Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

The Firefly CodeMy name is Mori, and at the age of thirteen, we're told our genetic codes and have a surgery to reveal the latency, or special talent, locked in our brains. I love everything about plants, but I wonder what my latency will be. I live in New Harmonie where everyone works for Krita,  and I suppose someday I'll work for the giant corporation too. Oh! A new girl named Ilana just moved onto our cul-de-sac, and she's amazing! She's tall, beautiful, athletic, and she shares my interest with plants. However, my best friend Julia doesn't like her, and my other friends think she's different. I admit she's freakishly perfect and can't answer some questions about her past, but she's been a great friend to me. Ilana even agreed to enter the abandoned House Number 9 with me where a founder of New Harmonie once lived. I discovered some old files about Krita research, but I noticed a computer file that has me confused. I think it might have something to do with Ilana.

This book is a finalist for the 2016 Cybils Award in EMG Speculative Fiction. The setting is in the future where the citizens of New Harmonie are protected from the evils found outside the city. There's no starvation, people get what they need, and all of their medical needs are fulfilled. The kids are allowed to have some genetic modifications, and Mori had some done to correct her vision. The book addresses the ethical issues surrounding genetic engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. The plot isn't full of action, but the author slowly develops the conflict and keeps readers thinking. It moved a little too slowly for me, as I still wasn't sure of the conflict a fourth of the way into the book. I thought it was about the latencies, but that seem to take a backseat as I got further into the plot. Ilana became the main issue, but her problem slowly evolved. The last third of the book was much more engaging once the conflict became clear. However, the conclusion of the book left me with more questions than I wanted to answer. It felt unfinished.

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