Elizabeth Anne Rao
Outskirts Press (2015)
ISBN 9781478759164
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/15)


“Code!” by Elizabeth Anne Rao is a story about wishes and being careful of what you wish for. An organization seeking to create the perfect “being” grants the wishes of the subjects involved in the experiment. It is Aiden Galonsworth’s wish to be able to read minds, and his wish is granted. Wishes are sometimes not all they are cracked up to be, as Aiden finds that he cannot control this power. His head constantly filled with the thoughts of other people, Aiden knows he must find a way to reverse this power. In an effort to get back to “normal,” Aiden goes on a quest to find the mysterious organization conducting the experiments and in doing so, meets several kids in the same situation. Banded together, the small group quickly realizes they are in over their heads, as the organization is determined to finish their mission, and will stop at nothing to deter the young group from standing in the way of so-called progress.

The storyline behind “Code!” is definitely out of the ordinary. The author spins the premise of Pandora’s Box into a fast-paced fantasy that also reads quite like a mystery/thriller. While certainly entertaining, and unique, I would like to have seen a bit more depth to some of the characters as I could not quite connect to them. I also think the book would benefit from another round of editing, as there are spelling and grammatical errors throughout the book. That being said, the issues I did find were not enough to take away from the gist of the story, just slightly distracting through the reading process.

Overall, “Code!” is an impressive first novel by up-and-coming young author, Elizabeth Anne Rao. It is an entertaining read, sure to be enjoyed by fantasy lovers of all ages, with the greatest appeal to the young adult crowd.

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