Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Book Review: "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" by Dawnie Walton

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, Dawnie Walton's upcoming debut novel, is a sweeping and thought-provoking look at the meteoric rise and fall of a 1970s-era music duo.

First things first: this book is written in the same style as Daisy Jones & The Six, in that it uses interview-type responses to tell the story rather than narrative. It’s an interesting choice and I’ll admit at first I felt it was a little too copycat for me, but ultimately it worked for the story.

It was the most unlikely pairing: Neville, the gawky, earnest English musician, and Opal, the blunt, brash, young Black woman from Detroit. But somehow the meshing of their styles, particularly as Opal grows more comfortable with her voice and her presence on stage.

It’s the early 1970s, and racism is everywhere. And one night during a performance, the racially charged atmosphere leads to violence, and an act that forever changes the duo and the lives of those around them.

Flash forward to 2016, and rumors are flying that Opal and Nev might reunite for a tour. Music journalist S. Sunny Shelton, who has a connection to the duo’s early days, begins an oral history of them. But as she talks to those who were involved, she finds out there are secrets that have been kept hidden for decades, secrets which could jeopardize everything.

I definitely found The Final Revival of Opal & Nev to be a fascinating read, and while it had the usual elements of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, there was more to this book than that. I was surprised by the level of suspense in the book as well as how the book was an examination of how music and social issues are so intertwined. Walton really did a great job with this.

Again, as I felt when reading Daisy Jones, reading about songs and music is always missing something when you can’t hear them, so I hope that perhaps they’ll make an adaptation of this book, too. It’s definitely a compelling story!

NetGalley and Simon & Schuster provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!!

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev publishes March 30.

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