The Bar Code Prophecy
3 Stars: A Good Read
Series: Bar Code #3
Hardback: 208 Pages
Publication: November 1, 2012 by Scholastic Press
Just as in the original Bar Code Tattoo, 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.
My initial worry with reading this book was that it would disappoint me like most sequels I have read. Surprisingly, I felt myself enjoying this third book in the Bar Code series more so than the first book.
Grace Morrow, a young woman of seventeen years of age, was not a character I clicked with in the beginning. She's your typical teen heroine with "normal" girl problems like crushes and so forth. This actually bored me upon reading the beginning. My problem with her is that she seems quite complacent with her life. She is a rule follower and does not seemed all that concerned with the loss of personal liberties as long as her family is doing well, but then the book is an exploration of her growth in the surrounding circumstances. In the beginning, Grace is going through the coming of age ritual every seventeen year old in the year 2026 faces: the bar code tattoo. To her, it means adulthood, but to others it means much more. The resistance, which is against the tattoo, sees it as an assault to personal human rights, a humiliation to genetical predestination, and the empowerment of an "evil" corporation that is trying to take over the world. It is after accepting this mark that Grace finally begins her journey towards the truth and her destiny.
Enter Eric Chaka: three-quarters Native American, a rising rock-climbing star, and the hottie of the novel. I like how his heritage is actually explored in the novel, and contributes to the prophetical twist. There seems to be intention to create a romantic relationship between Grace and Eric, but I feel that the storyline flows better when they try to overcome an obstacle together. When it comes to the scenes that are supposed to melt your heart into romantic ooze, Eric fell just a little flat. Eric’s strengths and sensibilities lie within the kind buddy scenes. Still, there are a few cheesy moments that brought a smile and a giggle to my face.
There is one moment that kinda feels like the author changed her mind regarding the plot halfway through the story. I was expecting a certain character to be a villain, but at the very last minute he turns out not to be. In fact, the response the potential villain gives to the questioning of his intentions for good deeds was not satisfactory at all. (Read for yourself and see if you can guess to what persona/section I am referring to.)
One thing that this book does effectively is geting you thinking of the effects big corporations have in our lives. I left feeling a certain sense of paranoia tinging the way I view today’s conglomerates. The moral of the story undoubtedly points a finger towards “evil” corporations, and reminds us that we are a part of everything and therefore we should respect ourselves and our surroundings.
Format wise, I thought the novel was a bit short to be divided into four sections. Still, I did enjoy the quotations the author included under the division pages; they really played out to each section they were associated with. Another thing I enjoyed was the inclusion of article pieces that gives the reader a bigger perspective of the story. Initially, I thought this might be too interruptive, but it truly gives the story an added dimension.
All in all, this was a book that grew on me. I would classify this book as a good read for a hot summer day. It’s a good book for just plain old passing time and/or chillaxin’.