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Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: The Bar Code Prophecy


The year is 2025 and the mysterious, ubiquitous, and seemingly omnipotent multi-national corporation, Global 1, is in power through their agent President Loudon Waters. But now this ominous situation is experienced through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Grace Morrow.

When Grace finds out that she's adopted, her biological father, who's the head of the Global 1 nano-bot injection project, urges her against getting the bar code tattoo when she turns seventeen. Stunned by the revelations, she goes home to find her adoptive family vanished, and she's determined to find them, turning to the anti-bar-code group Decode. As they uncover more information about tracking, Grace must hide deep underground and under cover, trying to discover information that will allow Decode to figure out what Global 1 is up to, and trying desperately to shut the organization down for good.


I'm kind of split on this book.  THE BAR CODE TATTOO, originally published 8 years ago (when I was just 20), was one of the few young adults novels I picked up before the upsurge in the market.  At the time it had been years since I read any other then the fantasies of Tamora Pierce, but Suzanne Weyn wrote titles in a bunch of Publisher Series I enjoyed and the cover was striking.  I really enjoyed it.

Its sequel, THE BAR CODE REBELLION, published in 2006 didn't quite peak my interest as much, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit (though I admit the bird-DNA splicing had me smacking my head a lot).  I didn't know Weyn was planning on another book.  In fact I only found out at this past Book Expo when I saw it being featured at the Scholastic Booth!  I was a bit iffy on it, since other then some ambiguous 'The fight must go on!' vibes I got from the second book I didn't remember it not being tied up pretty well. 

I want to say now I purposely didn't go back and re-read the first two books because I wanted to see how much I remembered (good news is I remembered a lot of the more important details).

On one level its vastly interesting to see that Global 1 just can't help itself and continues to be scum-suckers.  Its also nice to see how things ended up for Kayla, Mfumbe and the Decode movement.  However maybe because I'm older now, I'm kind of looking at this whole thing and saying 'Wait...no wait a second.'  Some of the logic doesn't hold up, nor does some of the science and certainly none of the believability.

Weyn jumps from point to point to point at a break-neck speed with little care for transitioning.  Which I probably wouldn't have had an issue with if it didn't mean it left a lot to be desired in terms of understanding the plot and characters.  Grace is...kind of fleshed out, with Eric getting the runner up position, but everyone else is pretty much dependent on how much the reader either a) remembers from the first two books or b) cares to read between the lines.