Novella Review: Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Tor.com (February 5, 2019)
Length: 127 pages
Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You ended up being as quirky and wild as its title suggests, and quite honestly, it’s rare for a book to be this weird but for me to still like it so much. While you could technically classify it as science fiction with a light sprinkling of cosmic horror, at the end of the day, I believe this strange and slightly freaky novella is simply too unique to be pigeonholed into any one category.
I also have a feeling it would work best if the reader knows as little about the plot going in, but I will say that music—especially the passion and critique for it—is the central theme. The story is told from the perspective of a small-time music blogger who one day stumbles across a mysterious track on Bandcamp uploaded by a new artist he’s never heard of before. From the moment the powerful song hit his ears, however, he knew that Beautiful Remorse would be the next big thing. Fronted by its enigmatic singer, Airee MacPherson, the band promises to release a new song every day for the next ten days, much to the delight of its legions of new fans who listened to the first track and couldn’t get enough. There was just something about the song that was so potently addictive and irresistible, almost transcendent.
Before long, our music blogger gives in to curiosity and reaches out to Airee MacPherson, managing to score an interview and a chance to go on tour with Beautiful Remorse. At first, it’s like a dream come true—that is, until he shows up at their first concert and realizes something is seriously wrong with the whole picture. To say that Airee is nothing like he expected is an understatement, but by the time her true intentions are revealed, it is too late for our hapless protagonist to walk away.
Let me just start by saying that the insanity of this book is a feature, and not a bug. As such, it probably won’t be for everyone, but I genuinely enjoyed every moment of the story and it’s one you should check out if you’re looking for something a little different and offbeat. Clocking in at about 120 pages, this novella was also a quick read and well worth the hour or so it took me to read it. Considering how poorly I usually fare when it comes short fiction, or weird books like this for that matter, it surprised me how riveted I was from start to finish.
I’m sure one thing that helped was the main character’s voice. He’s a music nerd, and as such, his attitude was at once endearing and slightly annoying in the way only someone who is a nerd of anything can be. The author certainly captured the nature of fandom and obsession very well, right down to the zealous online communities to the clamor to be first to discover new things and coin new terms. The writing style was so distinctive and full of wit and personality that I could not help but be sucked in right away.
And yes, this was funny. I laughed a lot, though not always for the expected reasons. There were times where we got legitimate moments of chuckle-worthy humor, while at others, I found myself busting a gut at just the sheer absurdity of it all. In any case, you can’t accuse this book of being boring. Bizarre, yes, and even violently dark in places, but there is definitely no room for any downtime or lulls here. Readers are thrown into the thick of it from the get-go, and this fervent energy continues all the way through with no way to predict how anything will play out.
I wish I could say more, but Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You is really one of those books you have to experience for yourself. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this one, and if you enjoy fast-paced eccentric stories and don’t mind a slight horror bent with lots of WTFery thrown in, I hope that you will too.