Musical Land (book 1)

by Ellen Taylor

In an alternate universe where famous historical figures are all living in one era and musicals are their every day life, fourteen-year-old Marie Curie has been told that following her passion in science will lead to a future of flipping burgers and waiting tables. As hard as she tries, the arts remain an enigma to her. She is selected to attend Presley High, one of the most prestigious schools in the city, as part of a social experiment to help her grades. With budding geniuses all around her, she feels doomed to be forever an outcast. However, when she stumbles upon a secret which shakes the foundation of Musical Land, she realizes targets from bullies aren't as terrifying as targets from the president of the city. 

**This is a historical (fan)fiction, so technically I don't own these characters/real life humans. And I also take creative liberties with them, so they're not exactly who they are in real life, but that's what makes it fun!**

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One of the most interesting stories I've ever read

Reviewed at: Chapter 12

This is one of the most interesting stories I've ever read. If you want a one-sentence tl;dr, it's Clone High mixed with La La Land. And it.. works.

Great fun odd story. We follow Marie, Marie Curie (yes, the famous one), as she begins high school. Except the world is not our own. This is a universe where, due to a chip implaneted in one's brain, everyone is basically living in a musical. It takes the tenants of musicals (when there's to much emotion to speak, sing; and when there's too much emotion to sing; dance) as an actual force. If your emotions are high enough you will begin to sing and dance.

And that's all well and good if you're a theater kid. But this is Marie Curie and she's more into science.

Yet she got into the best school in the land. And now has to deal with her passions, which were always stated to be the root of evil and war, while not being able to sing, in this school devoted mostly to singing.

The chip and forced implantation is hinting as much darker stuff. You cannot force a world to be good, and end all wars with singing and dancing. I think we're going to get into more cynical things eventually.

We get mentions of basically every single artsy or sciencey historical figure. They all live in the same time, and the historical accuracy is basically "famous name - did art/science thing.' So it's very much a weird Alternate Universe. Marie is a good character too, and she embodies a nervous teen girl and needing to start out in a new place where she doesn't fit in.

Grammar's great.

I really like this story. If you have any appreciation for musicals, or school-life, or just want to see Bob Ross as a teacher, give it a read.


A chilling musical take on the dystopian genre.

Reviewed at: Chapter 7

This was done as part of a review swap but, as usual, I’m as objective as one can be.


- Style:

The style is efficient yet not dry, but the best parts are the musical passages. At first, I wasn’t sure how the author would handle the writing of a musical, but it’s done well enough to really immerse you in it.

The description in themselves are a good match with the theme of the story, as the artistic world we’re presented with appears genuine enough to be nice to read, which in turn make you question the objective of it, as this is a dystopic tale. Creepy feeling ensues.

- Grammar:

Nothing to say.


- Story:

A very classical dystopian theme, well served and supported by the other aspect of the story. It’s clean and the twist of musical still give a fresh coat of paint to an old yet trusted concept.


- Characters:

All characters are technically rip-off from reality, but this doesn’t serve the story badly. Quite the opposite, in fact, since it gives you an instinctive feeling of what the characters are just by reading their name, with yet enough mystery to be kept interesting.

The MC is quite relatable in her emotions, and her reactions help to highlight the parts where this false utopia’s gears screech.


- Overall:

Appearing niche, I found this novel being a good fresh take on the dystopian concept while not being too dark either. I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but so far it balanced creepy feeling with relatable characters (in particular the MC) and a strange silly world.

This has been written with the heart, you can feel it.


- Stray thoughts :

This work exudes a soft kind of melancholy, or maybe it just touches something personal, but still.

The cognitive dissonance between musicals and dystopia create a somewhat burlesque yet fearsome atmosphere.

I’m really not good with dystopia since I read 1984.

I like all the tiny ideas that are produced by thinking about the setting logically, then pushing the logic farther and farther, like the fact that people can’t be forced to sing in metro stations, or the 6 in 1 dancing shoes.

I like Poe. I which he and the MC will become friends ^^

I’ve more swaps to do so I only read up to chapter 7, but I put this in my reading list for later. This doesn’t happen often, in particular with niche novel.

Egar Gnizama

A different type of read

Reviewed at: Chapter 9

I don't usually enjoy reading about high school life, as it resurfaces dark memories, but Musical Land left me chuckling every time another historic character surfaced.

Well written chapters follow Marie Curie as she makes her way through school life at the prestigious Presley High. Famous characters come in the forms of teachers and student alike, so don't be surprised if you catch Dickinson teaching Poe.

Her tough natured friend Sophie is on hand to help her friend with the challenge that is school life and she could use a few more mentions if I'm being honest, but that's just my opinion. Other side characters like her father are also written in really well and everyone has the opportunity to be heard and remembered.

I gave the story 5 stars for both grammar and character score as I thought they were written wonderfully. Not been used to the school life genre though I gave the style a 4, this may improve if I read more of the chapters later down the line and I also gave it a 4 for the story itself for the same reason.

I thought it was great reading material and I hope you continue to bless us with your fantastic writing.