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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1) by Kevin Emerson

In the year 2086, Camp Eden promises summer “the way things used to be,” back before the oceans rose, the sun became a daily enemy, and modern civilization sank into chaos. Located inside the EdenWest BioDome, the camp is an oasis of pine trees, cool water, and rustic charm.

But all at Camp Eden is not what it seems.

No one will know this better than 15-year-old Owen Parker. A strange underwater vision, even stranger wounds on Owen’s neck, and a cryptic warning from the enchanting lifeguard Lilly hint at a mystery that will take Owen deep beneath Lake Eden and even deeper into the past. What he discovers could give him the chance to save the tattered planet. But first, Owen will have to escape Camp Eden alive…

Released: May 22nd 2012               Pages: 435
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books   Source: Library
First Look: ****Upon reading the description of this book, it seemed like a unique dystopian, hopefully involving Atlantis (because, well, it had Atlanteans in the title).  Other than that, I'm not exactly sure what drew me to this book.  I'd heard almost nothing about it, either good or bad.  

Setting: ***** 
I have mixed feelings about the setting.  On one hand, it was had less originality than I'd like--the near-future Earth covered with floods, increased temperatures, destroyed ozone layer, etc. has been done time and time again.  You could argue that, well, what other way is there to write a dystopian novel?  At this point, if you're going to use that type of setting, you'd better have an awesome plot and characters, or I'm going to feel like I've read this over and over.

Then again, it did have aspects that stood out, and that interested me.  The idea of the Atlanteans was interesting, as well as the developing of the "abilities", for lack of a better term.  I loved the premise of a summer camp, trying to pretend the world wasn't a dystopia.

Characters: ****Once I got into this book a little bit, I liked Owen.  He started out as a bit of a stereotypical loner, and I began to think that this whole book would be full of teenage stereotypes (which I'm sick of ranting about).  Thankfully, Owen quickly proved himself to be more three-dimensional than that.  He was the stereotypical loner, in some ways--he still got picked on, still had few friends in the camp--but he wasn't afraid to stand up for himself or others, in a few cases.  He found a group of friends that accepted him, and from there onward, he felt less need to seek acceptance from the boys inside his cabin that bullied him and others, which I appreciated.

I'm on the fence about Lilly.  She's definitely not afraid to assert herself and speak her mind, and she has some amount of depth...just not as much as I would've liked.  Owen fell in love with her initially for her beauty, but as the relationship progressed, I wish I could have seen more of Lilly's personality.

Plot: ***** And, once again, I have mixed feelings.  At the beginning, this book wasn't grabbing my attention.  This might be partly because it was predictable.  Owen stayed underwater for ten minutes and survived, and then found strange slits in his throat.  In a book with a reference to Atlantis in the series title.  Hmm...wonder what that could mean.  I had this one called as soon as it happened.

Then again, once I got past the beginning, this book did keep me turning pages.  I wanted to know what would happen next, and what the characters would do next.  Despite predicting the twist about Owen's "ability", I wanted to know more about it.

Uniqueness: ****Even though this book did contain overused dystopian elements of a futuristic overheated world, it still managed to differentiate itself.  It didn't involve a rebellion against some totalitarian government, which is a nice change of pace.  Also, it contained characters with unique abilities that I've never read about before.

Writing: ****The prose had nothing that would make me sit and reread a certain section just for the sheer beauty of it.  However, it still did a solid job of telling the story.  It kept me interested without seeming distanced, and didn't distract me from the story.  There was nothing awkward that I came across, and it was well-paced.  All in all, then, it was well-written.

Likes:"'We have to go deeper,' I said."
This amused me so much more than it should have. What is this, Inception?  You're waiting for a train, Owen.  A train that'll take you far away.  Okay, I'm done now.

Not-so-great: Nothing not already mentioned above.

Overall: I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, I never loved the characters, plot, or anything else.  It took awhile to grab my attention, and the characters started out a little stereotypical.  The more the story progressed, though, the more Owen become more three-dimensional, and the more the plot grabbed my attention.  Overall, this is probably more of a 3.5 star book, but I round up.  Four stars it is.

Similar Books: It involves teens and their day-to-day survival (kind of...this isn't really a survival story) like Monument 14, Life As We Knew It, or The Maze Runner.  It has teenagers gaining powers, like Gone.


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