Exile by Kevin Emerson



It’s the start of a new school year at the PopArts Academy. And a new school year means that there’s a new crop of bands sprouting up. Since CandyShell Records stole aspiring band manager Summer Carlson’s previous band right out from underneath her, she’s on the hunt for some new talent. Even though there are many talented bands at the PopArts Academy, none of them feel like the right fit for Summer.

Until she meets Caleb Daniels.

Caleb is the kind of musician that every band wants. He’s the kind of performer that, not only possesses star quality, but also can make every fan fall head over heels. Caleb is the kind of rare and raw talent that every manager  would love to make famous. Too bad Caleb is don’t with bands. Since being kicked out of his own the previous summer, it seems as if he’s given up on music as a whole.

Until he meets Summer Carlson.

Together they put together Dangerheart – a band that is based upon a mutual love and respect for music and pure, unadulterated rock and roll. But when Caleb’s personal issues interfere, they not only threaten to break up Caleb and Summer, but they also threaten to disband Dangerheart, a band that is facing it’s end before even having a chance to start.

Exile, written by author Kevin Emerson, is the first book in the Exile Trilogy. A little bit of rock and roll and little bit mystery, this contemporary read has a little something for everyone.

As a music fan, I naturally gravitated towards this books. To say I loved the music aspect would be an understatement. Author Emerson, truly captures the essence of rock’n’roll.  What I loved most about it was that Emerson was able to capture both the creative and business side of the music industry. Beyond that readers get to see the raw, ugly side of a lifestyle that is too often glamorized.

Emerson’s writing is pitch perfect. It’s strong and descriptive, immediately engaging the reader. Reader’s can’t help being pulled into this story, seeing it through to the end, and impatiently anticipating it’s followups. Besides these facets, Emerson creates a seamless push and pull throughout the story. This push and pull creates, not only tension, but balance.

Like mentioned before there is a little something for every reader. You like romance, it’s there. Though admittedly it felt a bit too unrealistic for my liking.  You like mystery, it’s there too. When Caleb finds out his long lost father is actually the now dead frontman of a very famous band, Caleb is on a mission to find out what really happened to his dad and the three songs he supposedly took to the grave with him. And if you like a straight up contemporary read, this is your book. Exile is a book that readers will easily devour and easily relate to.

There was a lot to like about this book.  The plot line was unique and as strong as the writing.  The pacing kept readers engaged and wanting more.  Even though I (mostly) enjoyed this book there was one aspect that brought it down for me personally. The characters.

Main character Summer came off as a bit too wishy-washy. Summer lived two different lives.  At home she was Catherine, the girl who played by the rules, made perfect grades, and was considering studying law in the future. At school she was Summer, band manager extraordinaire who thrived on music and boys in bands. Because of this I felt like I couldn’t get to know the real Summer, and ultimately I couldn’t connect with her.

Summer also came off as a bit abrasive. She didn’t seem to have a sensitive or understanding side – she simply just managed – saying and doing things she felt was for the best of the band when really it was simply best for her.

Caleb also wasn’t a favorite character for me. Though he was most definitely swoon worthy, he was too passive – he would think instead of actually doing. And in high pressure situations he copped out rather than deal.

But because this is book one in a trilogy, I’m going to cut them both some slack as I’m hoping that within the next two books they both grow as characters – Summer getting a bit more softer, and Caleb taking the lead.