Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: The Clone Codes by The McKissacks

The Clone Codes
By Patricia C. McKissack, Frederick L. McKissack, and John McKissack

From the Publisher:

The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna’s entire life is thrown into chaos when the World Federation discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement. As startling family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.

The Clone Codes is set in a futuristic world where Earth now has the technology to clone humans and create cyborgs (humans with mechanical/electronic parts). The clones' skin is shaded certain colours to distinguish their purpose and cyborgs are stamped/tattooed to indicate there difference from "humans". Both of these new life forms, though, are deemed as less than human and are restricted from some parts of society.

Leanna attends a virtual school and as we start the book, she is running with slaves, attempting to escape to the underground railroad. This actually blends in beautifully with the story as we see more about The Liberty Bell Movement and what the restrictions placed on the cyborgs and the clones truly means.

I think this is an excellent story for kids around the 9-12 age range, when they are learning alot about history, especially slavery. We see many tie-ins between America's past and this fictional future world. There is an awesome summary at the back that reinforces the historical facts while differentiating the fictional parts that are woven through the book.

The Clone Codes is a book I probably wouldn't have picked up while looking around a bookstore. It does have a cute cover but I'm not sure the premise made it as appealing as it actually is. I'm very glad now that I've read it and will be passing it on to my daughter in a year or two, when she's a bit more involved in chapter books (this is something she's just beginning with in school.) I very much enjoyed the story and actually felt an open-endedness to it that could evolve into more from Leanna's world.


Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds really interesting -- and I am intrigued by the historical tie-ins.

Jackie said...

Stephanie - The historical parts really added depth to the book, considering it's a "middle-grade" book. It's quick and enjoyable :-)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Having history to learn of too. That sounds like a great book! I will have to talk with my so and see if this book seems like something he may want in the future. He has a few books here now that he is working on, but I am always looking into any future books for him.

Thanks for the great review.

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