The first time Davy jumped was when his dad was beating him. The second time was when a trucker tried to rape..Show More » him. Both times Davy ended up in his favorite place — the local public library. Soon Davy learned that he could control his teleportation, so he left home and started a new life in New York City. His new skill, the ability to instantly transport himself to any place he’s ever visited, helped him achieve the freedom he always desired. At first Davy lives for himself, happy to be away from school and his father, but when a terrorist attack affects him personally, he decides to use his talent to get revenge.
Jumper, by Steven Gould, is an action-packed exciting adventure about a likeable teenager who has an awesome superpower. Davy is mostly easy to believe in. He’s a little too urbane for his age and experience — he quickly transforms from high school dropout to fine-dining connoisseur, and I’ve never met a teenager as well-read as Davy — but other than that he acts like a normal kid. He’s a bit selfish and makes some impulsive mistakes, but he genuinely wants to be a good guy. He’s got an emo streak that’s a little annoying, but that’s understandable since he’s dealing with abuse and abandonment issues. He’s also worried that he could become an alcoholic like his father and he feels guilty about not telling his new girlfriend the truth about himself.
What I liked best about Davy’s story is that what Davy decides to do with his power is completely believable. Sometimes I read stories about people with really cool superpowers and I think “if I had that power, I’d do such and such” and I’m usually disappointed that the character didn’t think of that. Often the problem is that the character is just too ethical to do the fun stuff that normal teenagers would fantasize about doing if they had superpowers. But not Davy. Some of the things Davy does are selfish, some are vengeful, and some are just fun.
And fun is about all there is to Jumper. There’s an exciting plot and lots of cool tricks with the jumping, but there’s not much depth beyond that. There’s no explanation for the teleportation and there aren’t any other speculative elements, so the book hardly deserves the classification of “science fiction.” Nothing about Jumper changed me or made me think, but it definitely entertained me. When I finished Jumper I started the sequel, Reflex.
Jumper takes place around 1990 and was first published in 1992, before 9/11, so the way that Islam and terrorism were viewed and dealt with is very different than they are today. This, plus the lack of cell phones and Internet, will make Jumper feel a little dated to teen readers, but to me it just felt nostalgic since I was around Davy’s age at the time when the story takes place. However, Reflex takes place ten years later (published in 2004) and a third book, Impulse, was just published last month.
I listened to Audible Frontier’s version of Jumper which was narrated by the incredibly awesome Macleod Andrews. Macleod is so good that I’d forget he was narrating. It just felt like Davy was telling me his story — totally convincing. If you’re an audio reader, I’d recommend Jumper on audio. If you’re not an audio reader yet, this would be a good one to start with.
Jumper has been marketed to a YA audience but I won’t be giving it to my kids. The abuse and attempted rape are disturbing, it’s rather violent, and the language and sex aren’t really appropriate either. By the way, you probably know there is a movie based on Jumper. I haven’t seen it, but have heard it’s pretty bad, and those who have seen the movie and read the book report that the book is much different and much better.
Reflex is the second book in Steven Gould’s JUMPER series. Ten years have passed since we left Davy ..Show More »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.
This book is a good continuation of the jumper series. It introduces new uses of their power and focuses on the teenage daughter of Mili and David. Th..Show More »is was my concern about the story. I was afraid it was going to follow the Twilight like highschool teenage angst. The girl who doesn't fit in and cant find love and is generally depressed the whole time till she find a guy to fix her. But it did a refreshing job of breaking a bunch of those stereotypes.
Cent is a strong female character. She finds her own solutions to dangerous situations she finds herself in . A guy doesn't come in to rescue her. She's good at math and science. The whole story is peppered in small daily uses of math and science experiments. I liked that it highlighted math in a positive way. Yes Id agree that Cent is too good at math for her age but were listening to a book about people who can teleport so maybe some suspension of disbelief is required :). There some romance in the book but its not much and fits with the storyline.
Also its nice that the super-powered beings are doing what Id hope people with their gifts would actually be doing in real life. Their not always fighting crime, their concerned with environmental causes and try helping out people in various communities using their gifts to bypass military blockades and getting food to impoverished areas. There are also consequences to using their powers to help people. Things get out of their control that they cant fix and people get hurt because of their actions. So they have to think about how they use their gifts before they act.
This title is apparently part of the "Audible Childrens Library." Whoever decided to put it there made a huge mistake. This book is full of ..Show More »explicit language, sex, and violence. If books were rated like movies, it would definitely get an "R."
It also is not the same story as the movie. I understand (from reading at Wikipedia) that the movie was very loosely based on an earlier book.
Those things being said, this was a very enjoyable story to listen to. It is one of the better books I've heard in a while. Just don't share it with your kids.
Okay, I wasn't that fond of Steven's last Jumper novel for the reasons I've already stated, but EXO is another thing entirely. This novel is great for..Show More » the 12-18 crowd and reminds me a lot of the young adult SF novels of my own youth. The most recent novel that I felt was this good (and of the same ilk) was The Martian, but it was an adult book and not a young adult book. While the previous novel of Cent and her family had far too much teenage angst for me to enjoy and the subject matter didn't appeal, this novel has less angst and more Low Earth Orbit. Steven has obviously researched the International Space Station and the problems associated with micro-gravity and he handles it well. The narration by Ms Rankin was once again dead on for the voice of Cent.