This story begins in September, 2170. Thirteen-year-old Leanna Deberry has always thought of herself as a normal girl. When her mother runs frantically into the house one day, Leanna's life changes forever. Leanna's mother is an award-winning child psychologist and on this frightening day she is the first of many to be arrested and charged with treason.
The recently elected High Chancellor of The World Federation of Nations, Taylor Graham, is making good on his campaign promise to capture and prosecute dissident organizations. The Liberty Bell Movement, of which Leanna's mother is a member, wants to free clones "Seconds" from slavery and make cyborgs (humans with some artificial parts) equal to Firsts. Currently clones are concocted creatures produced by the Topas Corporation. They are hairless with skin color-coded to identify their function. (Such as powder blue skin for a domestic clone.) They have numbers instead of names, are only educated enough to fulfill their assigned tasks, and usually have a twelve-year life span.
With her mother arrested for being pro-clone, Leanna finds herself on the run with little more than a small backpack and her commglasses. Graham sics a ruthless bounty hunter, Joe Spiller, on Leanna to bring her in for questioning. But Leanna carries proof that clones are sentient beings and must keep it out of the government's hands.
Leanna must use her wits to evade those who would turn her in for a huge reward, bounty hunters, flesh-eating machines, and the law. She finds help in some unlikely places from sympathetic people with interesting resources and devices - not all of which are legal.
**** FOUR STARS! For me, the coolest items in this story are Leanna's commglasses and memory stick. The commglasses are a link to the virtual world. History would be much more interesting if I could put on a pair of commglasses, enter the virtual world, and actually feel as though I am living through events as they happened! As for the memory stick, it lets you see a picture and FEEL whatever emotion you were experiencing when it was made. These devices are not unrealistic either. Technology today is more advanced than you would believe. In fact, cloning an animal was successfully done long ago.
Time wise, this title covers the last three months in the year 2170. This appears to be the first in a series following Leanna's life. Anyone from the age of ten to adult will enjoy the story; however, the price of the book is high. This has been released in hardback, with the normal hardback price tag, but the tale is less than two hundred pages. (Around 173 pages.) The story stops in a good place, but the plot is left wide open. My advice is to wait for a paperback version. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
In the year 2170, a hundred years after the Cyborg wars, humanity has had peace and prosperity, and yet things are not as rosy as they seem. Cyborgs are only considered 3/5 human and do not have many rights. Clones have even fewer. For the global Clone Code states:
"The Clone Codes:
Clones are living organisms patented by Topas Corporation International. All rights are reserved.
* All clones are to be identified by numbers or alphanumeric designations. The use of names is restricted.
* Clones have no rights under a court of law and are recognized solely as property.
* Groups of clones in excess of three are not permitted without direct human supervision.
* Attempting to educate a clone beyond its work model specifications is forbidden and punishable in accordance with article 3C74.
* The manufacture of a clone in the likeness of a child is a capital offense.
* Imprinting the ability to mimic human emotions into a clone's behavioural patterns is forbidden.
* A clone that disobeys a direct order must immediately be taken to a processing center for decommissioning.
* Instructing a clone to lie is restricted.
* Since clones are not citizens, they may not participate in elections.
Issued by the Clone Humane Society, the government agency for the protection and processing of clones."
The story focuses around a group called the Liberty Bell, modeled after and a continuation of the abolitionists' movement, founded by Benjamin Franklin. He was contacted by the O - observers from the future who have appeared from the future to humans at different points in history to help foster freedom and liberty for all humans. Those contacted are called Custodians they are shown truths and help lead and guide the Liberty Bell movement to work for human freedom. The Custodians are Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911), Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), Dr. David H. Montgomery (2057-2142) and an unknown child who will be contacted in 2170. Our story is also the story of Leanna Deberry; she is a 13 year-old girl, going to school and hanging out with friends. Then her world is shattered. Her mother, world-renowned child doctor Annette Deberry, is arrested for treason and terrorism for her role in the Liberty Bell group. Soon Leanna finds herself on the run and with unusual help. She finds out the truth about a family secret that shatters her perception of herself and her world view.
This is an amazing book and the first in a trilogy by the McKissacks. It is fast- paced and gripping. Once I picked it up I did not want to put it down and read it in 2 sittings. In part, it is a retelling of the antislavery story in a future setting; it uses historical characters and their lives and examples in a different context much like the books in the 39 Clues Series. But it is also partially a retelling of antislavery and antiracism much like Sven Lindqvist's The Skull Measurer's Mistake, but in a fictional setting. It is well researched and very well written. It even has a bit of a Blade Runner feel to it that will make it intriguing to older readers.
Overall I would say it was an excellent book, which I could not put down. I highly recommend it to young and old alike. I am eagerly awaiting the second book which will be told from a cyborg's perspective - a young man named Houston Ye, one of the people to help Leanna.
Note: Preview of book 2 states:
"By order of the World Federation of Nations (WFN), as of January 1, 2084, all persons who have been enhanced with three or more biofe, or synthetic body or organ replacements, shall be classified as three-fifths of a human being, or a cyborg.
The Cyborg Act of 2130
For the security and general welfare of the cyborg race, these protections have been established on this the 7th day of October, 2130.
The Cyborg Codes
* All cyborgs must be registered with the Bureau of Cyborg Affairs (BCA).
* Those that are cyborgs must live within designated areas set aside on the Moon Colony. If a cyborg desires to live or work elsewhere, it must acquire BCA permission.
* It is mandated that cyborgs may not serve as officers in the World Federation of Nations' defence forces or serve in any national law enforcement agencies.
* Cyborg children must attend one of four cyborg academies based on test scores and abilities.
* All cyborgs over the age of 16 must be employed.
* Cyborgs need permission from the BCA to marry or have children.
* The BCA will provide cyborgs with medical insurance and health-care needs.
* Cyborgs cannot inherit real property.
* Cyborgs can only participate in amateur or professional sports within the Cyborg Leagues."
Looks like it will be another great one.
The Clone Codes Trilogy:
The Clone Codes - Book 1
Confessions of a Cyborg - Book 2 (February 2011)
Unnamed - Book 3 (February 2012)
What if everything you thought you knew was a lie?
Leanna Deberry lives in a world where Cyborgs and clones are real. They are compared to the slaves of the Confederate days. They have no rights and are there to serve the Firsts. Leanna's mom has always been an activist to gain them rights. Leanna never understood her mother's side of the argument. At least not until the day the biobots came for her mom.
Leanna is forced to run and seek help from her mother's long-time friend and partner, Doc Doc. Doc Doc provides Leanna with the technology to answer her questions about the Liberty Bell secret society that Doc Doc and her mother have joined. It is Doc Doc who arranges for Leanna's journey to safety. It seems that Leanna's safety is the priority for the Liberty Bell. She is the evidence they need for their cause.
With the surprising aid of a clone (who are programmed to never lie) and a Cyborg, Leanna must face truths that are the opposite of her beliefs. As her quest to safety intensifies, Leanna's journey has only begun.
THE CLONE CODES is set in the not-too-distant future. Using comparisons to past historical events, the McKissacks' weave an intricate science fiction fantasy. THE CLONE CODES is the first part of a planned trilogy. Unfortunately, this is also one of those books where it's hard to give too much description of the story without giving away the surprise twists that are in store for the reader.
THE CLONE CODES reads quickly and, with shorter chapters, younger readers will eagerly scoop this one up. I'm already looking forward to the sequel that will revolve around the Cyborg, Houston, that assists Leanna in her escape.
Reviewed by: Jaglvr
on 10 February 2010
This book is aimed at early teen readers, and hits that mark fairly well, but this does mean that most adult readers might find this a little spare and too simplified.
In the year 2170, clones are treated very much like slaves, and are required to be specially marked (mainly through obvious body changes, such as blue skin). The book follows thirteen-year old Leanna, who at the beginning of this book feels that this treatment of clones is appropriate (if she thinks about it all), but who suddenly has her world turned upside down when her mother is arrested for treason. What follows next is a series of adventures and harrowing experiences that help open Leanna's eyes both to the truths of her world and its parallels to the history of the United States as exemplified by people like Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.
While Leanna's growth as a person is done fairly well, I did find the plot was somewhat marred by too many coincidences and somewhat inadequate thinking by the 'bad guys' along with a somewhat rushed exposition. In addition, the ending does not fully resolve all the issues, probably indicating that there might be a sequel planned, but as it stands it left me feeling a little let down and without a feeling of completeness. The world McKissack builds here is fairly well done, showing some very interesting gadgets, the most impressive of which would make great teaching aids.
A reasonable book for its intended audience, which might help expand a young person's awareness of the issues of slavery and prejudice based on perceived difference, but lacking robustness of development and with too weak an ending to fully grab.
---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)