“Sleeper Code” is a mix of a few sci-fi thriller premises with some interesting twists – some parts Bourne Identity, some parts “My Own Worst Enemy” (the Christian Slater series that was cancelled prematurely some time ago) – but intended for a young adult crowd. Tom is a home-schooled teen with a rare form of narcolepsy that disables him enough to sleep for days. But as he starts to test the boundaries of his condition and finally meets a girl his own age he likes, Tom realizes that his life isn’t what it seems at all, and that the harrowing nightmares that he has in his hallucinations might actually be real. Tom assumes a double identity, and his other half is a ruthless assassin involved with government oriented projects.
It’s a fast read once the story starts going, and I ultimately enjoyed watching it unfold until the very end. However, I thought the characters felt quite thin even for what is noted to be a chase/thriller story with some stark twists and turns. I did like the insight into Tom’s narcolepsy to an extent (which is one of the reasons I found this book to read because I wanted to research how many fictional YA protagonists have been depicted with the condition), though I felt it could’ve been given a little more conviction in the story – more urgency. The plot moves quickly, and the reveals are timed well, but there’s not as much development from the characters as there could be, and that’s speaking also for the secondary cast of characters surrounding Tom. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sniegoski has written an enthralling read for the target audience this book is meant for, but I think it still could’ve have stepped up the emotional resonance and development a notch, to make it an even more distinctive read.
I’m definitely going to look into the follow-up of this series, and I would recommend it for those that like fast reads in the vein of sci-fi, espionage, chase thrillers where identity conflict plays a significant role.
Overall score: 3/5