Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

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The Lost Code
Kevin Emerson
Series: The Atlanteans #1
Release date: May 22nd, 2012
by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Goodreads / Purchase


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.

*A copy was provided by Kevin Emerson for review purposes*

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this. The blurb gives off a dystopian, sci-fi feel to it. It obviously has some mythology too with the series titled The Atlanteans. So I wasn’t sure how all this would fit together in one novel. Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t lack in originality! A futuristic dystopian world, domes, special genes, Greek mythology, secrets, and an adventure like no other. This is what you can expect from the world created in The Lost Code. Regardless of my rating, I was truly absorbed in this world at the start. It’s so different, so much potential running through these pages that I had truly high hopes for it. I can honestly see some readers enjoying this, but I think it would attract specific tastes rather than a general readership.

My problems began with the slow, drawn out way the story is told. We start with a bang with Owen dying, this is then followed by lots of strange happenings that very much intrigued me. But then it takes a very long while to get further into the plot. We spend a lot of time with mostly unproductive tedious details and lengthy paragraphs about the summer camp the book is set in, instead of fleshing out the world and characters, or most importantly, moving on to the heart in the story: the mythology. With over 400 pages, I found myself getting bored and wanting to get to the point. By the time this happened – almost 3/4 through – my enthusiasm for it had died down so much that I wasn’t able to enjoy the stronger ending.

This future is bleak. The world is basically uninhabitable because of the sun’s deadly rays. People are forced to live underground or inside these Eden domes where everything is fake, but perfect. I didn’t particularly buy this. Not the future itself – that is actually plausible, but the domes aren’t especially believable. For one, how do they go about getting resources to keep the domes alive? And everyone is so care-free about it all. I never sensed the urgency that you get from dystopian futures where everything is on the brink of destruction. Making the setting inside this perfect, pretend world removes the dismal feeling I was expected to garner.

Our protagonist Owen is a character that I initially found interesting. He’s very self conscious without much social experience. He’s a bit of an outsider in his cabin but then he starts to realize he’s different – very different. However, I never got to know him much more than this. I felt disconnected from him personally, this led me to become a bit detached from the story overall, not really feeling it. I also had a very hard time with his internal dialogue which he refers to as “technicians” dealing with his different organs and needs:

“The technician watching my heartbeat whispered to his neighbor, who was in charge of my blood-oxygen levels. Her screen flashed ominously. A persistent beeping made her head shake. ‘There’s not much more I can do’, she said. ‘We’re going to need air’.”   
-Quoted from the uncorrected proof

He has conversations and watches them “work” like this. Those parts just made me uncomfortable; I found it so bizarre. It’s part of the reason I couldn’t relate to Owen. There is also a little romance but I never felt real passion or chemistry between them. This may simply be because of everything stated above.

By the end, the story does pick up quite a bit with elaborate Atlantis mythology. If you can get past the overly descriptive nature of the book, the premise has immense potential. The ideas are clearly new and creative; it could become an overall great series especially with some more character development. I’d recommend this to fans of Percy Jackson, but expect a more lengthy, slower paced adventure. 

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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33 Responses to “Review: The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson”

  1. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    It is such a shame when you don’t succeed in connecting with the main character! This sounds like a lot of potential wasted.. Too bad, I had high hopes. The summary sounded awesome and you’re right, I had no idea what to expect either. Seeing how I have so much else to read, and not nearly enough time, I’ll take your word for it and just remove it from my tbr.
    Fantastic and detailed review, Giselle!

  2. Emily

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this book. 🙁 I rated it five stars but as I’m reading your review I do see that some of the points you made are true. But I still really enjoyed the book. Any review that states your personal opinion is a good review in my mind, so even though I liked it more–good review.

  3. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Ahhh, what a shame that you couldn’t connect with the main character! That’s a turn off for me. I had high hopes for this book, but after reading your review, I think I’m going to pass this one. A slow style can be nice (I really liked that in The prophecy of the sisters from Michelle Zink) but this book feels like it drags on and on. The inner conversations sounds so strange! It also gives me a uncomfortable feeling, seeing the quote you’ve posted there.

    Thanks for this review. It saves me from reading a book I won’t like 🙂

  4. Danny

    Yep, I mostly agree with you here… and I’m so sad the book didn’t excite me more. Mainly I also didn’t like Owen, he was a lame character I never managed to relate too. Also, the romance didn’t woo me at all….

    However, I loved the idea and the plot with Antlatis!!! amazing, but sadly due to the protagonists a boring read for me ;(

  5. Amy

    That sucks that you didn’t really enjoy this book very much. It sounded really good by the synopsis. This wasn’t really high on my list of books to read anyways, so I will pass on it. Great honest review!

  6. Steph (Poetry to Prose)

    Hmm, what a shame that you didn’t love this one! I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of the book before, but the summary really sounds different from everything else — it’s too bad it didn’t reach its potential though.

    Thanks for the honest review!

  7. Aylee

    Aww, too bad. It sounds like it has a ton of potential, so it’s too bad it didn’t quite work out. I don’t buy that dystopian future either…

  8. Christina

    Ugh, I know I’m going to read this, because it’s a dystopia. Not looking forward to those days. Sigh.

    Oh great, I didn’t even like Percy Jackson much. *facepalm*

  9. Anna @ Literary Exploration

    I went to a signing with Kevin Emerson and he’s better known for his MG novels, which is why there’s not much romance in this one. It’s sort of his transition between MG and YA, and I think the next one will be a bit more YA. I’m still looking forward to reading this one, because I love the Atlantis myth, but I know my expectations will be a bit lower after reading this review!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  10. Cindy

    I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you too well. I don’t know if I would pick it up myself, but I might give it a try in the future. Great, honest review 🙂

  11. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    This sounds like one that I’ll be staying away from. I hate sitting there reading filler and wondering when it’s going to finally get to the point. Also connection to the MC is so important. Great review Giselle, too bad you didn’t enjoy it a bit more.

  12. kimba88

    Thanks Giselle, it sounds like way to many themes and not enough was on my list and sounded wonderful. At this point i will probably pass on it.

  13. Ashley

    I’m bummed that you didn’t enjoy this one more. I had really high hopes for this book. I’ll still be reading it soon anyway to see what I think. Thanks for the review though!

  14. Shooting Stars Mag

    Hmm…I’m not sure I would enjoy this one myself. Thanks for your honest thoughts. It’s nice to know what did and did not work for someone. At the moment, I’d rather start a book that I knew had a faster plot, at least in terms of “genre” books like this.


  15. Novels On The Run

    Giselle, Giselle..sorry, I love saying it the correct way…although I hear a robotic voice in my head..ha! you gone with 2 cups of expresso..I am reading right now…it is taking a bit to get into the story..but I think I am there now?? I have this feeling of where I am at with the big Dome thingy and Aaron working the sky etc..I keep thinking of the Truman Show movie…even though this is nothing like that movie. Just that whole make it rain, clouds move…Owen is not grasping me at the moment. I am following him around, but??? I shall keep reading and see what happens. I like the whole water thing…I am intrigued …shall see:D

    Great review!! Honest!


  16. Mimi Valentine

    Aww, I’m so sorry this book fell short for you! I guess that can be a downside of having a male MC you can’t connect with haha. x) But as a total environmentalist girl, I was kind of intrigued by the whole global climate change aspect in this book, so I’m glad that even though some things didn’t convince you, you were still completely absorbed by this book. 🙂

    Thanks so much for the awesome honest and detailed review, Giselle! 🙂 <3

  17. Nick

    I, also, thought that the book had immense potential. By the time the intense and interesting scenes started, I was bored out of my mind.
    Owen was a really difficult character to connect with in my opinion.
    I agree though, that it could have been a lot better with the really interesting ideas the author had. :/
    Great review, Giselle !

  18. Candace

    Ive been curious about this but just hadn’t beard much about it. Now I’m thankful I didn’t grab it for review. It has an interesting premise but I’m thinking this one isn’t for me. However I think I will hold off on that decision until I read a few more reviews since this is the first ive seen. Thanks for your honesty!

  19. The Princess of Storyland

    This book sounds so interesting and different, which is what drew me to it. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems like the kind of book you will either like or not like. I’m going to give this one a try at some point. I appreciate the review tho. I haven’t seen very many reviews on this one yet.

  20. Elodie

    Too bad you didn’t like this one, I think I’ll pass because it doesn’t seem like something I’d love .. Thanks for the honest review Giselle 🙂 !

  21. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    You’re not the first one I’ve seen that’s felt like this about this one… I was definitely curious, but it does make me a bit glad I decided not to rush getting it. From what you describe in your review, it definitely doesn’t sound like a read I’d enjoy… Great review though!:)

  22. Fiktshun

    Great review. I’d only recently heard of this book and yours is the first review I’m checking out. It does sound like it has a bit of a sci fi feel versus straight dystopian from the blurb. And I’m not very much into sci fi. May wait to see what you think of the sequel before I check the series out.

  23. Evie

    Shucks that this book disappointed you. Being a huge fan of mythology and mysteries (and adventures) I’ve been kind of eying this book for a while now. I am not sure if I will pick it up anytime soon, after reading your review and taking under consideration that it’s a pretty hefty book, I might just wait till the next one comes out!