Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can You Break the Code?

The Virals are not immune to trouble and adventure. In fact, both trouble and adventure seem to hunt them down and find them. In the third Virals novel Code, by Kathy and Brendan Reichs, we see how the superhuman pack reacts to a game that loses its "fun" appeal with the first bomb.

Tory Brennan is no stranger to adventure. After she and her three best guy friends, all of whom are the children of the scientists on the very island where they were exposed to a mad scientists experiment that turned them into a superhuman wolf pack, solved a crazy pirate's treasure hunt to find enough gold doubloons to save the island and LIRI, the lab, they became fairly legendary. Unfortunately, legendary still doesn't earn them any friends at the snooty private school that pegs them as "scholarship brats". But Tory and her friends Hi, Shelton, and Ben are too interested in their lives as Virals and the next adventure to care much about typical teen drama. 

When Hi starts geocaching, he is delighted to find a first time cache on Loggerhead Island, the very place where the research laboratory is located. Although his friends think geocaching is silly, when he finds an ornate Japanese puzzle box with a bizarre clue inside, they can't help but be intrigued by the thrill of the hunt. It takes them a while to break the clue, but their Flare doesn't let them down. While it might be invasive to be able to read one another's thoughts and act like a pack, they can't scoff at the benefits. But when they find the second clue, it seems they have stumbled upon a sick joke left by an even more disturbing individual who calls himself the Gamemaker. Now they must solve the clues int he time the Gamemaker gives them or they will be responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people. But the Gamemaker didn't plan on one very important detail when he targeted the Virals- a pack never gives up and never loses. 

This is such a fun, entertaining series. It really is perfect, good, clean fun for any reader, boy or girl, middle reader or young adult. Even adults would enjoy this fun series that keeps them guessing and trying to solve the mystery. I think the language is simple enough for lower skilled students, but the appeal is really in the fast-paced entertainment. You will be hard-pressed to find a reader who wasn't hanging on every situation the Virals found themselves in. The protagonist is fairly young, 14, so it might seem a little too young for a more mature reader, but I imagine they will quickly get sucked up into the excitement pretty quickly!

My one sticky wicket with this story was the final reveal at the end. I just didn't like it the way I have liked the big reveal of the evil mastermind behind the badness in the other books. This one was far less satisfying, but I still enjoyed the story. In fact, I am really looking forward to the next book. These books are so fast that I feel like I just devour them. Can't wait to devour the next! 

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