Friday, March 28, 2014

Favorite Books: Jumper Series

There are several books that I reread on a yearly (and sometimes more often) basis. These are my favorite stories, filled with some of the most interesting characters, yet don't get long-running series built around them. Hence the constant re-reading. I might not do it with a series like, say, Dune, but, with shorter series, that's no problem.

This week, I just reread Jumper and Reflex after reading the newest novel in the Jumper series, Impulse.

Yes, this is the series the movie was based off of. No, the books are nothing like the movie. Besides some names and the teleportation, the movie is a completely separate entity and, really, rather miserable in comparison.

Here's my quick breakdown on the series and why I love it.


As good as the covers get.
This novel introduces us to David Rice and his special brand of teleportation, called 'jumping'. Initially, it helps David, called Davy, in his goal of running away from an abusive father. Next, he uses it to solidify his financial situation. From there, it's all just Davy trying to live his life. He researches other teleports, falls in love, and eventually runs afoul of the NSA. Oh, and he hunts for his mother, who ran out on him and his father, and then mixes it up with some terrorists.

All the characters in the book are well written. They change visible and realistically. Millie, the love interest (NOT the girl next door, movie-ugh), is particularly interesting. Davy, however, is the most dynamic character. We are constantly walked through his feelings and emotions to the extent that Davy understands them. His understanding grows and so does ours -- he's not a swashbuckling hero, he's a damaged kid who has had a rough life and is quickly finding out that life doesn't ever become easy. Even teleportation can't solve all of his problems.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is a relatively short read, so consider adding it to your list! It is easily one of the hardest reads to put down for me, and I very often finish it in a day, if not in a single sitting. I also enjoy that, due to a short, aborted scene on page 9, Jumper was also one of the most banned books in the United States... It's published as YA and Davy is 17 at the start of the novel, but this is a good read for anyone who enjoys fiction. Also, if you've ever wanted to be able to teleport, this novel will make you incredibly jealous. Seriously.

Arbitrary Rating: 10/10 -- To this day, I still try to 'jump' about once a month. I think I almost had it last week, but pulled a muscle.


At the start of this book, Davy and Millie have been married for years. Davy sometimes works for the NSA while Millie tries to live as normal a life as possible, though she desperately wants children, something Davy struggles with due to his past.

We jump (heh) from Millie to Davy's point of view in alternating chapters. Davy gets captured by an unknown organization and has to find a way to cope with his imprisonment, his captors, and his own moral boundaries. Also, his abilities are put to the test, and he learns a new trick... Millie picks up a new talent and has to hunt down her husband, except she has no idea who to trust. Is the NSA on their side, or secretly holding Davy? Is the FBI able to help, or only hinder? Does anyone know?

Millie's point of view is refreshing, and it's nice seeing the characters older. Gould's writing style has changed a touch to deal with stepping away from a pure YA audience, but his writing was never poor.

The book goes a touch slow in the middle, but the ending is constant energy and leaves you very, very tense, right up to the resolution.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10 -- It's a good first time read, but it's not my favorite re-read, due to the dragging parts not being supported by doubt, but anticipation. And that's an important (arbitrary) value for me.


Shade is actually a short story, showing an example of what Davy and Millie do after the events in Reflex. It is from the perspective of someone on the receiving end of their relief aid, and it is interesting to see that Davy and Millie are keeping busy.

Arbitrary Rating: It's a short story. Set in the Jumper universe. I don't care for shorts, but this was good enough (wish I had read it when it came out, but I didn't find out about it until after reading Impulse...)


... what I mean?
This novel, for the most part, is in the point of view of Cent, Davy and Millie's 16 year old daughter. Yes, this is a bit of a time jump from the last novel, but it does put it back in the realm of YA, which is shown in the shift of subject matter from Reflex. This doesn't hurt Gould's writing any; in fact, it's better than ever. He's able to be more descriptive than ever with a new set of eyes, and it's great to see someone young learning how to 'jump.'

The family lives in constant secrecy and seclusion until Cent decides she wants to go to public school for the first time. It's hard to deny a daughter at the best of times, and this one can teleport! This makes for an interesting family dynamic in general, but also adds to the pressure -- if they aren't careful and are uncovered again, the same folks who captured Davy years ago could make a reappearance -- they've been shown to have the resources and the drive.

Most of the novel is a young girl trying to integrate with society for the first time, while dealing with the additional strain of having a unique ability. We do meet the general school bully, but that turns out to be something much more explicit than one may initially guess.

On the Davy and Millie side of things, they're still helping around the world, as shown in the short story Shade.

Cent eventually learns her own trick with 'jumping' and, unlike her father's initial adventures, immediately begins using it for good, even if it's bound to get her in the trouble...

Love the new character. I normally dislike YA novels with a female protagonist, but Gould is able to avoid most of the trappings you'll see; there is a crush here and there, but Millie is never reduced to needing the assistance of a knight in shining armor. She's more than capable of handling things on her own, and that's refreshing.

Arbitrary Rating: 9/10 -- The eventual motive for the bullies seems a bit far fetched for me. But I've been out of high school for awhile, so maybe?

There should be a new novel coming out soon-ish, called Exo, and I'm looking forward to it. I love how Gould's writing has improved with every iteration, and the modernization of the series is so well done that it makes me smile when I go back to reading Jumper, which has its own quirks directly related to the years it takes place in.

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