DiscoverAction & Adventure

CodeY

By

Not for me 😔

Troubling messaging within the book, kept me from getting behind this story

Synopsis

Finding the perfect partner is easier said than done.

Initially about three friends in search of their perfect genetic matches, the story takes a dark turn when one friend undermines another for the sake of science. In the end, the parents and their children must come together to save the world from evil forces.

Codey by Lamar Rutherford is a sci-fi romance turned adventure thriller turned military sci-fi. The structure of the book is unique because it is divided into three parts. The first part which focuses on the three friends and medical professionals on their quest to find the perfect match. The second part has the three friends partnered and with children but some struggling with their relationships. While the latter part is more tightly focused on the results of the CodeY experiment: kids with unique abilities.


Unlike traditionally published books that usually follow a strict dos and dont’s formula, this one doesn’t. Which makes for positive surprises, and some that weren’t so positive for me. The author did a superb job in bending and twisting different genders into this book. In fact, this book could be split into the three respective parts and fall into three different categories in any bookstore or library—even different age groups. Adults who enjoy romance would love the first part of the book. Readers that are into sci-fi thrillers would dig the second part, and young readers would be into the third, as they read about a bunch of kids fighting bad guys.


However, there were some spots in the book I didn’t care for. The dialogue at the beginning, while the romantic leads are getting to know one another, lacked emotional depth. I found it unrealistic that two characters comfortable with each other kept referring to the other by their first names within the dialogue. By relying mostly on conversation with little to no action beats, the dialogue felt more melodramatic than emotional in the first and most romantic part of the book.


In the last part of the book, two girls are raped (it is not shown only told after it happens), and I found the dialogue in this scene troublesome because it felt unrealistic and gave a dangerous message. By choosing to rely on dialogue instead of showing inner turmoil, the author made the brief scene where the reader finds out two of the characters were raped unrealistic. Choosing to focus only on the emotion of anger, the author didn’t give the moment or character the complexity it deserved. As a Victim Advocate, I know anger is not the only emotion felt after a rape; in fact, it is an array of emotions that go through the victim, sometimes in waves. Each victim is different in how they manifest these emotions. This was not depicted in the book.


When the second victim uses the word ‘gentle’ to describe her experience, and the adults have a quick discussion on how to address this, I find that messaging dangerous to young girls reading it. Rape violates a person’s human right, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly in real life nor in a book. Unless rape is detrimental to the story, I don’t think authors need to use it, because often these traumas are not given the word count it needs. The plot nor the ending would have suffered if the author would have left this scene out.


While these were troubling parts for me, I can acknowledge that there were some good ones in the book. I particularly liked the banter between friends. When a dialogue didn’t require emotional complexities, the author did a magnificent job of conveying sarcasm, quick jokes, and banter between the characters. She gave the characters unique personalities, and in a book with so many of them, I applaud her for this feat. Playing polo, visuals, and tidbits of information about different parts of the world were things that I enjoyed reading. The author did well with these descriptions and all scenes that included action. Again, fans of military thrillers and action-adventure books will not be disappointed when they read the book, particularly those scenes.


Perhaps because I loved the action scenes so much that I felt it was cut too short when it jumped straight into the award ceremony, without a complete closing of the military fighting scene. While the end amused me because the gang was back together after the fight, reading how the young girl that was raped, was now pregnant, held me back from fully enjoying the moment. Not because she was pregnant because that is a possible outcome but because she spots and glances at her rapist in the crowd with romantic feelings. Again, this is a problematic message that paints rape and rapists in a romantic light. 

Reviewed by

I am an MFA Creative Writing grad student and an avid reader who knows a thing or two about a good story. I enjoy characters that are as real as the humans I know. I'm a sucker of magic, and witchy things, but I will read it if it has a good blurb. A great cover will catch my eye every time.

Synopsis

Finding the perfect partner is easier said than done.

Initially about three friends in search of their perfect genetic matches, the story takes a dark turn when one friend undermines another for the sake of science. In the end, the parents and their children must come together to save the world from evil forces.

Love Story? – 2022

The pounding of her feet on the treadmill was almost mesmerizing. Keece focused her attention on making the sound of each footstep exactly the same, in perfect rhythm. She could adjust it ever-so-slightly by the way she rolled her toes and each part of her foot on the tread.

“How are you doing Keece?”

The familiar voice startled her. She almost faltered, coming out of her semi-trance. Her cardiologist, Doctor Coleman Janson, was young and handsome, his smile warm and bright against his dark skin, his demeanor comforting, naturally inspiring trust. Beneath his lab coat, she suspected he was in great shape, strong and compact; more inspiration for her to perform well on her heart fitness test.

Keece, a little breathy, replied, “I’m okay. Starting to feel a little winded.”

Cole watched her, musing to himself that she hardly looked winded, and her performance was already in the 95th percentile, the equivalent of an Olympic athlete. He had not seen results this strong in a long time, but he kept his face expressionless. He knew better than to influence a patient’s results, and he could tell simply by watching her that she had a competitive nature that would kick in if she could assess how she was doing. But, none-the-less, he was impressed.

As he left, he told her, “Okay. See how long you can keep going. We’ll gradually increase the intensity, and then stop when your heart rate gets to 160.”

She slid back into her semi-trance, trying to make every step perfectly even, her short blonde ponytail swishing rhythmically across her strong shoulders. She had always been in shape, but not overly fit like the gym-rat bodybuilder types. She had come in for the test because her mom had a heart irregularity. Mom was still healthy in her early seventies, but they monitored her carefully. Keece’s general physician had suggested the test as a precaution.

Several minutes later, Cole returned. “Okay Keece, start to ease up. We’ll start to slow it down.”

As the pace eased up, she stepped off gingerly, holding the rails so as not to slip back as the track continued turning. She’d witnessed that kind of dismount and it never ended well. She turned to the doctor and asked, “How did I do?”

Cole smiled warmly, “Very good. Okay, if we run a few more tests?”

“Sure, fine,” she agreed, ignoring the faint tingle of apprehension at the back of her neck, more tests sounded like they may not be sure she did “very well.”

She was so outstanding on the heart test that Cole was interested to see if she was also as strong in other areas. He tested her coordination, reflexes, ability to jump, everything he could without raising too much suspicion. He could see by her slightly perplexed look that she wondered what the tests had to do with her heart, but at the same time, she seemed to enjoy the challenges.

Cole, mused, it always surprised him what people would do simply because their doctor asked them to. He could see how a bad physician could easily take advantage of a patient. Maybe he was a bit guilty of that himself in this case, but he needed the data on her other abilities to determine if she might be the right match. He knew his friend Radi would want a full report. He briskly moved through several more tests, including collecting a DNA sample, hoping to get through them before she started asking questions.

 

After testing as much as he could without making things awkward, Cole stated, “So, you’re in really good shape.”

She replied, a little surprised, “Thanks. That’s good to hear. I gather that means my heart is okay?”

Cole smiled, realizing he had forgotten to mention that. “Yes, your heart’s in excellent condition.”

Keece, relieved, replied, “Well, staying in shape is sort of a job requirement. I have a business that creates and sells virtual reality games for fitness.”  

Cole laughed. “Ah, I get it. Makes sense that that’s a requirement. If only all my clients had that kind of motivation.”

After a pause, he continued measuredly, “So is that your workout, doing your games?”

“Actually, I mostly do yoga or a Pilates type workout on my own, and then I play polo,” her eyes brightened as she mentioned polo, clearly showing her enthusiasm for the sport.

Cole surprised, replied, “Polo? Real polo? As in on a horse?”

She laughed. “Yah, the real thing. I started playing a few years ago and now I’m completely hooked. It’s funny how people have become so much more aware of it thanks to the Patron Polo VR game,” she said, imitating the distinctive game announcer voice as she said the name. “When I talked about polo before, people would always ask if it was water polo.”

Cole replied enthusiastically, “Oh man, I play Patron Polo all the time with my friends. We love that game! But I can’t imagine what it’s like to play the real game. That is so cool!”

“I love it. The strategy, the team, the horse…and it keeps you in great shape. The only drawback is that it’s not good for the wallet,” Keece replied with a guilty grin.

Cole smiled at her self-indulgence. “Sometimes, you just gotta do what you love.”

After a slight pause, he continued with curiosity, “Do you have kids?”

Keece a little surprised by the abrupt subject change and personal questions, “No, I never got married. I almost did once. I guess that’s not a pre-requisite for having kids these days, but I never really wanted to do it alone, without a partner.”

“So, no boyfriend?” Cole sounded surprised but tried to ask casually, trying to confirm her status without seeming too interested.

Keece, wondering slightly if he was hitting on her, replied, “I do kind of have a boyfriend.” The doctor did not really seem like he was interested, but why would he ask about her personal life?

Cole pressed her, “Kind of?” Giving her a teasing, questioning look.

Keece looked slightly uncomfortable but smiled a little guiltily as she answered, “I shouldn’t say ‘kind of,’ we’ve been dating for a year now, but he’s much younger, too young for me to take too seriously.”

Cole gave her a questioning look. “Too young. Is that possible? I thought you ladies liked a young stud.”

“He’s in his late 20s. Really young!” she said emphatically and with a big engaging grin. “Fortunately, he looks and acts older, but I know one day he wants to have a family, and by then, I’ll probably be 60,” she said with a giggle.

Cole marveled to himself, wow she has such a beautiful smile, this guy probably thinks he’s a very lucky guy. Cole was pretty sure there were a lot of younger guys who would be interested in dating a woman like Keece.

Cole responded supportively, “Good for you!” To himself, he thought not so good for our experiment, but it sounds like a hurdle that might be surmountable.

He then asked, “Do you want a family?”

Keece shook her head, “It’s not that I don’t, or I should say, didn’t want a family, but I’m probably too old now. And I don’t think he’s planning on kids anytime soon.”

Cole trying not to show he was relieved to hear she would be open to having a family asked another question, “How’d you two meet?”

Keece looking a bit sheepish, knowing her answer sounded cliché. “He’s my polo instructor. He’s a pro from Argentina. He taught me for over a year before I realized he was interested. Even then, I had to be convinced, but we have a lot of fun together. He’s a good guy.”

Cole, despite his own ideas, replied encouragingly, “Well, I think you go with it. Life is short. If you’re havin’ fun, enjoy the ride.” Then to himself he added, at least until we find you a better option.

They both smirked a little at the riding reference. Then Cole wrapped up their appointment, telling her they would have her official results in a few days, but that she seemed to be in great health, nothing to worry about.

She thanked him and then added, “You should try real polo sometime. Or at least come and watch a real match. They have them every Sunday in Del Mar over the summer.”

Cole paused and then smiled warmly, replying as he left the room, “Thanks. I might just do that.”

About the author

Lamar Rutherford felt compelled to write and share this story. Her love of the craft is evidenced by her unique fiction style, weaving action-adventure with a romantic twist. As a debut fiction author, Lamar drew on her world travels, many adventures, and love of polo to create this novel, CodeY. view profile

Published on April 15, 2020

110000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by

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