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I Belong

Review: The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

Title: The Lost Code

Author: Kevin Emerson

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: The Atlanteans (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 22, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 435 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062062794 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062062796 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


What is oldest will be new, what was 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.”

Kevin Emerson’s thrilling novel is Book One of the Atlanteans series–perilous adventures in a grimly plausible dystopian future, fueled by high-stakes action, budding romance, and a provocative question: What would you do if you had the power to save humanity from its own self-destruction?

Quick & Dirty: A really original dystopia filled with mystery, Greek mythology and well-rounded cast of characters — but also a very slow plot.

Opening Sentence: The morning after I arrived at Camp Eden, I drowned for the first time.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

So this book could probably have been a hundred pages shorter. The thing is, without those hundred pages, I’m not sure Emerson could’ve pulled off the summer-camp-on-a-dying-planet aspect off. Humanity is tearing Earth to pieces, making this novel one of the more depressing dystopian futures I’ve read recently. Because The Lost Code is based so firmly on the Atlantean mythos, I’m going to jump over expanding on the plot by saying it’s a summer camp-adventure-mystery. (Once you read it, that will totally make sense…) The plot is unique and interesting, but this is a slow paced novel. Hopefully the sequel will be more action-packed in the first half and we won’t spend so much time wishing the characters would just do something already.

Emerson’s writing style really brings out well rounded characters — they’re one of the main reason I managed to keep reading. Lily, the love interest, is in my opinion the most well-developed of the lot, and much more likable than our narrator. For some reason Emerson never tells us Owen’s age (or maybe he did and I completely missed it, but I don’t think so. I was watching for it.) though he’s classified with the older campers. It’s weird, because Owen’s narrative voice reads a lot more like a middle grade novel than a young adult. He just sounds so young, especially compared to Lily — who sounds the way I expect a YA character to be. While he’s a sympathetic hero, his actions don’t always match with the way Emerson paints him. Owen was raised in a rough environment — even for a dystopia — I expected more maturity from him. A lot of the time, however, his actions are just immature. (Boys will be boys, right?) Hopefully, with the continuation of the series we’ll see Owen grow into himself more.

The writing in this novel is sometimes off-putting. Emerson has a great vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it. While it helps flesh out characters and set the scene brilliantly, it also pulled me out of the story more than a few times. Teenagers are allowed to have a large vocabulary — but most of them won’t use it in normal conversation. The world-building in The Lost Code was phenomenal. It’s what set up the mystery that kept the first half of the novel from moving at turtle-pace.

I think this book was probably pitched as a Percy Jackson for the YA crowd — with the summer camp and Atlantis that’s what I expected, anyway. It’s not a bad book — the series itself shows considerable promise — but the lag time between the first chapter and actual action in The Lost Code will frustrate people who loved Percy and want a cast of characters willing to take action.

Notable Scene:

“Uh-oh,” Aliah huffed. “Are you talking theories again?”

“Yes, and who cares how?” said Lily.

“I do,” Marco said proudly. “I haven’t had a sip of bug juice yet.”

“Well, the point is,” said Lilly, “Eden needs to experiment on someone. Who better to do their tests on than a bunch of camp kids especially cryos who have no parents to complain to?”

That doesn’t explain me,” I offered.

“It doesn’t explain a lot of things,” said Aliah.

The Atlanteans Series:

1. The Lost Code

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books provided me with a copy of The Lost Code. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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