really explained how he came to be fascinated by Melody. His infatuation with her is borderline creepy, and the romance aspect of the novel just leaves you with a queasy feeling. Though the message of the book is to accept everyone, Beresford, though sweet, seems a bit of a stretch. This is in part due to the fact that it’s very difficult to connect to him as a character. He has no memory of his past, but he’s still a completely blank slate. It seems odd that after twelve years or so he wouldn’t have formed some sort of personality.
Melody, on the other hand, bursts from the page with her fiery attitude! The chapters told from her perspective are definitely superior to Beresford’s. The drama that comes with being a teen superstar (think a Disney Channel girl) follows her around and is supremely entertaining. Melody’s mother is positively insane, and the arguments they have are epic almost to the point of unbelievability. Melody is a bit of a damsel in distress in Melody Burning, but there are moments when she shows backbone—especially during interactions with her mother. Melody’s connection with Beresford is, again, just a bit weird, and so it’s not very believable at all.
Melody Burning is a thriller, and at this it succeeds the most. Whitley Strieber is a master at creating heart-pounding scenarios! The language he uses makes the reader feel as if they are the one trying to beat the clock; the intensity is off the charts! Readers who love thrilling scenarios will find the last few chapters of Melody Burning fantastic.
While Melody Burning doesn’t quite meet the mark in terms of characters or believability, it is still ultimately enjoyable. Those looking for a memorable love story, though, should probably look elsewhere. Melody Burning is dramatic and thrilling, but it’s a bit quirky in terms of overall concept.