Code: Virals, Book 3



Tory and friends fight serial killer in thrilling sequel.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This book introduces kids to various world religions and teaches them about mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kids are shown the psychological impact of war and the repercussions of bullying.

Positive messages

It doesn't matter which side of the battlefield a soldier is on, he or she will always be affected by memories of war. But love will always win over hate. 

Positive role models

Tory and her friends will stop at nothing to save their small community. Their bond grows even stronger when they are challenged by a terrorist who threatens the lives of their families and friends. When it comes down to saving their own lives or the lives of hundreds of others, the foursome proves to be completely selfless. 


The plot revolves around a terrorist who bombs public locations and releases lethal gas into a room full of people. One person is murdered and there is mention of hundreds of other victims. One scene takes place at a shooting range where AK-47s and shotguns are used. 


Tory is becoming a teenager and more aware of her body. For the first time she wants to appear "sexy."


Abbreviations of crude phrases are used, such as "FML" and "WTF." People are called names, such as "jackass" and "skank." 


Plenty of brand names here: SUV, Ford, Marlboro, Southern Comfort, Bud Light, Sunchips, Doritos, Diet Coke, and Nike.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

It's mentioned that Tory's mother was killed by a drunk driver. Teens get drunk at a party, but the brutal hangover the following day makes them not want to repeat the experience. One adult character chain smokes cigarettes.  

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Code is the third installment in the bestelling Virals series. This one is about four teens who fall victim to a terrorist attack. What begins as a treasure hunt for a hidden geocache turns into a deadly game devised by a serial killer. The violence includes bombs, guns, lethal gas, and a murder. There's also mention of countless victims whose lives have been taken. Parents should also know that this novel sheds light on issues of mental illness and the psychological effects of war and bullying. 

What's the story?

Tory Brennan and her three best friends share a common trait unlike anyone else: They are part wolf. Their wolf-like traits allow them to kick their senses into overdrive at anytime, giving them the ability to hear, smell, and see danger that's not apparent to the average human. These senses come in handy when the foursome discovers a hidden geocache that leads them straight to a bomb. A letter is attached to the geocache inviting the kids to play a little game. If the kids refuse to join \"The Gamemaster\" on his or her twisted ride uncovering puzzles and riddles, they run the risk of being killed or killing hundreds of others. The rules are clear: no police and no help. Will Tory and her friends solve the mystery in time to save their community? And more important, will they catch The Gamemaster before more innocent lives are lost?

Is it any good?


CODE, the exciting third installment to the Virals series, explores more mature themes than the first two books, Virals and Seizure. Authors Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs take readers on a thrilling ride that introduces them to complex ideas. The novel offers insight into mental illness and how it affects society, and delves deep into the psychological impact of war (one character is an American soldier who fought in Iraq).

Although Code involves serious concepts, it has the entertaining qualities that made the first two books such fun. Readers are introduced to Southern Belle society and the festivities of a debutante ball, where couples canoodle in plantation-style mansions. Just remember as you enter the iron gates, you never know who you can trust!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about mental illness. What are some different types of mental illness? How are these illnesses triggered? How does society help and care for those who suffer from mental illness?

  • How does Code compare with previous installments in the Virals series?

  • How do you think the paranormal aspect of the series mixes with gritty real-world issues like terrorism?

Book details

Authors:Brendan Reichs, Kathy Reichs
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Great girl role models, High school, History
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Putnam Juvenile
Publication date:March 12, 2013
Number of pages:416
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14
Available on:Paperback, Hardback, Kindle

This review of Code: Virals, Book 3 was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written bymtpleasantmom May 25, 2013

Awesome & Violent

I thought the book was amazing and am now reading the rest of the series. The book has suspension, deception, and action. There wasn't one part where my eyes weren't glued to the book. However there is a lot of violence you need to watch out for. There is a crazed lunatic who makes up these "games" where people are murdered. In this book, there are bombs, poison gasses, poison, snare guns, explosions, bombs, other riffles, and hurricanes. Also, high school kids get drunk at a party, there is at least one curse word every couple of pages, and there is a mention of smoking once or twice. On the other hand though, the main characters, Tory, Hi, Ben, and Shelton, show bravery, friendship, and loyalty as they work together to protect themselves, their families, and their community.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bygilly_boy October 27, 2013

Give it a read

There are a lot of things to like about this if you're into mystery. There is an amazing twists and some secrets reveled, plus the action. Although I think there will be a lot of complaints about the ending.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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