Exile by Kevin Emerson (Review)

Note: May contain some spoilers. 

I recently went on a road trip and on the way home I decided I wanted to stop at Barnes and Noble in a another state.

Sometimes I find other books in other states or they just have a better variety. (Only have one book store in my area and it is 40 minutes away and recently converted to mostly textbooks because its close to two colleges, even thought the colleges have their own bookstores.)

At first I picked up Eleanor and Park. I was unsure because the synopsis or cover just didn’t do anything for me. So I went downstairs to find more YA books. And that is where I made the best and worst decision of my life. Coming down the escalator I saw Exile by Kevin Emerson staring at me. I saw the duel connector in the shape of a heart and in the x what it looked like a rockstar with a guitar. I instantly knew it had something to do with music and was drawn in. I read the synopsis and knew that regardless of what the price was I had to purchase this book. I love reading but the one thing I love more than reading is Music. Music has surrounded my life since I could remember (Which is the age of 3). And In less than 4 short days, I was finished with the book.

I have so many emotions (even a day later after I have finished this book). Sadness for Val and Caleb. Anger towards Kellen, and Val. And so much more. I think mostly I was drawn to this book because of Catherine/Summer.

I relate to her on so many levels its ridiculous. She lost her first band to corporate/corrupt record labels. I love listening and interacting with “Indie” bands (Indie as in not well known. Isn’t signed, or is signed to a small label nobody has even heard about). Ex. Carly Rae Jepsen. I knew about Carly Rae since about 2008. She released a song called Sour Candy feat. Josh Ramsay (Lead singer of Marianas Trench. MY FAVORITE BAND! Seen them 11 times in concert, soon to be 12! Own all albums and yeah. Love them) and I instantly fell in love with her soulful voice and the way she could do an amazing duet. She was a folk singer back then and it suited her. She could write about anything and make it sounds amazing in a song. She then went back into the studio and worked again with Josh Ramsay (He’s kinda amazing. Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Comedian, Actor, and has blue hair!) and co-wrote a song that probably helped yet ruined her career. Call Me Maybe. The song I now HATE! It was released September 11, 2011. A year later Justin Bieber decided to go home to Canada (Can we just ban him from the U.S and Canada. Because he gives both bad names and he’s ruining some of my favorite artists.) and while on his trip was listening to the radio and heard her song. Then he signed her. Which was the BIGGEST Mistake of her life. She had very little following in the states (Other than states that bordered Canada because we get Canadian stations, or people who knew Marianas Trench and that they worked and toured with her and shared a label together). She now has lost most of her band and on her first headlining tour could not sell tickets. Also she did a FREE Toronto show recently and only 6 people (Other than promoters and club owners) showed up. Not exactly sure how her Broadway gig went but that a whole other story. With Summer she Lost Postcards and Made references that they weren’t selling tickets on some stops of their tour.

She also fell in love twice and dated two band guys. I can relate to this but not too much. I have yet to date a band guy (Still trying) but I recently met a band (On Halloween actually) and one of the members came up to me and introduced himself. We talked a bit but then he had to go set up. Since then I’ve kinda been obsessed with his band and may have some strong feelings for him. Whoops.

This book was a wirlwind of emotions, with the characters and surroundings. I loved the scene where Caleb and Summer finally go see Pluto (I agree, Pluto will always and forever be a planet in my eyes. #9PlanetsFOREVER!). It’s so romantic and no mater what those two are feeling they can always reconcile from whatever fight they had and fall in love with each other over and over again.

I mostly loved/disliked all the twists and turns. I disliked (More Hatred than dislike) them because when something happened my mind would always go towards a certain way (Ex. When Summer was finding Out information about Val. Was pretty positive Kellen was Val’s Dad and that she was secretly working with him to get Allegiance to North’s Eli White’s secret songs.). That Was NOT the case at all. Because of these twists and turns I probably threw this book across the room one too many times and wanted to punch walls after I finished the book.

Also I loved the little back story with Eli White. Misunderstood Rock Star who killed himself (Or may not have). It reminded me a lot about the tragic loss of Kurt Cobain. And now that they are re-opening his case there is a lot of  resemblances going on with that part of the story (And Yes I’m showing my age referencing Kurt Cobain. I was a baby when he passed but I grew up learning about his passing. And Yes I am positive Courtney Love Killed Him.).

After I finished the book, I contacted Kevin Emerson via Twitter to let him know I loved/hated his book and need the sequel soon. (This is the Harry Potter books all over again. Waiting for the next one!) After a little bit of Facebook stalking on his page and his website I found that Kevin Emerson created a band called Northern Allies and recorded three songs from the book.

On My Sleeve was absolutely perfect. It gave me chills while Listening. It’s exactly how I pictured the song. Perfect harmonies. Starting slow then speeding up a bit but keeping true to the song he wrote in the book. I fell in love with that song, the same way Summer did.

Catch Me is a great song. It shows who Val is. Although for the recording I was picturing a more Dominate Female voice. Someone who could get more angrier in their voice. I was picturing female Voices like Amy Lee (Evanescence), or Suzie McNeil (Canadian Artist). And I would like to hear a little more harmonies with “Caleb’s” voice too.

The Final Song Exile. The lyrics the composition is just perfect. I would like to see some more recordings of this though. (Three to be exact). The First being the version Eli White plays in the Tapes. Just basic. One Man singing and playing an acoustic guitar. The Second being Allegiance To North (Full band) recording it. (Even though in the book they never did. But it would be really cool to hear that version.) Then the final version being Dangerheart performing it. (Although I am not sure if they do or not because the other two books are not out yet! You’re killing me Kevin!)

But regardless of what I pictured or want, I have to give you MAJOR props Kevin Emerson. No author that I have read has wrote a book about music and then went on to create a band and record those songs you wrote about. (Except those books that ended up turning into a movie. Ex. If I Stay.) If you ever record the other songs (Songs by Android Necktie, Allegiance to North, The Rest of Dangerheart’s Songs, and Freak Show) I may or may not be broke from buying all the songs.

This book is Definitely a 5 Star Book for me. And I will recommend it to anybody who asks!  Congrats Kevin. You are Tops in my eyes!

And I will be blogging about Kevin Emerson and his Books and his band Northern Allies in the future, so keep an Eye out.

You can buy Exile at Amazon or Barnes and Noble (Or any bookstore.). And you can purchase the soundtrack Here: http://exilesoundtrack.bandcamp.com/

~AshleyxArsenic

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