As posted on booknook - YA and Fantasy book reviewsThe Lost Code is a book about Owen Parker. He’s a pretty normal guy who is far from perfect. He’s not overly confident, he doesn’t have a muscular build, and he’s a little awkward. Owen has been selected to live in EdenWest, which is a dome compound 6 kilometers in diamter that protects its 200,000 inhabitants from the destroyed ozone and dangerous levels of radiation. The story starts off with Owen drowning. But when he’s finally rescued, he should be dead according to all logic; he was drowning for 10 minutes. The fact that he’s even alive is the first hint that something isn’t quite normal…Soon enough, Owen discovers that his little water trauma caused him to grow gills! He’s not quite a merman, but he has the underwater breathing part nailed! He groups up with some similarly gifted friends and together they speculate: is this transformation a result of their time at Eden? Are they being experimented on? Or is this some kind of natural evolution?I adored this book! It kind of reminds me of Percy Jackson & the Olympians in the way that EdenWest is set up as a camp and that you have a few kids with special abilities. There are games, crafts, counselors, campers — including some that you’ll love to hate. These Eden domes are the only protection people have from the deathly sun and radiation, but some people worry that the integrity of the dome is failing, despite the camp director’s claims that “everything is fine.” So when Owen suddenly grows gills after his near-death drowning experience, he meets up with some likeminded campers and start to discuss the possibility of a conspiracy. Is Eden really what they say it is? Or is something darker taking place?Owen is a really awesome protagonist. It was refreshing to read from a male character's point of view. It also made the brewing romance great to read about. You know how girls obsess over guys, overanalyze everything, and wonder if they're doing or saying the right thing? We get a small glimpse into the male version of that! I also love how normal he is and how talking to girls doesn't come naturally for him.The Lost Code is a really unique story, full of conspiracy, deception, and an incredibly intriguing world. It’s the kind of book that makes you think. Since it’s all about environmental issues, I couldn’t help but constantly wondering, “Will our world be like this some day?” It’s a really fascinating thing to think about. It’s interesting to hear the story unfold, learn what happened as the ozone started getting destroyed, and see how people try to combat the issue and find “save havens” in the Eden compounds. Then, next to all that, Kevin Emerson brings in some Atlanean lore! How cool!This book is kind of slow moving. The first part is largely spent introducing us to the camp and letting us get a sense of what goes on. We quickly figure out who the camp bully is (Leech) and you’ll really love hating him. You’ll be screaming at Owen to punch Leech in the face or do other violent things. We also learn a lot about the state of the environment, the technology behind the compound, and so on. I can understand how it might be too slow for some pople. Emerson feeds us bits and pieces to keep us intrigued, but it might not be enough for you if you like a constant fast-paced story. But I was so intrigued by the history and all the information about Eden that it didn’t bother me too much. I was never bored with this story!One thing that did bother me was the way that Owen referred to his body or his brain or whatever. He described it as if he had technicians constantly monitoring his body and working his motor skills, etc. These “technicians” had a bit of a personality and even some dialogue. This first shows up in chapter one and my first reaction was that it was different, but interesting. But then, I thought it was a one time thing. It’s constant throughout the whole story and just became weird and annoying. It reminded me of Ana’s "Inner Goddess" in Fifty Shades of Grey. Here are two quotes from The Lost Code, the first describing what the technicians are, and the second an example of how they’re used:A feeling began to ache in my chest, a certainty: Owen, it’s time to breathe. The order was matter-of-fact, like there were little technicians inside my body, wearing yellow jumpsuits and monitoring all of my functions on glowing screens. That was how I always felt, like others were in charge of me, like I was just along for the ride.Come on, think! I told myself. The boat was nearing the Aquinara. We were headed back into the temple. There had to be something I could do to escape. You should check out the new memories, advised the technicians. We think they’re fascinating! They all turned back to a flickering screen. Then show me! I shouted at them.My second gripe is a bit of a spoiler so only click if you don’t mind spoiling the story! If you want a brief non-spoiling overview, then I’ll just say that I drew some assumptions with the whole Atlantean, ‘Owen growing gills’ thing and got really excited about it. Then it turned out quite different and it was a little disappointing for me.Early on in the story, Owen grows gills and is able to breathe underwater like a fish. From there, I had all these fishy, Atlantis, merpeople expectations — not all that different from Of Poseidon. It was awesome so far and I was psyched about what was to come! But all my hopes for that part of the book were crushed at the end when Owen’s gills suddenly disappeared. He spent half the book swimming like an almost-merman and then they were just gone. The whole transformation was written off as a temporary side effect of his body recognizing his Atlantean ancestry. I was just disappointed to have it all squashed so abruptly. I was hoping to see more developments with the whole underwater gill thing.This book is definitely worth reading. The dystopian environmental aspects are AWESOME and so fascinating to read about. Towards the end it also feels a lot like an epic adventure story. I’m really looking forward to the second book and can’t wait to learn more about the Atlantis lore!