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The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

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A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom. Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 jo A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom. Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything. Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.


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A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom. Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 jo A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom. Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything. Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

30 review for The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I loved Daisy Jones and the Six - it’s oral history format just really worked for me. So, I was anxious to see what Walton would do with it. Well let me tell you, she moves it up a notch. This is so much more than the story of a musical duo. It’s the story of our times. The writing is something special. “That’s what the South was like for me. Sweet on the first taste, but something gone sour underneath. It’ll try to trick you, now - the sugar berries and the quiet and those lovely spread out hou I loved Daisy Jones and the Six - it’s oral history format just really worked for me. So, I was anxious to see what Walton would do with it. Well let me tell you, she moves it up a notch. This is so much more than the story of a musical duo. It’s the story of our times. The writing is something special. “That’s what the South was like for me. Sweet on the first taste, but something gone sour underneath. It’ll try to trick you, now - the sugar berries and the quiet and those lovely spread out houses. But after that day with Auntie Rose, I could smell the rotten, too.” Walton totally nails the time and the place. She intersperses just enough of what was happening in the real world to anchor the story. But beyond that, I felt like I was in the recording studio, the initial concert and at the reunion. Opal and Nev are both fully fleshed out, with all the strengths and faults. I loved watching how their different decisions led to how their careers and lives played out. And let me just say, I wasn’t expecting this to be suspenseful, but boy, was it. As the story progresses, I couldn’t wait to see how it would play out. The story rings true. By taking us through the years, we see how little progress we’ve made. It makes a great point about white privilege. Put this one on your radar. I’m convinced it’ll be one of the hits of 2021. My thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster for an advance copy of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Who doesn’t like to dive into an oral-history fiction after the blooming popularity of Daisy Jones and the Six! The storytelling style with interviews, the nerve breaking rising of a band and catastrophic tragic events sealed its members’ faiths! I’m sold with this concept! It’s not realistic to compare this novel with Daisy Jones and Six even though both of them related with the relationship dynamics of band members and forbidden love story. This book’s main focus in questioning inequality, ra Who doesn’t like to dive into an oral-history fiction after the blooming popularity of Daisy Jones and the Six! The storytelling style with interviews, the nerve breaking rising of a band and catastrophic tragic events sealed its members’ faiths! I’m sold with this concept! It’s not realistic to compare this novel with Daisy Jones and Six even though both of them related with the relationship dynamics of band members and forbidden love story. This book’s main focus in questioning inequality, racism with rebellious, liberating tone! The music they make is the product of their inner resentment, anger, revolutionary thoughts, fears and the songs they create were honest reflection of their turmoils, conflict emotions. At the beginning, we’re introduced to S. Sunny Curtis, powerful journalist via her editor notes who hears a rumor about Opal and Nev’s getting together for a reunion concert on 2017 and we observe how her path crossed with Opal in her mid sixties at the hall. She defines Opal as Nev Charles’ one time partner in stage, ebony skinned provocateur, fashion rebel, singer/ screecher/ Afro-Punk ancestor , the unapologetically Black Feminist resurrected via GIFs and Instagram Quotes for intense political times: also her father’s crazy ex-girlfriend. Her father was Jimmy Curtis-drummer of Nev and Opal’s band who has been killed at the concert by a group of racists beat him to death. Sunny wants to write a book about the musical legacy of the band and surprisingly Opal accepts this offer. Sunny has conflict feelings about Opal going back and forth between adoration and grudge. She knows Opal financially supported her to get better education, pursuing her dream to be a journalist but she also resents her because of her father’s murder. The story is told from different POVs but it’s mainly centered on Opal, Opal’s two years younger half sister Pearl and Sunny. Their stories are intercepted for a heart wrenching, powerful resolution. From the beginning, Opal and Pearl’s childhood story, their moving to the south, their yearning for fathers’ loves, ( Opal has no memory about her father and Pearl’s father has also died at the war in Korea.) their pure joy to sing at the church choir, their happiness when they have new clothes. I felt like I could foresee where the story was going easily but with a shocking twist, the story went into another direction I would never ever see it coming, kept reading with dropped jaw. And the ending was truly magnificent, earned my extra points and adoration for this brilliant book! In first three months of the year, I’ve already read so many unique, original, stimulating, powerful, thought provoking, epic debuts and I’m finally announcing this book is one of them which I strongly recommend to the genre lovers! I’m rounding up my 4.5 stars to 5 provocative, unconventional, surprising, liberating, moving, emotional stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Rock-Duo Opal and Nev are the most unlikely of partners who could not be more different. With such a range of personalities, background, culture, race, image and behaviours, they provide such a fascinating contrast in an industry that is always seeking the new outrageous star. The development of their journey from their family background to music industry fame is fascinating, and it does require a double-take to realise that this is a purely fictional story. Delivered in an epistolary format, the Rock-Duo Opal and Nev are the most unlikely of partners who could not be more different. With such a range of personalities, background, culture, race, image and behaviours, they provide such a fascinating contrast in an industry that is always seeking the new outrageous star. The development of their journey from their family background to music industry fame is fascinating, and it does require a double-take to realise that this is a purely fictional story. Delivered in an epistolary format, the structure works brilliantly in delivering a documentary-style narrative where the sense of information flowing from the most appropriate observer keeps us enthralled. Neville Charles (Nev) is a very creative songwriter musician from England and manages to impress New York City based, Rivington Records, to sign him and work to promote his unique musical style. While the record label backs him they also feel there is something missing and they embark on a quest to find the missing piece – a perfect duo fit for Nev. One night in Detroit they hear Opal Robinson and her sister Pearl, sing in a bar and Nev knows instantly that Opal is the one. While not as beautiful as her sister or as good a singer as her sister, Opal has that je ne sais quoi, that enigmatic something that is riveting, and Nev knows he has found his partner. Nev is white, ginger-haired and very reserved, Opal is black, bald, and fiercely flamboyant - yet they work. Dawnie Walton shows great craft in building her characters, especially considering the format of the novel. Opal and Nev are fascinating characters, well developed and intriguing. They have a strong belief in themselves but also show their uncertainty and the precarious nature of the industry. The introduction of the rock and roll lifestyle also has its impact, particularly on Opal who isn't one to hold back. A defining moment happens when the band’s black drummer Jimmy Curtis is killed in a racially motivated attack at a concert and it brings the band to an end. With the talk that Opal and Nev are planning a reunion concert forty years later, the newly appointed editor of Aural Magazine, S. Sunny Shelton/Curtis, wants to cover their story. In a juicy twist, Sunny is the daughter of Jimmy Curtis, a father she never met but who was having an affair with Opal at the time of his death. With Sunny as the novel’s facilitator, this is essentially a story within a story and her editor's notes add a great element to the book. Amongst other things, this is a powerful story about racism and sexism, and a contemporary look at the societal injustices that glaringly pervade our lives. Walton has written a very intelligent story at various levels, from an entertaining glimpse of rock and roll that excites many fans, to an acute social commentary on the issues facing our world today. There are often disconnect issues with the episodic style and I felt that happened here which also slowed the story at times, but that said, this is a wonderful read and hugely impressive as a debut novel. I would recommend this book and I have Michael David to thank for pointing me in the right direction. I would also like to thank Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy in return for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    First, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Is this written in the oral history format like Daisy Jones & The Six? Yes. Does it have sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? Yes. Will it take you back in time like Daisy Jones & The Six? Yes. Is this the same story as Daisy Jones & The Six? Nope. It is not. Opal is nothing like Daisy, and as much as I loved Daisy Jones, I will say I loved this one even more. The book starts in 2016, when S. Sunny Shelton is the editor in chief of Aural Magazine. She is w First, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Is this written in the oral history format like Daisy Jones & The Six? Yes. Does it have sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? Yes. Will it take you back in time like Daisy Jones & The Six? Yes. Is this the same story as Daisy Jones & The Six? Nope. It is not. Opal is nothing like Daisy, and as much as I loved Daisy Jones, I will say I loved this one even more. The book starts in 2016, when S. Sunny Shelton is the editor in chief of Aural Magazine. She is writing a book about Opal Jewel and Nev Charles. She plans to interview them and all of those around them. But who are Opal and Nev? In the 1970’s, Nev, a white Brit, comes to New York to try his hand at becoming a successful singer. He’s looking for a yin to his yang, and happens to find Opal, a Black American woman, on amateur night at a bar in Detroit. Opal is fierce. She’s not classically beautiful and is not the best singer in the world...and yet, she has star quality and the ability to enhance rock music with her powerful voice. Opal agrees to record an album with Nev, and they sign a deal with Rivington Records. Although their first album doesn’t set the world ablaze, they have high hopes for their future. Things come to a head when the record company signs a new band that proudly displays Confederate flags and has a crude following. A promotional event leads to a chaotic, dangerous, and fatal situation that literally had my blood boiling. Even so, that event put Opal and Nev in the news, and things were never the same for them. So why is Sunny writing about them? They are in talks to reunite for a special concert. In addition to that, her own father was the man who was killed at their promotional event in the 70’s. On top of that, he was having an affair with Opal while his wife was pregnant with Sunny. This is a story that is rich in atmosphere, has fully dimensional characters with faults, and masterfully weaves in real events to add to the authenticity of the time periods of past. I couldn’t get enough. I had to stop reading at one point and let my mind adjust to a shocking revelation. I cared about the characters, felt their wounds, hurt when they hurt, and felt uplifted when they experienced joy. Mark my words: Author Dawnie Walton is going to be a star! While this is her first book, her talent is outstanding. She has tons of experience under her belt, and I will eagerly follow her writing career and grab her next novel as soon as possible. Opal and Nev felt so real and authentic. If they had been, I would’ve spent the next few days diving into their Wikipedia page(s) and digging out old interviews and footage on YouTube. The novel doesn’t shy away from tough topics, and Walton doesn’t mince words. It’s a true gem and reflection of the 70’s era (good and bad) and our current era (good and bad). I have no doubt that this will be on my top of 2021 list. Do yourselves a favor: Grab a copy when this is published on 3/30/21. Thank you to Simon & Schuster/37 Ink and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster/37 Ink, and Dawnie Walton for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 3.30.21!** Opal Jewel is a rare gem, with a cut, clarity, and color all her own. Growing up as a relative unknown in Detroit alongside sister Pearl, she gets an opportunity for a big break when her golden pipes get her noticed at a tiny club. Enter Nev, gangly British red-headed rocker with a punk edge who is looking for just the right unique and soulful voice to complement his tune **Many thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster/37 Ink, and Dawnie Walton for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 3.30.21!** Opal Jewel is a rare gem, with a cut, clarity, and color all her own. Growing up as a relative unknown in Detroit alongside sister Pearl, she gets an opportunity for a big break when her golden pipes get her noticed at a tiny club. Enter Nev, gangly British red-headed rocker with a punk edge who is looking for just the right unique and soulful voice to complement his tunes (a Merry Clayton for his "Gimme Shelter") and Opal's distinctive look and even more distinctive sound seem the perfect fit. As the duo's popularity rises, so do the stakes, and at a fateful concert one night, another band on the label, good ol' boys with lots of radio airplay, has the audacity to brandish the Confederate Flag unashamedly during the showcase. This situation ultimately sparks violence that results in the death of drummer Jimmy, who has a special connection to Opal, and the band never fully recovers from this chaos. Jimmy's daughter Sunny is left to pick up the pieces and as the new editor of Aural, sets out to peel back the layers of the magic that was Opal and Nev, and to document their ascent and descent through an all-encompassing and no-holds-barred oral history of the rock 'n roll duo. What she discovers, however, could be crushing for the upcoming reunion tour Opal and Nev have planned and calls to question the glue that held these two together---not to mention what ACTUALLY happened during that fateful concert, so many years ago. Was this dynasty built on nothing more than a dream? Is this music still even relevant in today's vastly different world...or does a broken nation need it more desperately than ever? Walton has created quite a world in Opal and Nev, and the beauty of this book lies in its characterization and the development of so many personalities. In an oral history, voices need to be distinct, clear, and to shine, and Walton's characters do just that. She masterfully weaves in traces of pop culture to ground this alternate reality in our actual reality, with mentions of everyone from Janelle Monae to Parliament Funkadelic, to give Opal a place among the rock royalty we know and love. Opal's friend Virgil is a particular highlight, a fierce and fabulous fashion designer who has a personality big enough for his own book! Certain portions of the novel, particularly, had me lost in the world Walton designed and removed from reality entirely. Another giant piece of the puzzle here is Walton's commentary on white supremacy and race relations, central obviously not only to Opal's own tale, but to the cultural climate of 2021. Her commentary is fairly straightforward but helps to connect the lines between the fires first stoked so many years ago that unfortunately still roar in today's world, and I always appreciate the brutal honesty about the ugliness we still need to fight as a world, as hard as it might be to read. On the other hand, where this novel faltered for me was pacing. The 3 parts of this book didn't feel particularly balanced, and I would go through long sections that I felt could have been much shorter and yet other portions I wish had been more detailed. Jimmy as a character felt unexplored to me and I believe he could have had a more dominant role in the narrative if Walton had examined his character on a deeper level, even if only through the eyes of other narrators. He was such an important component to the story and yet still felt at times like a background character, so that was an odd juxtaposition for me as a reader. I also struggled at times with the plot: this has nothing to do with Walton's ability as a writer and is solely based on the events of the plot itself. I would find myself growing irritated or bored with the choices some characters made at times and had a hard time reconciling that frustration. While there were some kinks that worked themselves out by the end, I just wanted more for our protagonists, especially Opal. This is the flip side of the fantastic characterization she developed throughout the book: when you grow to really care about characters, you want them to have the world on a string! The Final Revival of Opal and Nev is a strong debut novel by an incredibly gifted writer who undoubtedly has a bright future, full of fascinating stories to tell. I am sure Walton saw some of Opal in herself, and I look forward to watching her similarly meteoric rise to the top: may she rock on and prosper! 4 ⭐, rounded up from 3.5

  6. 4 out of 5

    mina reads™️

    AN AFROPUNK ROCK N ROLL DUO IN THE SEVENTIES??? YES YES YESSSSSS

  7. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    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 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. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    I had really high hopes for this book. Daisy Jones & The Six was one of my favorite experiences of 2019, and I was hoping for something similar when I picked up this book. While The Final Revival of Opal & Nev was definitely an interesting story, it didn’t scratch the same itch. It was less about the music than the trappings thereof. The descriptions of Opal’s look were intriguing and easy to visualize, and the politics attached to the music are unequivocally important. However, I was here for t I had really high hopes for this book. Daisy Jones & The Six was one of my favorite experiences of 2019, and I was hoping for something similar when I picked up this book. While The Final Revival of Opal & Nev was definitely an interesting story, it didn’t scratch the same itch. It was less about the music than the trappings thereof. The descriptions of Opal’s look were intriguing and easy to visualize, and the politics attached to the music are unequivocally important. However, I was here for the music, and I must confess that I was disappointed with how much of it I received. The book was incredibly well written, and did indeed transport me to another time and place, but it felt as if the musical story was used merely as a vehicle for getting a message across, instead of being allowed to develop and stand on its own. This is definitely a book worth reading. Just don’t make the same mistake with your expectations as I did; know what you’re getting before you crack this one open.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Walton's "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" takes the tact of telling the story through a series of rock journalist interviews with a former musical duo who had a brief claim to fame as a duo and their promoters, managers, and family members. Opal & Nev were an Afro-Punk seventies duo combining the work of Nev, a British singer-songwriter from Birmingham, England, with a skinny bald militant African-American woman out of Detroit. What Walton does do well here is makes fiction seem like journalism Walton's "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" takes the tact of telling the story through a series of rock journalist interviews with a former musical duo who had a brief claim to fame as a duo and their promoters, managers, and family members. Opal & Nev were an Afro-Punk seventies duo combining the work of Nev, a British singer-songwriter from Birmingham, England, with a skinny bald militant African-American woman out of Detroit. What Walton does do well here is makes fiction seem like journalism. It's so real that perhaps at some point you'll find yourself checking Wikipedia to see if this duo ever existed with Nev going on to solo success and Opal fading into cult obscurity until the big reunion concert decades later. The journalistic interviews curiously are done by the daughter of a fictional drummer of the outfit who Opal had a loud proud affair with, Jimmy, and who we later find died tragically in a riot. This gives the interviews a personal vested interest. The techniques used here worked best at through the first third of the book, particularly as we are introduced to the childhoods of the main characters and, once again, they feel so real, so authentic, that it doesn't feel like fiction. You hear how innocent and vulnerable Opal is when she comes to New York to make her debut. The climax of the book is a concert that became a sort of Altamont II with its own band of Hell's Angels type bikers causing untold havoc and death. The author manages to shoehorn in a controversy about the confederate flag as the cause of the riot, showing to an extent how one side (Opal) found it completely offensive for what the Confederacy stood for and the other saw it a symbol of rebelliousness like the General Lee car in Dukes of Hazard without regard for its deeper history. Of course, neither side can hear each other. Although the final third of the book drags a bit, particularly when compared to the beginning of the book, that is often do with real life stories as the most exciting parts are often about the rise to stardom.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    4.5 Stars Shared from multiple perspectives, this story centers around a young Black woman named Opal Jewel and the people in her life over time. A Once-Upon-A-Time story of a young, talented, daring Black woman with a promising future in the 1970’s who joins British Neville Charles and his band, their meteoric rise to fame, a fame that ended almost as quickly as it began. One of those groups that rises meteorically, but dissolves unexpectedly, virtually overnight. A catastrophic episode at a con 4.5 Stars Shared from multiple perspectives, this story centers around a young Black woman named Opal Jewel and the people in her life over time. A Once-Upon-A-Time story of a young, talented, daring Black woman with a promising future in the 1970’s who joins British Neville Charles and his band, their meteoric rise to fame, a fame that ended almost as quickly as it began. One of those groups that rises meteorically, but dissolves unexpectedly, virtually overnight. A catastrophic episode at a concert ends in the death of their drummer, Jimmy Curtis, at the hands of a group of racists that attended to see the band that was set to close the night in 1971. The controversy that follows that night makes them untouchable and they go their separate ways. Years later, magazine editor S. Sunny Curtis, daughter of drummer Jimmy Curtis, hears a rumour about the possibility that Nev and Sunny plan to get together to perform for a 2017 reunion concert. Shared from the perspectives of Opal, and her half-sister born two years after Opal, Pearl, as well as Sunny, their stories eventually merge into one story with a uniquely epic ending. Opal’s father, an older man, died before she was old enough to have any memories of him, and Pearl’s father was killed during the war in Korea. Near the beginning of this story, Opal shares their story of their love of singing in the church choir, a love that obviously led to more, their Pastor referring to Opal as a ’tiny wisp of a thing, real chocolate-skinned and swaying side to side… Little Miss Showboat. That was Opal. That is Opal.’ Sunny is working on writing a book about her father’s story, and the story of Opal and Nev’s partnership, the band, and the ultimate unfolding of the horrifying event that took her father’s life, adding another perspective. There is much more to this story than the concert, and this does have some elements that on the surface are similar to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, but while there is that shared element of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll at play, as well as it being shared from varying perspectives, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev tackles the more sinister topic of racism, so while they shared certain themes, this isn’t quite as lightly entertaining, although it is thoroughly engaging - if horrifyingly relevant. This story will undoubtedly stay with me longer. Pub Date: 30 Mar 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Simon & Schuster #TheFinalRevivalofOpalNev #NetGalley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    My favourite decade - the 70’s. Bell bottoms, disco, hippies, drugs ...and rock and roll, Baby. This is a unique biographical fictional account -Also being dubbed an oral history, of the brief claim to fame this duo had and a chance, decades later, for a reunion. In New York City, a showcase concert is about to take place. Opal & Nev have released an album but it’s not getting any attention. The event is arranged with The Bond Boys (red neck hoodlums) being the headline. But some shit goes down invo My favourite decade - the 70’s. Bell bottoms, disco, hippies, drugs ...and rock and roll, Baby. This is a unique biographical fictional account -Also being dubbed an oral history, of the brief claim to fame this duo had and a chance, decades later, for a reunion. In New York City, a showcase concert is about to take place. Opal & Nev have released an album but it’s not getting any attention. The event is arranged with The Bond Boys (red neck hoodlums) being the headline. But some shit goes down involving a confederate flag and I give zero fucks black singer, Opal, is not about to let them hang out their racial laundry. In a swift turn of events, chaos ensues and the drummer, Jimmy, is murdered protecting her. This was a jolting read. Written by Jimmy’s daughter, Walton. She Interviewed Nev, Opal and some other key players. But Opal, what a woman. An activist in the most powerful sense; a rebel in many others. But unique and original and not afraid to stand up for her rights. What’s the most disturbing is the deep racial tensions that still exist today. The injustice that remains. 4⭐️

  12. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    "Isn't that the kind of story we should aim to be telling - how it is that this rock-and-roll music could reach a sheltered Black girl like me, and make her feel not just seen and heard but empowered?." I wanted to love this - I did. For anyone who loved similar stories told in a long magazine type interview way - or ones that are looking for a story with substance and backstory and are relevant now, then you'll probably love this. I just wasn't a fan of the style of writing. It feels disconnected "Isn't that the kind of story we should aim to be telling - how it is that this rock-and-roll music could reach a sheltered Black girl like me, and make her feel not just seen and heard but empowered?." I wanted to love this - I did. For anyone who loved similar stories told in a long magazine type interview way - or ones that are looking for a story with substance and backstory and are relevant now, then you'll probably love this. I just wasn't a fan of the style of writing. It feels disconnected and I didn't like the huge author notes. I still think a novel type telling, especially with the daughter's POV, would have been much more compelling and I would have felt her shock and anger as she learned the secrets she searched for. I did like the peak into 1970's music scene and I did find many parts funny. An e-ARC was provided to me by the author and publishing via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    A real marvel of a debut. If DAISY JONES introduced readers to the oral history concept as something that could work in fiction, Walton takes it to a whole new level. Books about fictional bands and celebrities always have some hurdles to overcome. Especially if they are in an oral history or journalistic style, where the reader is always encountering things like "ah yes this important iconic moment that you also remember" about fictional events. There is some of that here, especially around one A real marvel of a debut. If DAISY JONES introduced readers to the oral history concept as something that could work in fiction, Walton takes it to a whole new level. Books about fictional bands and celebrities always have some hurdles to overcome. Especially if they are in an oral history or journalistic style, where the reader is always encountering things like "ah yes this important iconic moment that you also remember" about fictional events. There is some of that here, especially around one photograph, but as you read Walton gives you all the context and story around that moment in the photograph so that by the end, the reader is just as invested in it as if it were a real photo they'd seen. The reason this works so well is, ironically, one of the reasons DAISY JONES came up short: the story behind the oral history. Yes, it starts a little gimmicky, again. Our editor is S. Sunny Shelton, newly promoted to run a storied music magazine, the first Black woman to hold the position, so she has the credentials. But she is also, as she tells us from the very beginning, the daughter of Jimmy Curtis, a studio musician who worked with the titular group, and who died in a riot at one of their shows. This is all we really get, to start, and it makes that device of assuming the reader has knowledge of an event really work, because for us who don't live in this fictional universe it is a beautiful slow reveal that we reach around halfway through the book that goes into an almost minute-by-minute breakdown of the storied riot. There are times when the reader is frustrated with Shelton, and times when the way she's telling the story feel strange, but Walton makes it all come together, including just enough of Shelton's story to have us invested in her putting together the book just as we are in Opal's story. By the end of the book, every weakness of the oral history has been turned into a strength. It's truly impressive. The other thing that's so notable here, especially when you consider the way we write about music and musicians, is that it is a story of a duo, a white British man and a Black American woman, where the story is *not* dominated by the man. Even though it's clear from the beginning that he is the bigger star, someone like a Rod Stewart, who left a more raw 70's sound for massive success in the 80's and beyond. It is not his story and his version of events is only a small part of it. (For reasons that become clear.) But that is part of the joy of it. Instead of doing the usual, and looking at the story of Opal and Nev as a short-lived phase that led to a larger career, we focus instead on the lesser-told stories here. Of Shelton, of Curtis, of Virgil, Opal's friend and stylist, and of Opal herself. And as our editor and sometimes narrator is herself a Black woman, and because many of the subjects interviewed are telling their story to her and know that she is personally invested in it, we get a candidness and authenticity here about all kinds of subjects, but particularly about race, that is often missing from music journalism, a heavily white male field. It feels corrective, opening up to show us what we could be talking about. It's not surprising to see that Walton herself has worked in entertainment journalism, she gets to say a lot about it here. The music itself always feels somewhat out of reach, it wasn't until nearly the end of the book that I had a good idea of what their sound actually was. But the lyrics interspersed throughout and the stories of the people themselves do a lot to make up for it. I'm still not 100% convinced that a duo with only two albums in the mid-70's would leave such a legacy and have younger audiences bringing back interest in them, but once the book showed me what it could really do, I stopped worrying about it and just enjoyed myself. It does take a bit for this one to get really moving, to show you what it is really trying to do. Let yourself have a little time with it. I didn't mind the stage setting, it was easy to let Walton sweep me through the story, but it really picks up in the middle and the chapters around the riot are particularly impressive. We've breezed through years in a chapter but all of a sudden it'll take us several chapters to get through just a couple of hours, she keeps you riveted through it all, too. One of those few perfect books we get every so often that should appeal and satisfy readers looking for something literary and impressively constructed, and readers who just want something interesting and fun to speed through. Walton is one to watch.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    I have just finished reading The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Author Dawnie Walton This is a journey of two rock artists that come together in the 1970’s in New York City. Opal who is a colourful personality from Detroit, and British songwriter/ singer Neville Charles. This was fun and entertaining, covering off their ups and downs along the way through the years, as well as all of the political tones that were happening during that time. I did enjoy this book however I started losing some intere I have just finished reading The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Author Dawnie Walton This is a journey of two rock artists that come together in the 1970’s in New York City. Opal who is a colourful personality from Detroit, and British songwriter/ singer Neville Charles. This was fun and entertaining, covering off their ups and downs along the way through the years, as well as all of the political tones that were happening during that time. I did enjoy this book however I started losing some interest about 2/3 of the way through, when I felt the story was becoming a bit strained. Thank You to NetGalley, Author Dawnie Walton and Simon & Schuster Canada for my advanced copy to read and review #NetGalley

  15. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    It’s 2016 and Sunny Shelton, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief of music magazine, Aural, is writing about the story of Opal Jewel and Nev Charles. She has exclusive information that the duo will be making a historic reunion at an upcoming music festival with renewed interest in the former musical sensation all but guaranteed. Sunny’s writing takes us back to the early 1970s when Nev, relocated to New York City from his native England, is trying to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter It’s 2016 and Sunny Shelton, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief of music magazine, Aural, is writing about the story of Opal Jewel and Nev Charles. She has exclusive information that the duo will be making a historic reunion at an upcoming music festival with renewed interest in the former musical sensation all but guaranteed. Sunny’s writing takes us back to the early 1970s when Nev, relocated to New York City from his native England, is trying to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. His record company feels that he needs a female voice to accompany him. He discovers his soon-to-be partner’s powerful singing at a bar during amateur night. Opal, a Black singer, turns out to be the perfect match for the pale white, red-headed Nev. While not the best singer he has ever heard, Opal makes up for it with her star-making presence. The duo starts getting some notice. Opal hits the NYC scene also gaining attention for her style and attitude. Their record company signs a southern rock band which proudly waves a Confederate flag during their performances. When Rivington Records schedules a publicity showcase concert for its musicians, Opal will not stand for the presence of the competing band’s racist flag. What occurs during the event changes everyone's lives forever. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is written as an oral history, which is highly effective in telling this unforgettable story. While the format makes the comparison to Daisy Jones & The Six inevitable, make no mistake - this book is very different. I loved Daisy Jones so if a comparison gets more people to notice Dawnie Walton’s impressive debut, that’s a good thing. Her rich and bold tale aptly presents the music and grittiness of 1970s NYC providing a backdrop for social issues - race relations, feminism and more. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster / 37 Ink for the opportunity to read an advance of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, a fictional story that feels very real. I expect many will be singing this book’s praises when it is released on March 30, 2021. Rated 4.5 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mina

    First of all, I'd just like to say that I'd written an entire review then I lost connection and it got lost so sjdhfkfus2d!! Daammit!!!!! Woosaah! Rant OVER! Take II ** Blessed be but Opal Jewel is my Spirit Animal!! Opinionated AF ✔ Fashion Killah ✔ Daring ✔ Confident Boss Bitch ✔✔✔ My grandma always has a quote for me handy every time I go whining to her when the world (read grad school) is kicking my ass ''Believe and it shall BE!" She's all the waaaay in Kenya & I miss her so much but she's always r First of all, I'd just like to say that I'd written an entire review then I lost connection and it got lost so sjdhfkfus2d!! Daammit!!!!! Woosaah! Rant OVER! Take II ** Blessed be but Opal Jewel is my Spirit Animal!! Opinionated AF ✔ Fashion Killah ✔ Daring ✔ Confident Boss Bitch ✔✔✔ My grandma always has a quote for me handy every time I go whining to her when the world (read grad school) is kicking my ass ''Believe and it shall BE!" She's all the waaaay in Kenya & I miss her so much but she's always right. Opal came into the scene and she knew that she was going to be something special. Afro Punk RocknRoll Queen! She dared to not only take up space she ensured that she would be seared into peoples memories for all eternity. At such turbulent times when racism was everywhere, when white people did so little to hide their aggressions against us. Opals strength and confidence was positively inspiring. However, I'll be fair by saying that I also think that Opal was quite flawed as well. At times, she could come across as bullish and overly stubborn as shown by how Jimmy and Sister Pearl would get short and frustrated with her multiple times. That's what made me love her even more though, she was multifaceted and human though. The incident that led up to the death of Jimmy's death just goes to show how close to nothing has changed in America since 1970 and 2021. Some might say its just fiction, but is it really? Dawnie Walton has done such an amazing job creating an amazing multifaceted heroine with the perfect balance. I related to this fictional world with reference of wash days and twist outs with the Blue Magic and Hot Combs lol. I laughed out loud on some parts and bawled my eyes out on the most important scene. Viva Ms Walton, Great Debut!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Britt's Book Blurbs

    Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. I haven't read anything with a narrative presented in this way before, a story told through interviews and first-person notes from the 'author' (everyone is comparing this to Daisy Jones & The Six which is still sitting in my TBR pile). Because of this, it took me a few chapters to relax into the narrative, I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and not Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. I haven't read anything with a narrative presented in this way before, a story told through interviews and first-person notes from the 'author' (everyone is comparing this to Daisy Jones & The Six which is still sitting in my TBR pile). Because of this, it took me a few chapters to relax into the narrative, I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and not a biography. The characters were so realistic, their dialogue exactly what you'd expect to read in interviews; from the false candour and pretend humility of celebrity to the ignorant bravado and self-satisfaction of the entitled. It was easy to believe these were real people with unique voices being interviewed. At first, I struggled to understand what the actual story was here. Sure, the protagonist had a personal connection to Opal, but the Opal and Nev reunion show didn't seem very exciting or relevant. But this book builds the suspense so subtly I could barely tell it was building until suddenly I found myself in the middle of a story I wasn't expecting and I had to know how it was going to end. It would be a discredit to Walton's talent to give anything away, her ability to weave fictional characters through actual history, creating a compelling story at the same time, is remarkable. I will say that I was not expecting these innocent interviews, the protagonist's attempt to learn more about the father she never knew, to become a poignant portrayal of race relations in the music industry and day-to-day life, both in the 1970s and present day. Blog | Bookstagram | Ko-fi | Reddit | Twitter

  18. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I am very happy about the boom in oral-history novels precipitated by the success of Daisy Jones & The Six; I love this storytelling format. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev purports to be a biography of Opal, a proto-Afro-punk vocalist and model, and Nev Charles, the white British singer-songwriter alongside whom she first found fame. Written by S. Sunny Shelton, editor of Aural magazine, the book tells the duo’s story in their own words, as well as those of their family, friends, collaborators I am very happy about the boom in oral-history novels precipitated by the success of Daisy Jones & The Six; I love this storytelling format. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev purports to be a biography of Opal, a proto-Afro-punk vocalist and model, and Nev Charles, the white British singer-songwriter alongside whom she first found fame. Written by S. Sunny Shelton, editor of Aural magazine, the book tells the duo’s story in their own words, as well as those of their family, friends, collaborators and hangers-on. Beyond recognising the pair’s musical legacy, Sunny has a personal reason for writing the book. Opal and Nev are known partly because of an iconic photo of them fleeing a venue where racist violence had broken out. That night, Sunny’s father Jimmy Curtis – a drummer who had been having an affair with Opal – was beaten to death. While Sunny has always admired Opal as an artist, a part of her also bears a grudge. The interesting thing about The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is that you think you know where it’s going, and then it takes a turn. It pulls the rug out from under you with a startling revelation, one that strikes right at the heart of the tale it initially seemed to be telling. From that point on (around halfway through), the focus shifts. Comparisons to Daisy Jones are inevitable, but Opal & Nev is telling a story that’s at once broader and more thought-provoking – more interested in asking questions. I was gripped, I was angry, and by the end, I’d shed a few tears. While this may be fiction (and highly readable, entertaining fiction at that), it’s the book’s relevance to the real world that will make it stick in your mind. I received an advance review copy of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev from the publisher through NetGalley. TinyLetter | Linktree

  19. 5 out of 5

    Val

    There were tons of things I loved about this book, but I believe it had the potential to be even more. I loved the interview style writing. This book had more characters interviewed than I had previously encountered so it was a tad confusing at times and I had to reference back to some characters. That being said, the interview subject was clearly mentioned prior to their part in the book so that was great. In addition to the interviews were passages from “the editor.” Honestly, the book seemed s There were tons of things I loved about this book, but I believe it had the potential to be even more. I loved the interview style writing. This book had more characters interviewed than I had previously encountered so it was a tad confusing at times and I had to reference back to some characters. That being said, the interview subject was clearly mentioned prior to their part in the book so that was great. In addition to the interviews were passages from “the editor.” Honestly, the book seemed so realistic I kept wondering if the author was really a famous drum player’s daughter. I admit I even went so far as to do a little research to be sure. I loved feeling like I was getting an inside glimpse into the world of music. But it was just a glimpse. Most of the story was about the characters, and their quest to find their moment, and that was interesting enough. The pace in the middle of the book stalled a touch for me, but picked up again. I loved the character development. You could see why each person made the decisions they did based on their history. The early Nev so likeable. A musical kid trying to please his Mom by becoming what she knew he was capable of. I liked the Nev that was obsessed with Opal. The two looked like complete opposites – a gangly pasty red haired man and a gorgeous dark skinned, bald woman. And they performed rock music , which was unexpected by everyone that saw the two as an act. Without giving anything away, I wanted to punch the Nev I met in the last few chapters. The character I really wanted to meet in real life was of course Virgil LaFleur. The one portrayal I was a little disappointed in was Opal. She was a force of nature – she oozed grit and moxy and determination - but you mostly gleaned that from what others said about her. She was rather flat in her own interviews. Perhaps that was the author’s purpose which went over my head? Her position in the book is so relevant to the recent events in the headlines. Disparate treatment and expectations put on her based on the way she looked. I hated that she never truly achieved musical success, or received accolades for the path she forged for women behind her, but here, I think that was exactly what the author wanted me to feel. I easily recommend this book. You will get swept up in the atmosphere.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    This is a beautiful story, and in my opinion, the story itself definitely earns five stars. It’s an impressive debut and incredibly powerful. I loved the unexpected duo: Opal, the Black girl, and Nev, the green-eyed, ginger-haired singer/songwriter. The story gives an insight into racism in the seventies, and I sometimes asked myself how much progress we’ve made in the fifty years since then. I had one problem while reading, though ... I just didn’t like the format and the structure of the book (i This is a beautiful story, and in my opinion, the story itself definitely earns five stars. It’s an impressive debut and incredibly powerful. I loved the unexpected duo: Opal, the Black girl, and Nev, the green-eyed, ginger-haired singer/songwriter. The story gives an insight into racism in the seventies, and I sometimes asked myself how much progress we’ve made in the fifty years since then. I had one problem while reading, though ... I just didn’t like the format and the structure of the book (interviews instead of a flowing story), and that’s definitely on me. Instead of indulging the story, I kept sighing—too many POVs and next to the interviews, all those footnotes. I hate myself for sighing because mentally, I know the story is beautiful and that I should love it. But sadly, I didn’t. I think I would have liked it more if it had been an audiobook with different voices to emphasize all those different POVs. So, instead of an excellent five-star rating, I stick to three stars. If you like this kind of writing, please check out the four and five-star reviews! This book might turn out to be a real gem for you! I received an ARC from Quercus Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Cool

    For lover's of "Daisy Jones & The Six," "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" also uses the technique of oral history to tell the story of the rise of the unlikely rock & roll duo, the fateful night that catapulted them to relative fame, their potential reunion years later - and the ugly secret at the center of it all. Walton's characters are both real and complex, striking a perfect balance of human and celebrity. She builds the tension of the story in a way that leaves you holding your breath whil For lover's of "Daisy Jones & The Six," "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" also uses the technique of oral history to tell the story of the rise of the unlikely rock & roll duo, the fateful night that catapulted them to relative fame, their potential reunion years later - and the ugly secret at the center of it all. Walton's characters are both real and complex, striking a perfect balance of human and celebrity. She builds the tension of the story in a way that leaves you holding your breath while you wait for the other shoe to drop, and the revelations of what really happened the night of the Rivington Showcase do not disappoint. Especially poignant during this time of racial reckoning, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev explores what it meant to be Black in the music industry of the '70s, and the relative place of power one gained from being white. Walton does not shy away from this reality, facing it head on and shining light on the inequality and racism that Black musicians faced. A must read that you will be thinking about long after you turn the final page.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    An impressive debut novel. And I'll get this out of the way now, do not shy away from reading this book because you think it will be too similar to Daisy Jones & The Six. Other than using an oral history format to tell the story of a fictional band, they really do branch off in different directions. I like both books, but The Final Revival of Opal & Nev definitely tackles tougher topics. It's the 1970s and Rivington Records based in NYC would love to add some stars to their roster. Aspiring Briti An impressive debut novel. And I'll get this out of the way now, do not shy away from reading this book because you think it will be too similar to Daisy Jones & The Six. Other than using an oral history format to tell the story of a fictional band, they really do branch off in different directions. I like both books, but The Final Revival of Opal & Nev definitely tackles tougher topics. It's the 1970s and Rivington Records based in NYC would love to add some stars to their roster. Aspiring British singer/songwriter and lanky redheaded white male, Nev Charles, is looking for that special someone to join him in making music. After an exhaustive search he sees Opal singing in a Detroit bar. She's a young Black woman, and while she might not have the best voice or a fit that boring definition of conventional beauty, she sure has "it", that presence that all stars seem to possess in spades. That's how Opal and Nev got their start so many years ago. In 2016 the duo might reunite and music journalist, S. Sunny Shelton, is in the process of collecting an oral history of the pair. Given the title I did assume the book would focus equally on Opal and Nev. However it kinda evolved more into Opal and Sunny's story and I'm glad it did. The strength of this novel is showing racism in both its obvious and subtle forms. It's something that pops up right from the start with Opal as a young girl in Birmingham, Alabama and continues all the way into the 2016 storyline. When you read about the 1970s significant event in the story it makes your blood boil for many reasons. One of those being that fifty years later, that fictional scenario could easily play out in real life. When I initially finished the book I kept thinking that Nev wasn't a fully developed character like Opal. But my opinion of how Nev was written changed for the better. Now here is where I try to figure out how to express my thoughts without veering into spoiler territory. The best I can come up with is saying the author made a smart choice in how she wrote that character. I think I was too dumb to realize it at first. Sign me up for any book Dawnie Walton writes in the future. Highly recommend checking this book out. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance digital copy! All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  23. 4 out of 5

    rose ✨

    the final revival of opal & nev is a powerful debut chronicling the rise and fall of a 1970s punk rock duo. told in the same oral history format as daisy jones & the six , it is a thought-provoking story that highlights the intersection of music, race, and politics. while i enjoyed the interview format almost as much here as i did in daisy jones, the editor notes really slowed the forward momentum of the story and disrupted the escalating tension. i would have preferred to hear more of the sto the final revival of opal & nev is a powerful debut chronicling the rise and fall of a 1970s punk rock duo. told in the same oral history format as daisy jones & the six , it is a thought-provoking story that highlights the intersection of music, race, and politics. while i enjoyed the interview format almost as much here as i did in daisy jones, the editor notes really slowed the forward momentum of the story and disrupted the escalating tension. i would have preferred to hear more of the story firsthand from opal, nev, and their contemporaries. as it is, i struggled to connect with the characters because of the frequent interruptions—opal is a fully realized character, but many of the others would have benefited from more development. pacing aside, the final revival of opal & nev is a very compelling read about race and racism in america and who takes the blame—and the consequences—when things go wrong. thank you to edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an arc. rating: 3.5/5 stars, rounded up

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    [4+] Do you ever get that warm feeling after reading about a dozen pages of a book, when you think - - this is really good! That's what I felt and continued to feel right up until the last page of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. The novel has been compared to "Daisy Jones and the Six" because the format and subject matter are similar -but Walton takes it to another level. She digs deep into the characters and offers a perspective on the racism and sexism of the 1970s music world. Relevant, pote [4+] Do you ever get that warm feeling after reading about a dozen pages of a book, when you think - - this is really good! That's what I felt and continued to feel right up until the last page of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. The novel has been compared to "Daisy Jones and the Six" because the format and subject matter are similar -but Walton takes it to another level. She digs deep into the characters and offers a perspective on the racism and sexism of the 1970s music world. Relevant, potent...and propulsive!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I have been enthralled by this novel since reading the first pages. This oral history of music performers Opal and Nev traces their history from their early days (hers in Detroit, his in England) to the titled 2016 reunion. Our eyes for this trip? Sunny Shelton, daughter of their early drummer who died in an infamous incident in an early concert in 1973, before Sunny was even born. Now she is writing a book about those times and these people—she is a music writer after all! Over the course of the I have been enthralled by this novel since reading the first pages. This oral history of music performers Opal and Nev traces their history from their early days (hers in Detroit, his in England) to the titled 2016 reunion. Our eyes for this trip? Sunny Shelton, daughter of their early drummer who died in an infamous incident in an early concert in 1973, before Sunny was even born. Now she is writing a book about those times and these people—she is a music writer after all! Over the course of these interviews, we watch and learn about Opal’s wish to get away and have a different life from that she has in Detroit. While she loves her family, she is not like them, knows her aims are different. She likes to sing but even more to perform. Decides on New York. Nev also wants something different. Is going nowhere with his dream of music so takes off for a new country and city, New York. And they happen to meet; the tall thin red-headed Englishman and the small, dark, black, bald and bold woman. They tentatively form a partnership and the rest is a complex music history. There are many wonderful voices in this history; Opal’s gospel singing sister and her mother; her fabulous designer and friend, Virgil; other band members and other musicians and performers; record company producers, and many more. They are all here. Dawnie Walton gives us all this and she gives us Sunny who is a great presence too, tying everything together. But Opal is the star. A black woman who knows she wants to be different but also be as true to herself as she can be. What an amazing book. Recommended for anyone who has ever enjoyed music. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Though the premise may sound similar to Daisy Jones & the Six, this novel is completely unique in its execution—and in my opinion, is superior to Daisy Jones (though both novels are fantastic for different reasons). Using an oral history format to delve into the story of a fictional band is where the similarities between these novels stop. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is not only a captivating exploration of the rise and fall of the titular Afro-punk duo, but also explores how racism, sexism Though the premise may sound similar to Daisy Jones & the Six, this novel is completely unique in its execution—and in my opinion, is superior to Daisy Jones (though both novels are fantastic for different reasons). Using an oral history format to delve into the story of a fictional band is where the similarities between these novels stop. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is not only a captivating exploration of the rise and fall of the titular Afro-punk duo, but also explores how racism, sexism and the politics of the era tinted their relationship, musical direction, and growth as characters. This novel is very successful in how it tackles these tough topics, with all inclusions feeling natural and necessary to the story, allowing the characters and setting to feel incredibly authentic and well-developed. The mixture of fictional situations with real historical events made the novel feel grounded and real, as if this was a history of a real band. I was surprised by how well these historical and societal elements complemented and connected with the musical storyline, allowing this book to bring a fresh perspective to the oral band history genre. Despite (or perhaps because of) being comprised of almost exclusively dialogue with some “editors note” commentaries from Sunny—the daughter of the band’s former drummer, editor of a music magazine, and the book’s fictional author—interspersed throughout, we were able to get deep insights into the inner workings of all characters, with most of the major players feeling complete and complex. I will say Jimmy’s character (Sunny’s father) could have been fleshed out a touch more, but given that he wasn’t able to be interviewed directly but rather only explored via other characters’ reflections, the slightly less amount of depth he received makes sense, and pairs well with Sunny’s frustrated desire to learn more about her father. I also highly enjoyed the writing style of this novel. Though the dialogue frequently had amazing, highlightable sections, it still sounded like something people would actually say, which is impressive given the high quantity of dialogue. Each character had a unique voice, making it easy to tell who was talking at any given time, even without the name headers above each interview portion, and making each character memorable, not just Opal and Nev. Though we stayed in some eras of the duo’s career longer than others, the pacing still felt spot-on through most of the book; we never left the exploration of a specific period or event too quickly or lingered too long. This kept me engaged throughout, allowing enough time for a character insight or societal connection to be well-developed before moving on to the next scene. However, at times the editors notes disrupted the flow of the plot just when things were coming to a head. Overall, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is shaping up to be a top book of 2021. Though there were the few minor issues I mentioned above, the depth and flair the author brought to the musical oral history setup still made this a 5 star read to me. This is an amazing debut novel by Dawnie Walton, and I look forward to following any future publications from her. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    A double edged sword of a Netgalley book: I'm very glad I got a chance to read it early, and annoyed I can't tell all my friends to go read it right now. A book very reminiscent of Daisy Jones & the Six without being a retread, it tackles a very different kind of musician and a very different world than Daisy Jones inhabited. The two novels together create a fantastic genre of fictional bands that could stand up with the real acts from that era. A double edged sword of a Netgalley book: I'm very glad I got a chance to read it early, and annoyed I can't tell all my friends to go read it right now. A book very reminiscent of Daisy Jones & the Six without being a retread, it tackles a very different kind of musician and a very different world than Daisy Jones inhabited. The two novels together create a fantastic genre of fictional bands that could stand up with the real acts from that era.

  28. 4 out of 5

    lucie

    DNF @41% While reading chapter 11 I just realized that I actually don't care about anyone in this book or what their story is. I do like this kind of books written in interview format, Daisy Jones & The Six is one of my favorite books and the writing style has a lot to do with it but I think you have to care about the characters to enjoy their story and this time it didn't happen. DNF @41% While reading chapter 11 I just realized that I actually don't care about anyone in this book or what their story is. I do like this kind of books written in interview format, Daisy Jones & The Six is one of my favorite books and the writing style has a lot to do with it but I think you have to care about the characters to enjoy their story and this time it didn't happen.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Trudie

    the guitar was "wah-wah-WAH-la-la-la, wah-wah-WAH-la-la-la, " and the bass was "dum-dum-doo-dum-doo-doo"... so I wanted to play off of that, write a conversation between two people, the guitar being the woman called Rosy and the bass the man who wanted to know her. "I like afternoon skies, lit up in every hue/ Yes Rosy I do too/ Would you walk by my side, forever staying true? / Well Rosy, that's up to you" I think I am wah-wah-WAHing myself away from this one. the guitar was "wah-wah-WAH-la-la-la, wah-wah-WAH-la-la-la, " and the bass was "dum-dum-doo-dum-doo-doo"... so I wanted to play off of that, write a conversation between two people, the guitar being the woman called Rosy and the bass the man who wanted to know her. "I like afternoon skies, lit up in every hue/ Yes Rosy I do too/ Would you walk by my side, forever staying true? / Well Rosy, that's up to you" I think I am wah-wah-WAHing myself away from this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Loring Wirbel

    Dawnie Walton has written what might be called an autobiographical musical fantasy. It's not that Opal Jewel or Nev Charles are meant to emulate anyone we might know, but the author-narrator of this tale, like the true author Walton herself, is a nearing-middle-age African-American entertainment editor interested in the convergences of various streams of pop culture - and streams that might have been. Walton describes her own life in so much of what protagonist SarahLena/Sunny Shelton experience Dawnie Walton has written what might be called an autobiographical musical fantasy. It's not that Opal Jewel or Nev Charles are meant to emulate anyone we might know, but the author-narrator of this tale, like the true author Walton herself, is a nearing-middle-age African-American entertainment editor interested in the convergences of various streams of pop culture - and streams that might have been. Walton describes her own life in so much of what protagonist SarahLena/Sunny Shelton experiences, we can believe midway through the novel that we are witnessing a 1970s/80s/90s/2000s pop music culture from an alternate universe that is maddeningly close to our own. Cue Sliding Doors, this is an alternate reality with a probability-wave collapse that seems very familiar. The crazy thing is that neither the real author nor the fictitious one lived through the 1970s directly, but the novel carries a stamp of legitimacy somehow. Is the book about cultural appropriation and Black Lives Matter and the shitty way both women and people of color were treated in what was supposed to be the liberatory culture of rock and roll? Well, sure, but it's also about how global trajectories might have been different if black consciousness had been key to generating punk rock as well as rap and disco in the mid-1970s. (I know what you're going to say, what about bands like Death and Beatnigs and X-Ray Spex and the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy? All great counterexamples, but none of the Black stars of punk in our own version of reality could match what Opal Jewel gave the alternate version of reality documented in this novel.) The funny thing is, Opal and Nev did indeed make a mark in this alternative universe, but the end result of the decades that followed was depressingly like our own. Plus ca change.... The novel is arranged in fragments of interviews and descriptions of recording sessions, as you might expect the first novel from a media executive to look like, but that doesn't make it a distraction or too clever in the least. It's fun to read in all its historical back-references to the families of Opal and Nev, and how the two found each other in the low-life studios of a pathetic record company. The event that propels Opal and Nev to fame, a shamelessly exploitive concert called the Rivington Showcase, is like Altamont (writ small, in a sleazy faux-Victorian concert hall in NYC) mixed with a race riot. You can almost hear Walton revisiting the Neil Young/Lynyrd Skynyrd battles of the early 1970s in the form of the ultimate redneck cracker band on the Rivington label, the Bond Brothers. (As I read the descriptions of Bond Brothers, I couldn't help but think that there was nothing wrong with Lynyrd Skynyrd a little plane crash couldn't fix. Forgive me for such a poor-taste joke, I did indeed like Lynyrd Skynyrd, even though their critique of Neil Young was wrong in every possible way.) When we see the way Opal got the ultimate revenge on use of the Confederate flag, it all seemed torn from today's headlines, and when we see how Nev was willing to put Opal in harm's way, we see that deep inside every white liberal dwells a Karen of privilege. The reunion of Opal and Nev takes place in a 2016 New England festival modeled on Coachella, where most of the audience knows Opal and Nev only from history books, and even the "older and wiser" protagonist of the novel was born long after the Rivington Showcase took place. What is subtly shown during the Opal and Nev performance at the close of the book is that in rock and pop music, the reference points for nostalgia change every five years or so, which means that anyone who harbors 50 or 60 years of knowledge of pop music is aware of 10 to 12 mutually-incomprehensible generations of music fans, and only a world-class translator like Opal Jewel can hope to build bridges. "Thank the stars for translators, the cream of the planet" -- Patti Smith This novel does not want preaching and moralizing to stand in the way of exuberance and joy, so the straightforward plot structure leads to a happy ending with few surprises. The two main women of the novel come away sanctified and justified, while the white lead-guitar player is shown up as the asshole he always was. At least bass players and drummers are spared from worse fates. In fact, Sunny Shelton's father is the hidden drummer hero of the novel, which means we are spared drummer jokes. This novel is an obvious win for anyone interested in cultural empowerment against white cis male culture. But it's much more than that. It's a playful rewrite of history for music fans who are obsessively interested in the tastemakers who made us who we are, from the 1960s through the 2020s.

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