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The Vosarak Code: Alex Unlimited Volume 1    by Dan Jolley order for
Vosarak Code
by Dan Jolley
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Dan Jolley's first novel in his Alex Unlimited series, The Vosarak Code, is a solid, edge-of-your-seat SF suspense novel that young adults looking for a little escape will enjoy. This first original book published by Tokyopop's PopFiction imprint fits in well with the other series they offer with a fast-paced story geared towards teens, but also stands out with a main character to whom most American teens can relate, which is not always the case with similar novels translated from Japanese.

Plain, ordinary Alex Benno has a unique gift: she can summon parallel versions of herself from alternate realities. To Alex, though, this is more of a curse than a gift. The parallel versions, known as Alex Primes, are usually older, prettier, and more sophisticated than the real Alex, but whatever talent they posses, she loses whenever they are around. Because of this unique gift, Alex grew up as on orphan with the Bureau of General Operations, and always had someone watching her, even after she turned eighteen and was allowed her own apartment. Tired of being treated like a child and tired of the Alex Primes getting all the glory, she pleads with the Bureau Chief to let her handle the next case on her own with just the Alex Prime.

Since they all figure this is a relatively safe case just questioning some Parisian professors about the disappearance of the Vosarak Sword (a sort of Rosetta Stone for the ancient Vosarak language) in order to crack a computer virus that contains code in the strange language Alex and Rachel, the Alex Prime versed in Vosarak, are sent off on their own. However, the case is not as simple as everyone expected. An evil agency called SKAR is behind the theft and the virus, and have sent out zombie minions to guard the sword while the leaders go after Alex herself. While on the case, Alex falls for the mysterious David, who may just be her enemy. When Alex and Rachel become separated, Alex finds help from unlikely sources, including herself.

The Vosarak Code is a typical young adult novel in that through overcoming obstacles, the main character learns more about herself, making her a stronger person. It is untypical in its premise. The idea that Alex can summon parallel versions of herself is imaginative and very different from most of the other novels on the market. It will be interesting to see where Jolley takes this series as Alex becomes more confident in herself. The ending was solid, wrapping up the case that Alex and Rachel were on, but leaving enough open to make the reader want to read the next book in the Alex Unlimited series.

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