Strange things have been happening to me. I keep having “memory” blackouts. It’s evening time; I take a nighttime stroll. Then… I become aware that it’s morning and somehow my clothes have been torn and a metallic taste of copper lingers in my mouth. Strange…
Well, this isn’t supposed to be a rambling reflection of my life, this is a book review column on Jumper and its sequel, Reflex, both by Steven Gould. There are spoilers aplenty in this review, so readers should consider themselves warned and proceed at their own risk.
Jumper is nothing like the movie and grips the reader from the start and never lets go. I found myself cheering for the main character, a young boy named Davy Rice, from the beginning. Raised by an abusive father, Davy’s mother fled from the home of her alcoholic husband several years ago and has not been heard from since.
An amazing event occurs one day just as Davy’s father begins beating him with a belt buckle, again. One moment Davy is in his bedroom and the next moment he’s in the Stanville Public Library. Somehow he teleports or “jumps” from one location to the other.
Only 17 years old, Davy uses his new found ability to run away from home. He learns the hard way how tough and mean people are when they know that you’re a defenseless runaway. Davy learns very quickly how to use his “jumping” ability to teleport himself out of various bad situations.
He loves to read and that is where he learns to do the things necessary to live on his own. He feels that he can’t trust anyone but himself. Eventually, he meets a girl named Millie Harrison, who he falls madly in love with. She’s the first person he has been willing to trust in a long time.
He tries to hide his “ability” from her but as “strange” things happen to people that are around them (He makes several people disappear before her eyes.), he realizes that he’s going to have to tell her sooner or later.
The book progresses with Davy “jumping” from one place to another. At one point he tries to find his mother and finds out that his father had beat his mother so badly that she had left immediately years ago. His father had actually broken 3 bones in his mother’s face; she had to have reconstructive surgery because of it. Needless to say, Davy becomes even more enraged with his father and begins to torment him mentally by appearing and then disappearing before him.
Davy’s mother is murdered while being held hostage aboard an intercontinental flight that she had taken as part of her job. Since the event was televised, Davy saw it and began to form a plan on how to find and deal with the terrorist responsible for his mother’s death.
While all of this is going on, Davy is still trying to keep a solid relationship going with Millie. As time goes on, Millie realizes that Davy is not telling her everything about him. At one point she becomes so upset with Davy that she tells him to leave her alone forever. Davy is heartbroken; Millie doesn’t know that just before she broke up with him, his mother had been murdered and the whole thing had been caught live on the news coverage on the crisis.
He creates a place of solitude for himself out in the desert in Texas (his own private fortress) and spends much of his time there just thinking about his life and what to do next. After a bit of time, Millie does get back with Davy; he reveals everything to her.
Eventually the NSA gets involved and kidnaps Millie and holds her in a safe house somewhere. So, in order to get them to let Millie go, he starts “jumping” random NSA agents to different places outside of the US. Well, needless to say, this gets on the agency’s nerves really fast. So they release Millie; after all she’s not done anything wrong.
The terrorist who had Davy’s mother killed is Rashid Matar. He is a misogynist and Davy eventually captures him and keeps Rashid hostage until he can decide what to do with him.
As a character, Davy is a really good person. He wants to do right; and despite his poor and abusive upbringing, he carries certain morals with him. He’s always aware of those who are less fortunate. Despite his amazing power, he doesn’t abuse it or use it just for selfish gain.
I really enjoyed reading the book. Please read past page 8. When I reached this page I was uncertain about reading the book, but I’m glad I continued. Readers will find the book very enjoyable and will soon be rooting for Davy.
Reflex picks up after Davy and Millie have gotten married and are settling into a daily routine. One day Davy leaves to do a job for the NSA – he’s now goes on “assignment” for them as long as he agrees to the mission. But he doesn’t return this time.
Millie begins to really worry about Davy and, not only that, she’s stuck in Texas in the fortress. Her only option to leave is to rappel down the side of it. Unfortunately her rappelling equipment breaks as she’s going down the side of the fortress and just as she’s about to fall to her death, she miraculously “jumps” to their condo. She had no idea she could do just what Davy could do.
So she begins her search for Davy.
Meanwhile, the NSA is also trying to find Davy. One of their men was shot and killed and Davy was kidnapped by some mysterious, evil people. He is taken to an unknown location by people who have drugged him with a strange substance that suppresses his “jumping” ability.
One evil person, in particular, the reader gets to know really well. She’s the character you love to hate! Her name is Hyacinth Pope; she formally worked for the NSA but decided to turn to the dark side. She’s got a real knack for torture and puts Davy through both extreme mental and physical pain. Davy discovers that an “implant” has been surgically placed inside his skin near the vagus (cranial) nerve by an unknown enemy who wants to use Davy for “special” jobs.
Davy also discovers that this implant limits his ability, causing him to develop a reflexive instinct to their commands. If they want him to jump to a particular place, then they set his limits differently so he can do so.
As his “mental conditioning” continues, he discovers an unknown property to his ability. The reader discovers that Davy can “twin” (his body can be in two places at one time.) But he doesn’t let on to his captors that he can do this.
Eventually, Davy discovers that he’s not the only one who’s been “implanted” Apparently, in this secret organization, if you know who the boss is, you have an implant inserted to guarantee your cooperation and loyalty. The guy in charge is someone named Lawrence Simons. He’s as emotionally cold as they come.
Through different clues that Millie’s able to collect, she discovers where Davy is being held. She “jumps” to the location and is able to get him free. There’s only one little problem; he still has the implant to deal with. Earlier in the book, Millie finds out that there is a chemical that can help to slow down the implant’s detonation. She uses that on Davy and “jumps” him to a trauma center. Because they’ve already dealt with another “implant” case, the trauma team are ready to successfully remove Davy’s implant.
A few days later, both Davy and Millie go after Mr. Simons who escaped when she rescued Davy. Together, they “jump” Mr. Simons to the desert and try to find out more information on him and his organization. To their surprise, Mr. Simons also has an implant which he self-detonates.
I recommend this book. I found it to be an enjoyable read and… is that a full moon I see outside? It’s so compelling.
Why am I sitting here writing book reviews when I could be out hunting for… It’s getting hard to form thoughts. If I change again, I don’t think I’ll ever become human again. But then, why would I want to? The taste of flesh sounds more appealing than reading books.
Speaking of books, I wonder what the flesh of our TWoM readers taste like…