Mitch's Reviews > The Lost Code

The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
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May 26, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: ya-by-guys-for-guys
Read in May, 2012

The Lost Code's been called a young adult Percy Jackson, and unfortunately that is too true. Much of the stuff that worked in a series like Percy Jackson, starting with an over the top statement, the main character talking about themselves and commenting on the plot all the time, a really slow camp section, didn't really work for me in this book because at the same time it took the dystopian stuff really seriously. If it wasn't for the final third of the book, where the pace at last picked up and the characters finally seemed like they were doing something besides camp stuff basically, I would've been completely bored. As it is, the first two parts in the camp just didn't work that well with the plot as a whole.

Part of it, I think, is also the characters. I couldn't stand Owen as a narrator, Percy's excuse is that he's twelve and can be funny, but Owen, come on, you're overnarrating and being Captain Obvious far more often than you should. Everything from finally realizing he had gills, talking about the suspicious behavior of Paul the camp director and Dr. Maria, these are all things I figured out on my own before he did, so half of everything he said was just unnecessary (and unfunny to boot). I don't think I liked any of the other characters either, Lilly was kind of flat and Paul the amoral villain who'll go to any lengths and do anything to save the world is the kind of character I've seen plenty before - save me the self-righteous rant. And I don't know, but it was really hard imagining a camp director as the main villain of the story, I really hope the Eden directors take over that role in the future. Now that I think about it, I liked Dr. Maria, who turns out to be a rather complicated character conflicted over helping Paul, but that's it.

At least the setup was actually pretty interesting, like reading the culmination of the direst predictions of what would happen with global warning going out of control. But really, it comes back again to how seriously to take a save the world story which happens at a camp and mostly features campers doing camp activities. I know Emerson explains the special purpose of the camp so everything actually makes sense, but the camp's supposed to be a small part of this domed city of climate refugees - and there's a global conspiracy going on to boot, and I kept wishing Emerson would move the action to fill in more of these pieces, build up the puzzle, but it never happens. So the plot ended up feeling bigger than the setting, if that makes any sense, because there's all this talk about the Pyramids, Stonehenge, Greenland, all these cool places that figure into the story and conspiracy, and we never get to see any of them. At least the ending gives me the impression that the next book will be more global and hopefully won't be another slow dragging camp slog like this one turned out to be.

So, there are two things I didn't really like about The Lost Code, one easily and I think will be changed for the sequel, the other that might or might not be. The too much slow, dragging camp stuff, I'm fairly sure will be just because this was the first book setting up a lot of the background stuff. Owen needing a new tone, just shut up and do things, and a new nemesis, on the other hand, I'm not so optimistic about. We'll see.
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