Book Review: The Lost Code (The Atlanteans #1) by Kevin Emerson

Author: Kevin Emerson

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: May 22, 2012

Rating: 5 stars – LOVED THIS TO PIECES!

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million


What is oldest will be new, what was lost shall be found.

The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy.

But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry . . . and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.

Kevin Emerson’s thrilling novel is Book One of the Atlanteans series—perilous adventures in a grimly plausible dystopian future, fueled by high-stakes action, budding romance, and a provocative question: What would you do if you had the power to save humanity from its own self-destruction? — Barnes & Noble


Okay, so I have no idea why I just did that ^^^ Ignore my weirdness.

It’s been weeks since I’ve read The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson, but the story still remains with me as vividly as if I had just finished reading it yesterday.

The novel begins with the male protagonist, Owen Parker, drowning on the first day of summer camp at Camp Eden. Yep. You read that right folks. Drowning. While Owen is struggling to stay alive he has a vision of a watery girl who leaves him with a cryptic message. Owen miraculously survives with only small lacerations on the side of his neck as the only sign of mortal harm. As the days pass, Owen discovers that the lacerations are gills and that he is part of an ancient race called Atlanteans.

I honestly loved the world that Kevin Emerson created. It’s a world set in the far future where the ozone has disintegrated -caused by it’s inhabitants (us), and fresh water is rising and evaporating at a rapid rate. The heat is unbearable and can cause life-threatening illness, which has sent mankind to live underground, away from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Camp Eden represents one of the habitual places left on earth, where there are simulations of the sky, sun, stars, ect. It was by luck that Owen was picked to go to Camp Eden, at least, that’s what we think at first.

And thus, Owen is thrust into a whirlwind of an adventure to figure out what lurks beneath the surface of Camp Eden’s true purpose and who he is.

Upon meeting Owen, we learn that he’s an awkward and mildly sarcastic teenage boy. I just loved his humorous commentary! It was, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about the novel. It was also uniquely done, in my opinion. Like his thoughts were engineered by people who were running his brain. It’s creative and one-of-a-kind! When it comes to Owen and his love interest, Lilly, I couldn’t help but melt into a puddle.

I found his character refreshing. Most YA novels consist of a bad boy now-a-days. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bad boys, but sometimes it gets a bit old…yano? I loved that Owen was a bit awkward and as the story progresses he sheds his skin a little. We see him slowly draw strength from himself and become a leader. He became an unlikely hero, and it’s that very fact that made me LOVE him.

Then there is Lilly, who has become one of my favorite YA heroines. Lilly is strong and feisty. She doesn’t take crap from boys and she stands firmly to her convictions. She has theories about Camp Eden and her “kind”, which aren’t always taken seriously by the others like her. On top of being part of an ancient race, Lilly is a cryo – children who were frozen at the beginning of the ozone layer breakdown by their families in a bid to save them. She’s been through a lot, but it does not deter her strength, which is something that I admire a lot.

Now comes from OWLY my crappy shipper name for Owen and Lilly. I loved their budding romance.Owen was always awkward and tongue-tied around Lilly. He didn’t know what to say half the time he was with her. Lilly found Owen interesting. He was different than the other boys she knew. I just loved their romance and practically died from the cuteness. It’s kind of like that feeling of your first crush. You don’t know what to do or how to feel. You just know that you like them a lot. That’s how I felt about OWLY. I also think that Owen and Lilly balance each other out. There’s a sheltered softness that is brought out from Lilly when she’s with Owen. There’s also a sort of strength that surfaces within Owen when he’s with Lilly.

I found the secondary characters to fully shape Owen and Lilly, but also to stand-alone on their own. They are all important to the story, and I liked that a lot because no character was left behind.

The Lost Code was bursting with unfleeting originality. Emerson writes a unique and clever novel with the basis of the Atlantis myth as foundation. It’s something I’ve never read before in a YA dystopian novel and it’s one the reason why I fell in love with Emerson’s creative and original world. I’m super stoked for the sequel The Dark Shore to hit shelves in May! It just can’t come fast enough. I must know what happens to Owen, Lilly, and Leech as they travel out into the plains of North America. The Lost Code had amazing character development, mystery, romance, twists, and surprising conclusions. It’s a novel that I would absolutely recommend to anyone! It’s thought-provoking with parallel’s between Owen’s world and ours that are uncanny but very much realistic.

Memorable quotes:

You know me, professional Owen saver.

I ate that first dinner quietly, thinking, Great, twenty-nine days left and I’ve already been identified, categorized, and labeled.

Well, you were all cute and pathetic. But it wasn’t pity. I was caring about you.

Time passed, unknowable amounts and I had no sense for it. There was just the blanket and grass, the cold of rain and the heat of Lilly like a small sun beside me, and we lay there until the clouds left and the SimStars reappeared.

Owen Parker, first a turtle, then a fish, now some kind of action figure…

Lilly and I could find that place and start over. Maybe even raise a gill family.

Lastly, I leave you with a song that Kevin Emerson wrote for The Lost Code. It’s absolutely brilliant!

Leave a comment


  1. Wonderful review, wonderful song, must check out this book! 😀
    (Also, it’s very uncommon to see men writing YA, right? So this is definitely on my to-read shelf for uniqueness) 😉

    • Yes it is! It’s kind of rare! You should also try reading The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. It’s about a zombie apocalypse but it’s also a bit more dark humor.

  2. Lakeshia Artis

     /  April 5, 2013

    I have the Infects sitting on my shelf right now. I will be reading that ASAP. Great review. I didn’t read too much of the spoilers.


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