Following on from the previous successes of the George and Annie adventures, Lucy and Stephen Hawking bring us a new adventure, George and the Unbreakable Code. It starts off when a series of strange events start occurring around the world: Banks are handing out free money, supermarkets aren’t charging for their food, and aircraft are refusing to fly. George and Annie discover that the world’s biggest – and most important – computers have been hacked. They must travel deeper into space than they have before to figure out exactly who is behind it.
The very first thing that struck me about George and the Unbreakable Code was that it is veritably perfect for any young space-lover. The book is targeted and written just right for that intermediate age group that sits between child and teen, and generally has the brighter spark of interest in science-fiction. The Hawkings have taken an approach to the plot that allows the reader to get a large and extremely informative tour of space, which adds to the thrill greatly. I can only imagine how enthralling it must seem for the young space enthusiasts.
George and the Unbreakable Code also has plenty of merits that make it enjoyable for children not of the science enthusiast bracket. The story, though simple enough, still had a few twists that I didn’t see coming. The characters are your typical ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sets, and they carry out their roles splendidly. There is a certain humour that runs through the book that helps to lift the story.
My main criticism about George and the Unbreakable Code would be that the science non-fiction panels which are interspersed through the book, while informative and extremely interesting, are not the most effectively placed. As most of them are thrown in between random pages, it disrupts the flow of the story and the jolts the reader from the plot. The panels are, overall, a great idea and extremely complimentary to the book. Perhaps if these had been placed elsewhere, such as at the end or beginning of chapters, the effect wouldn’t have been compromised.