Jumper: A Novel

Jumper  - Steven Gould Steven Gould's "Jumper" is a dark, fascinating story that's part character study, part hard sci-fi with realistic elements. My introduction to it came in a combination of someone recommending me books that were banned in some areas, and another person saying its title resembled one of my WIPs (though the stories are nothing alike). It tells the story of 17-year old Davy, who suffers abuse at the hands of his father and runs away from home, but also grapples with an extraordinary ability to jump from one location to another almost instantaneously. He suffers some hard realities after running away from home, but as he comes to terms with his ability, he starts taking liberties with it that allow him to access parts of the world and life that would never otherwise be possible for him in his former life. Granted, this means Davy takes liberties that cross the moral compass more than once, but the story progresses in such an intriguing way that it's hard not to be drawn into it, and Davy's experiences. I would argue that Davy's mortal flaw lies in his emotional sensitivity (i.e. he cries a lot), but honestly that element didn't bother me because he really goes through a lot of emotional hurdles, and they do have substantial weight within the progression of the story. The story does show its respective age in certain parts of the work, but it all feels time appropriate, especially given the statistics and contexts referenced in the work. You can tell the references to the 1980s-90s not only from direct citations, but also the technology in which, for example, Davy contemplates stealing VCRs from a store.Now here's a kicker - the story transitions about halfway through, after a major personal event throws Davy's world out of place, into militaristic events in which Davy's morality takes a turn in using his ability to help others. He moves through many international locations to do this, and thwarts terrorists that plot to kill civilians while also grappling with his own personal demons and relationships, questioning his decisions as to not become the monster that his father was to him. It also involves him fleeing governmental forces that do not understand/feel threatened by his abilities. While I could say that the transition to this part of the story seemed abrupt and out of the flow from the first part of the book - it was surprisingly engaging and well-written. The story held my attention from beginning to end, and I enjoyed Macleod Andrews reading of the work in the audiobook version.I would certainly recommend and read this work again, because I think it not only shows a strong character focus with due weight, but also manages to be an engaging read that's hard to put down to see how it all ultimately unfolds, and whether or not Davy finds a way to move forward in the aftermath of his experiences.Overall score: 4/5