(Disclaimer: If you saw the movie, then you still know practically nothing about this book. They do not share the same plot, or really even the characters. "Griffin's Story" is actually set in the MOVIE universe, not this one.)
What would you do if you could teleport?
This wasn't high-sci-fi or high-fantasy. The world is more or less our world, except for this one kid who can teleport. He's got real problems with his abusive dad, his girlfriend, the cop downstairs who beats his wife.... oh, yeah, and the NSA.
Definitely worth reading. Will inspire a lot of fantasies and daydreams.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
Originally published at FanLit.
The first time Davy jumped was when his dad was beating him. The second time was when a trucker tried to rape 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.
54 of 61 people found this review helpful
The cover leads you to believe it's a schmaltzy young adult novel, it really needs a redesign to convey what a great story lies within. I never would have used my credit on this except for some reviews from other folks saying how really well done this audiobook is - I'm glad I took a chance on it. I enjoyed the movie and was happy to find the book is much better, with more philosophical questions and deeper relationships, and more reality portrayed. The narrator is excellent and fills Davy's role perfectly for me.
I'm not a heavy sci fi person, but I do enjoy sci fi movies, and I enjoyed this book enough to download what I believe is the second book in the series, Reflex.
25 of 29 people found this review helpful
The concept of the story is unique. The writing never falls into the boring range. The main character reads a lot and though very young, has a complex vocabulary and seems more mature then his age.
I gave it only three stars, as I did not like the direction the story went or some of the inconsistencies to the characters. Two Thirds of the way into the book, it became a super hero story. I am not a fan of Super Heroes. There was no consequence for jumping. Usually in a book like this, there is a price to pay for the power and the price paid usually adds to the story and how often the character wields his power. The main character jumps willy nilly all the time. In America we do not show people being blown up. The main character's mom leaves her twelve year old boy with an abusive husband. The kid steals a million dollars from the bank with no plans for paying them back. His girlfriend has a problem with him stealing from a bank, but not from Disney World.
I also believe Gould had problems figuring out if he was writing an adult book or a teen book. It read different ways at different times.
All in all it is not a bad book, but I will spend my money on better.
33 of 39 people found this review helpful
At least you will not want to stop listening. Very good story, well written and narrated. Mr. Gould is a master of the "what would you do if...." He puts you in the story and what a story! I'm making Steven Gould one of my go-to authors.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
Where does Jumper rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Right up there near the top.
Have you listened to any of Macleod Andrews’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This was my first exposure to Macleod Andrews. He was easy to listen to and follow. Very engaging.
Any additional comments?
I was hesitant about this book because I thought the movie was only so-so. But, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the story and the charactors so much more than the movie. The narration was perfect and made listening easy and the story engaging. I recommended this book to my daughter (she's 26) and she enjoyed it as much as I did.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful