Davy has always been alone. He believes that he's the only person in the world who can teleport. But what if he isn't?
A mysterious group of people has taken Davy captive. They don't want to hire him, and they don't have any hope of appealing to him to help them. What they want is to own him. They want to use his abilities for their own purposes, whether Davy agrees to it or not. And so they set about brainwashing him and conditioning him. They have even found a way to keep a teleport captive.
But there's one thing that they don't know. No one knows it, not even Davy. And it might save his life....
©2004 Steven Gould (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Though Gould continues to exuberantly press the boundaries of scientific credibility, his gift for placing ordinary people in extraordinary situations against a backdrop of international concerns makes this fast-paced adventure sizzle." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a fun, fast-paced novel that - like Gould's other books - also has a social conscience that gives it more depth than such a story might have in lesser hands." (Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Reflex is the second book in Steven Gould’s JUMPER series. Ten years have passed since we left Davy and Millie. Now they’re married and Davy works occasionally for the National Security Agency. On one of his trips to Washington D.C. to meet with his contact there, he gets drugged and kidnapped by a group of people who want to use his powers for their own evil purposes. As they work to get Davy under their control, Millie uses her skills as a psychologist to search for him. She needs some help from the government, but she isn’t sure who she can trust. There seem to be leaks in high places.
Just like Jumper, Reflex is pretty compelling reading for the most part. Davy’s experiences as a captive are fascinating as we watch the bad guys use operant conditioning to try to bend him to their wills. This eventually starts to pall, however, because Davy spends almost the entire story in one small room.
Millie is the more active character in Reflex. Some of her experiences are really endearing, such as when she befriends a homeless schizophrenic woman who may have information about Davy’s whereabouts. This woman has tardive dyskinesia which makes her repulsive to others on the street, but as a psychologist, Millie understands the disorder and is able to see beyond it.
While I appreciated the focus on Millie, who’s a lot more mature than Davy was in Jumper, and who had some interesting ethical dilemmas to deal with here, one significant part of her story may ruin the book for some readers. Since it’s been reported in some of the blurbs for Reflex, and since it happens early in the story, I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that suddenly Millie can jump, too. While that certainly adds excitement to the story, it really stretches the bounds of belief. Millie’s jumping is not explained except to say that perhaps after ten years of being transported around the world by Davy, Millie’s body just figured out how. That’s an easy out that many science fiction fans just won’t be pleased with. There is a scientist in this story who works with Davy to try to understand how the teleportation occurs, so Steven Gould does try to alleviate our discontent, but it doesn’t quite measure up. In other words, the JUMPER series, at least so far, is very “lite” science fiction. The jumping feels more like magic than anything else, but Davy lives in our world and there are no other traces of magic, so it doesn’t quite work. This series probably would be best classified as a thriller.
If you can get over that, though, Reflex is an exciting story that will almost certainly please fans of Jumper. I listened to the wonderful audio version produced by Audible Frontiers. Macleod Andrews is an excellent narrator. Reflex shifts perspective — it’s no longer just Davy’s point of view — and Andrews does all of it beautifully.
It is a well written book. The plot is well thought out.
The capture of the jumper and the exploration of the jumping phenomena.
A solid voice and very enjoyable.
I hope Mr Gould writes more in the theory.
I love a good story, regardless of the genre. Anything from 'Pride and Prejudice' to 'The Shining'.
The characters were real. The good guys had moral dilemmas but the bad guys were really bad.
I tired but I listen while I drive so I had to break up the listening time.
I wish that there had been more subterfuge; the idea of working with the NSA, established in Jumper, more or less makes the fun anonymous jumping hijinks disappear.
I couldn't decide what to make of the very deep conspiracy the book unravels (and doesn't); i.e., I don't think it was Trilateral Commission or New World Order stuff...Davy's politics don't seem to align with that but what was it?
Unexpected twists, deep unusual characters I cared about, outstanding performance with an excellent plot. This was definitely not a formula book. No cheesy romance or unbelieveable sci-fi with strange creatures. This was a moment of suspended disbelief in an old concept made real. Enter Star Trek, Captain Kirk brand, without the transporters. Not possible, right? Yet, I'm believing it, not believing it, not caring because the story is so freaking good. Romance, brutality, corrupt governmental agencies, twists, turns, I didn't want it to end. Thanks Steven Gould for a great book and Macleod Andrews for an outstanding performance!!
The narration makes or breaks an audiobook. The narrator for this book brought the charactors to life and made the story pop.
Davy's girlfriend was my favorite charactor. It was fun learning along with her what she could do and how.
Yes. I travel a lot for work each day and the time went by so fast due to this engaging story.
I am truly enjoying the Jumper series. The stories are interesting and the characters smart. I can't wait for the next one!
I'd recommend it to anyone of my friends who enjoys smooth story telling with a fandom for modern science fiction
It's a great read for anyone who is a fan of modern science fiction and psychological references, so I would absolutely suggest it to at least a few of my friends who are fans of the genre.
Very smooth story telling with some very emotionally effective speaking. He also did a very good job at defining each different character with his speech which is always very good.
"A jump into action and adventure."
The decision on this book was: Rate it as a 4 or a 5. Definitely interesting with unanticipated twists and turns. I would recommend it to others.
This sequel has a bit of a different flavor from the previous book. The first book was mostly about Davey dealing with his emotional traumas and his burgeoning relationship with Millie, with his ability being a bit of spice that kept things interesting. This book focuses much more on his ability, both on the mechanics of how it works, and on the dangers in using it. Davey is held captive for almost all of this book. The main thrust is on how Davey is contained, how he tries to escape and resist, and what he discovers about his power in the process. I found this quite interesting, as much is revealed via a series of tests that Davey is made to participate in with a scientist. The physics perspective and potential uses for his ability (both those proposed and those imagined by the reader) are fascinating. Once again, Davey's ability to keep up with a physics grad as though he had all the same education, just from his "reading", strikes as unrealistic but I suppose we all like our heroes to be geniuses. I was also fascinated by the many insights Davey developed that could be useful in escaping and how he either used them or his captives foiled his plans.
The other, parallel, storyline follows Millie in her attempts to rescue Davey. I wasn't particularly intrigued by that part at any point but it was a compelling drama at times.
There is a good deal of torture in this one but it's not your traditional cutting/electrocuting/burning/etc. business. It's more... sophisticated. There are two last things that should be mentioned. One is that Davey gains a new and fun manipulation of his powers in this installment. The other is a spoiler. I choose to include this because I found it to be quite jarring to my immersion in the story and because when it comes up in the story it is just as random and unsupported as throwing it out now in a review. Nevertheless, IF YOU DON'T WANT THE SPOILER TURN BACK NOW...
Millie gains the ability to jump in this book. There is no reason given as to why other than it makes it easy for her to rescue Davey. It felt very much like an artificial plot development that the author used as a tool to make things work out. Moreover, it really ruined the feeling that had built up in the first book that jumping is a very special and unique ability. There are very few mutant stories that have only one person with the mutation and I kind of liked that from the first book. It seemed as though Millie got it at random just because the author didn't want her to feel left out being married to Davey, which is very disappointing to me and almost made me drop the story rating to 3 stars.
That said, despite the one very jarring development, this novel has a lot of interesting ideas and situations going for it and is a good addition to the jumper universe and brings a new perspective from the first book. I recommend it, with one reservation.
"Great sequel to Jumper"
Ten years have passed and Davy and Millie are married. When Davy is kidnapped Millie learns she can jump and pulls out all the stops to to find him. Davy's experience at the hands of his captors is quite harrowing and frightening and leaves the listener wondering how he can possibly get out of the situation he finds himself in.The bad guys are BAD but believable. The story is well written, exciting and flows well with plenty of action and unexpected twists. I like how the main characters have developed and the people they have become. The ending is good and hopefully paves the way for a continuation of Millie and Davy's story.
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