Cover Image: The Oracle Code

The Oracle Code

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Member Reviews

Unfortunately, this book just did not hit the mark for me. The pacing was far too slow. I enjoyed the bones of the plot, but felt it fell flat several times.

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Fun but a bit too quick and tidy, like a Scooby Doo episode. It's a small complaint though, really, because I'll always love Babs so...

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Woow this one was also amazing. Loved the artwork and the story and strong portrayal of Barbara Gordon while suffering from her disability

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This was a great ya graphic novel in the DC universe! I loved the mystery plot as well as the characters. Barbara coming to terms with her disability was also super good. Would love to see another volume in this line.

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Note: I'm not particularly into superheroes, and I'm not familiar with Oracle. I read this because I like graphic novels and think Marieke Nijkamp is awesome.

For me, not being a huge fan of a decent portion of the superhero novels (not because they're bad but because they're not as much my thing - no shade), I was very pleasantly surprised with The Oracle Code. Partially, I do think that's because this is a less super kind of superhero book. There's not really anything outlandish or out of the ordinary in this book. Babs' power is hacking, intelligence, and tenacity. For readers looking for the usual superhero antics, I could see this being boring, but personally I was into it, and I think it makes a really great statement that these teens are able to save the day as they are without powers or futuristic toys.

The plot consists of Barbara Gordon being sent by her father to ACI (Arkham Center for Independence) which is basically a live-in physical and mental therapy center to help kids recover and regain independence. Mostly this book is about Babs coming to terms with the ways that she has changed but also realizing that deep down she's still who she was in a lot of ways and that she's still very capable. The book's all about fighting ableist attitudes, down to the predictable plotting, which is simple but effective.

Graphic novels are short, so this is somewhat limited in scope and drama, but I think it accomplished what it set out to very effectively. Quite enjoyable, and I'll definitely read more of these if Nijkamp writes them. Preitano's artwork is also excellent.

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A well told origin story for Barbara Gordon, with depth and appeal . The story is well paced, though characters could be more fleshed out, and the mystery is intriguing.

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The Oracle Code is the tale of Barbara Gordon as she works to rediscover herself in the wake of a shooting that put her in a wheelchair. Through the story she makes new friends, learns more about herself, and uncovers a dark mystery at the center where she is recovering.

I found this story to be interesting, and the mystery to be fascinating. It speaks on a number of ideas and themes and while I think it generally does a good job with them, it never quite convinced me of this being a Barbara Gordon story. That said, I think the young readers it's aimed at will enjoy it, and be able to take quite a bit away from it.

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THE ORACLE CODE visits Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl and Oracle) in her teens after an accident that paralyzes part of her body. Now using a wheelchair, Barbara enters the Arkham Center for Independence for physical and mental rehabilitation. Though she is supposed to be healing, too much is happening at the center for Barbara to relax, from missing patients to the strange sounds. As Barbara tries to solve the mystery around her, she might find that the even bigger mystery is herself.

As a huge Barbara Gordon fan, I was so excited to read this title from DC Ink, especially since Marieke Nijkamp tells the story. Mijkamp takes what readers love about Barbara, her tenacity, her cleverness, and her courage, and gives her a fantastic new story. I love how sharp and biting she can be, while also being caring, loyal, and brave as she stays at the Arkham Center. The fellow patients around her as a complex and three-dimensional as she is, even if Barbara is slow to open up to them.

In addition to the excellent depiction of a beloved character, the disability representation is one of my favorite parts of THE ORACLE CODE. It feels authentic and real, never veering into “inspiration porn” territory or treating Barbara’s circumstances like the worst tragedy imaginable. It examines the emotional struggles of what society deems being disabled to mean versus what it actually means. Though there isn’t a wide range of representation in comics, disabled superheroes do exist, and Barbara/Oracle’s story is a great addition to the canon.

With suspense, tentative friendship, and a powerful ending, THE ORACLE CODE tells a new and exciting story of Barbara Gordon.

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Barbara "Babs" Gordon is out hacking one night with her best friend, Benjamin. After they're finished their challenge, there's a robbery a few blocks away and Babs prepares to go to the crime to check on her father. When she gets there, she's shot, paralyzing her from the waist down. In an attempt to get her help for her new life as well as the trauma she experienced, her father, Commissioner Gordon, sets her up in the Arkham Center for Independence. Right from the start Babs doesn't trust the large old facility. It has secrets. There are the sobs at night and the sleepwalking patient who she slowly befriends. When her new friend disappears, Babs is determined to crack the code to the old facility.

This book is a new spin on how Oracle came to be. The main points are still there: Barbara is shot and paralyzed from the waist down. The parts that are tweaked include her age (she's definitely a teen), that she's into coding already, and that this is potentially before her time with Batman.

That's right, there is NO BATMAN in this book. At all. There's a reference to a Robin doll but as far as Batman goes, he is not here. It is a story focused solely on Barbara Gordon.

I cannot speak for the various paralyses depicted in this book. There are wheelchair users, crutch users, and a variety of disabilities in this story, but the facility is a rehab of sorts for people who need to adjust, build strength, and potentially overcome trauma. Babs arrives angry. She is angry that things have changed and she knows it won't be the same. She wants some of those same things back but she wants to stop being treated as fragile or someone to be afraid of. The facility, on the surface at least, only wants what's best for the patients and to see them succeed.

What's incredibly interesting to me is that if one were to remove Barbara Gordon, Gotham, and the Batman Universe, this story could belong to any character. The various disabilities are not necessarily at the forefront of the story. Everyone wants everyone to be their best and it is a story of friendship and healing from trauma and grief. This is truly where this book's strength lies.

The illustrations are well done. The use of broken puzzle pieces with fragments of memories or thoughts are a wonderful tool to express what's on Babs's mind or when she's "falling apart." Her narrative is in white text on a red background which, while artistically a nice touch, has me worried for readers who will find that combination difficult to read. When Jena tells some odd stories, the illustrations change to reflect that it is a story. What's neat is that there are three distinct styles used and some are done on lined notebook paper, firmly setting these stories as stories.

Overall, I enjoyed this and highly recommend it. It's a mystery of a creepy old building and disappearing patients set in Gotham with a character people recognize. Due this recognition, it opens the door and shows others a character who is both like and also unlike ourselves. This book deserves a place on all library shelves that serve tweens and teens.

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This is the Barbara Gordon I love. I like her as Batgirl, but I love her as Oracle. This isn’t the first story where Barbara becomes paralyzed, either. I love the disability and diverse representation in this story. And most of all, I love that Barbara doesn’t give up. Even at the beginning when it seemed she wanted to. These original graphic novels by DC have been a lot of fun and are loaded with positive messages for everyone.

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This origin story focuses on Barbara Gordon, computer hacker and daughter of the police commissioner of Gotham City. After become injured due to gun violence, she is unwillingly taken to a rehabilitation facility by her father. Reserved at first and fighting fear, she feels isolated since she has not heard from her best friend. When another resident, looking for her brother, starts visiting Barbara at night and sharing creepy stories, she decides to put her puzzle-solving skills to work. At the same time, she starts to rediscover herself and a new community of friends. The message of wholeness while living as a person with a disability is very clear. Barbara stands out on each page with the yellow wheels of her wheelchair and her expressive countenance.. I appreciated how the different times of day (or locations) are highlighted with certain colors (ex. night with blues and purples and day with yellows and oranges). Large yellow and orange puzzle pieces double as glimpses into parts of the mystery and visual aids for dividing up the chapters. A fulfilling read for fans of illustrated mysteries and thrillers.

This review is based on the published graphic novel. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-galley. My reviews and opinions are my own.

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DNF- read only up to 20%, this was just not for me. Nothing wrong with the story or writing, just not my taste

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was not able to downooad this hence I cannot give a proper review. The format was not correct for my device. My sincerest apologies!

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This was an enjoyable read. The artwork was fun and had color themes and puzzle pieces integrated throughout. I appreciated that the students' disabilities were not talked about as deficits that need correcting (aside from the villain of the story). Some things felt vague or unexplained, but it was overall a good story.

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Thanks to DC and Net Galley for the ARC. These YA Elseworlds takes on DC characters have, for the most part, been quite good. This one is good too. It isn’t perfect, but it is very inspirational and it captures Babs’ spirit. Babs is one of my favorite characters and the more folks get to know her, the more they will like her. This take on her injury is much more kid friendly. Honestly, this book would be perfect for tweens not just teens. The art is spectacular and there is a lot of visual storytelling. The puzzle pieces on the pool surface was particularly amazing. Give this to a kid who wants to get into comics but who is not ready for the regular DC universe quite yet.

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Review will be available on my blog, The Reading Fairy on 6/8/2020

TW: Blood, Gunshot wound, mention of hospitalization, Trauma, Eugenics, hospital imagery, violence, house fire (past)

Rep: physical disabilities (walking sticks, wheelchair), disabled MC, POC side characters, Muslim disabled side character

"I always thought I'd be fearless. I'm not. I don't think I'll ever be. And that's okay. Maybe Issy is right-if I were fearless, I wouldn't care enough. It's fear that keeps us sharp, that keeps us going, that keeps us figuring out the unknown."

I've been eyeing this book for a while-mostly because it's really rare to see a girl in a wheelchair and the fact that from a lot of reviews I have seen, and online on her website-is that this book is ownvoices. The author is indeed queer and doesn't have LGBTQ content in this book, but her other books do, which is why I'm putting it during Pride Month.

I'm not ownvoices at all so I can't tell if the rep is truly good, but if this is by an ownvoices author-it's usually somewhat good instead of falling under harmful reps.

I'm not too familiar with superheroes or the Oracle at all-so this was really good. I loved that this book explored Barbara's disability and how difficult it seemed, before she accepted it. It was also really nice to see the explorations that disabled people do not need to be 'fixed', and if something was taken away-you're simply you as you have been.

Her character was really decent, and I didn't really mind her. I didn't have too much of a connection with her, but I love that she hacks to figure out a mystery that is going on in ACI, to figure out why people keep disappearing from the walls.

I did like the mystery that was surrounding it. I think it was pretty good with the clues that were told to her to help solve the mystery. Also, the fact that she knew something was really up was really cool. The mystery and how people can not be trusted.

I've been eyeing this book for a while as this book is an ownvoices disabled author who is also queer. As I'm not ownvoices, I do not know how good the rep actually is, but it is by an ownvoices. I'm not too familiar with superheroes, but I like that Barbara had to accept herself and realize that she is still herself despite being newly disabled. I didn't had too much of a connection with her, but I loved that she is a hacker and wants to solve the mystery around the ACI.

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Our first glimpses of Barbara Gordon is of her hacking with her best friend in the middle of the night and her daring attitude. After a shooting accident though (where she came running to help her father), you only see a few shattered moments of what happened.
The next time we see Barbara she's broken and dealing with being handicapped from the accident.

Its right off the bat got you worried and caring about the protagonist while trying to piece together everything as she moves into a special rehabilitation center specifically for handicapped kids.

And then Barbara starts to notice and come across some odd and concerning things during her stay- things no one else sees as a problem or gives different chilling responses to.

The plot and story were intriguing and had a good mystery and suspense-feel. Which honestly kept me going more than the main character for some of the book.
We piece things together bit by bit, stakes rise, and I really liked the 'reveal' and climax part the absolute most!!

Some of the side characters I wasn't sure about at first, if they were secretly evil or what, but as I got farther in it became clear and I was rather happy with the outcomes!

There was really no mention of Batman or anything. It's strictly about Barbara and her overcoming the biggest obstacle that she thought was never supposed to happen to her.
Going in, I had wanted at least a mention of the superhero we all know but then I honestly am much happier without it taking over Barbara's spotlight story.

4 stars!!

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3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. There's a lot to like about this story, but it fell a little flat for me. Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham City's Police Commissioner James Gordon, gets shot and becomes paralyzed from the waist down. Her father sends her to the Arkham Center of Independence for mental and physical rehabilitation, to help her deal with her new situation. While there, she makes some new friends, reconnects with an old friend, and solves the mystery of the creepy goings-on happening at the facility.
What I liked: there's really good disability rep, driving home the idea that disabled people aren't broken, and they don't need to be "fixed." Barbara's struggle with coming to terms with her disability is portrayed well, and there's a lot of character growth there. The artwork especially stands out in showing the range of emotions she's going through, not just in facial expressions, but in body language as well. Her best friend hasn't talked to her since the shooting, and she puts up a wall around herself, determined to do everything alone so no one can leave her again, then we see her slowly open up and make new friends. In the end, Barbara figures out that she can still have a future the she wants, on her terms. Had this been a story about a young woman who wasn't Barbara Gordan, it would've been better. But...
What I didn't like: I get that this story didn't want to reference "The Killing Joke," a one-off graphic novel that provides the groundwork for the Oracle's origin story, as it was a controversial storyline. I get that some changes were made. However, this story doesn't mention Batgirl at all- if someone not familiar with the character, at least in passing, were to read this, they'd just think it was about some hacker chick. The shooting is very vague and confusing- she's hanging out on a rooftop with her best friend, Ben, when an alert pops up on her laptop that there's an armed robbery in progress. Knowing her father will head there, she heads there too. The panel progression goes straight to the scene, making it look (to me, at least) like Ben had shot her. Once she's at the Arkham Center of Independence, there are creepy noises and sobbing sounds being heard (at least, they're acknowledged with onomatopoeia), but NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT IT! Not one person, even though there are people RIGHT THERE while it's happening! This drove me nuts more than anything else! The secondary characters aren't bad, but they're not great either, two-dimensional instead of just one. The book needed to be longer, or split into two parts, so more menace could build up, so Barbara could be gaslighted by the staff more, get some more self-doubt in there before solving the mystery of the disappearing patients- it wrapped up to quickly, felt a bit rushed. The ending was hopeful, though, and gave a non-cliffhanger conclusion that is still open for another installment. I'd recommend the book for the character study of Barbara Gordon, but the mystery aspect is a bit weak.

#TheOracleCode #NetGalley

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The Oracle Code is a great middle grade novel that introduces Oracle, Barbara Gordon or Batgirl post injury. Barbara now uses a wheelchair but she isn't limited or defined by it. This book does a fantastic job of representing a wheel chair user and including other diverse characters. This book felt like Batgirl meets Nancy Drew.

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Love this look into the start of Barbara Gordon with beautiful art and an even better storyline. Also the characters you meet abroad multiple spectrums and showcasing the diversity that makes our world. These YA interpretations of beloved DC characters just keep getting better with each book we get.

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