I rarely buy physical books anymore, my bookshelves are full and I really have no room to put more, nor time to make them, therefore I get e-books almost exclusively these days. However, following my last book review, I was putting a physical book back on the shelves and I saw this series, written by Steven Gould, that somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled that there had been another book released for. So, off to Amazon where I got not only this one, but the one that came after that I wasn’t even aware of!
So, here’s my surprise review of Impulse!
Davy and Millie Rice, two people who can teleport and have been hunted by the government, now have a 16-year old daughter that no one knows about. She has no records, no birth certificate, no one has any idea that she exists and they think this makes her safe, but when she decides she wants to go to school, they set up elaborate false identities and she starts to socialize with kids her own age, but what if she can teleport too?
I’ve loved Steven Gould’s work since his first book, Jumper, came out in 1992. In fact, I ran into Steven Gould online once, right after I read the book, and told him how impressed I was with the book. He’s one of those authors who I’ve read everything he’s ever written and probably always will. I even enjoyed the movie adaptation of Jumper, even though it is dramatically different from the book. I learned something valuable from him when someone asked how he felt that the movie had “ruined” his book and he just pointed to the bookshelf and said something along the lines of “what do you mean, my book is right there!”
Most of this book centers around the daughter, whose nickname is “Cent”. It’s told mostly from a first person perspective, although the voice changes when Cent isn’t part of the story, but it flows naturally and isn’t distracting or confusing. You have two plotlines running, the high school drama that occurs in Cent’s world and the overarching worry that Hyacinth Pope, the agent who tortured Davy in the previous book, had escaped and was on the lookout for the Rice family once again. Yes, theoretically this, and the entire series of novels, qualifies as young adult, but there is plenty of violence and a fair bit of profanity and it is just as enjoyable to an adult as it might be to a teenager. Certainly, I never identified Jumper as a young adult novel while reading it, it actually surprised me when Steve mentioned it to me.
I love the fact that he’s thought about how jumping works and each book brings out some new and completely logical aspect. This time, Cent learns that she can add velocity, which makes perfect sense because it’s already been established that you can shed velocity. If you’re falling at high speed, you can jump to a standing position and not have to deal with the kinetic energy. All of the ways that Cent tests jumping are very logical and scientific, just the way I’d do it if I was in that situation.
If there’s one thing that I had an issue with, it was at the end, where Caffeine, the main antagonist throughout the book, a heartless girl who is part of a drug-dealing gang at the high school, gets humanized and cast as a victim. She’s been blackmailing three freshmen into being drug mules, she’s either had them beaten or beaten them herself, she’s made physical assaults on Cent throughout the book, but at the very end, she not only gets beaten up when she wants to leave the gang, but Cent makes the very clear point, repeatedly, that she had to sleep with the gang and the recruits in order to make sex blackmail tapes. I’m sorry, but it’s a little too late for me to feel sorry for her, this late in the game.
Another question I have is where they get all of their money. I mean, they buy a house for cash, they are engaged in charitable operations worldwide, buying food and supplies by the ton, how are they funding this? Back in the first book, Davy robbed a bank and had a lot of money, but that was more than 20 years ago, surely they can’t still be living off of that. It’s never explained but I’m certainly curious about it.
This was everything I was expecting from the book before I picked it up. Great characters, an engaging story, lots of adventure and a deep understanding of the mythology that he’s created, Steven Gould has hit it out of the park, once again. There’s no magic here, it’s pure science fiction in a world where at least three superheroes exist and everything works rationally. That’s kind of a rare thing.