Author: Kevin Emerson
Genre: YA, sci-fi
Release Date: May 2012 (expected)
Summary: WHAT IS OLDEST WILL BE NEW, WHAT IS LOST SHALL BE FOUND.
The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.
No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.
Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry…and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.
☆: 4/5 – a great new YA debut!
Review: Oh, this one was fun. With a lot of books in the dystopian-apocalyptic genre coming out, it’s getting harder and harder to find a good story within them because so many of them have been told so many times. However, “The Lost Code” is not one of them. This one was a pleasure to read, extremely relaxing (even with all of the crazy stuff that goes on within it) and generally a nice break from what I’ve been reading lately. With echoes of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” and “Kane Chronicles” series, “The Lost Code” asks us to think about the end of the world, and makes us wonder about civilizations that have fallen before us as a cautionary (but fantastic) tale.
While a little slow to get started, “The Lost Code” talks about a world a little over a century from now, where everything is failing, the seas have risen and are slowly eating all arable land whole. Resistant strains of diseases are killing off the world population in huge chunks, and there are never-ending ongoing wars to possess what little resources are left. The ozone is nearly gone, and unless you’re one of the lucky few who get into one of five Eden Domes or the Habitable Zone, you can expect to live to 45. If you’re lucky.
And in the middle of all of this – summer camp! It was a little ridiculous (in a good way), but it makes sense. Much like in “Neon Genesis Evangelion” when, in the middle of active Angel battles, the middle school kids go off to Okinawa for their school trip – it may be their “last chance” to experience fun, after all – Emerson has the kids from the Wastelands (the Hub) enter into a lottery so that they can go to Camp Eden. We get slammed with a lot of this backstory information whilst our hero is drowning, and I thought that it could have been intercut better in later scenes/chapters (especially with ones pertaining to said information about the Domes and their possible failure), as it’s kind of a bit too intense to be given all of this text so early on. That said, I am glad this information was given at all – a lot of stories that have such a setting don’t seem to bother in giving the audience needed information about how the world around them came to be. The worldbuilding is wonderful as a first shot out of the gate, and I hope it gets better in later books. There were places were it was a bit wobbly, and I’m hoping that was on purpose so we have lots of room to expand in the next book in the series.
The characters were pretty well-rounded when you take into consideration all of the conflict going on around them. I did want to know more about the Atlantean civilization and the Three Atlanteans with the crystal skulls, but that’s another thing I’m hoping will be explored more in the next book. I felt like the ending, especially, could have been expanded a lot more, as it felt a little too quick for my liking, but I’m happy with what I got. It’s enough for me to enjoy and to set us up for book two.
However, one thing that did bother me was the tone of the book. We’re never given Owen’s age, but I’m guessing it was somewhere in the 14-15 year old range. The camp itself, probably 8-16 year olds? I think that information might have been useful, because in the beginning of the book, Owen sounded a lot younger (and acted a lot younger) than he probably was sketched out to be later in the book. It was a bit frustrating, but I can see how and why it happened. Hopefully we’ll be enlightened as to everyone’s ages in book two, as it felt like Owen was painted as a tween or 13 year old, when in reality he was probably closer to 14-15. If I’m correct. I have no idea if I am.
Otherwise? I really enjoyed this little romp through the end of the world. I loved having a male protagonist and being able to see through his eyes – it feels like we’re getting more and more female protagonists in YA as a whole, so it was kind of nice to be in a male body for this one. I can’t wait for book two, and everything that comes with it.
“The Lost Code” is out May 22, 2012 through HarperTeen, so be sure to check it out then. It’s refreshingly original in the dystopian/apocalyptic department and I definitely recommend it!