Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review by Alex- Numbers

Numbers By Rachel Ward
Numbers that pop into her head when she looks into someone's eyes. They're dates, the numbers. Dates predicting with brute accuracy each person's death.

Burdened by such grim knowledge, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. Maybe they can find happiness together, if only in the brief time that remains before his expiration date.

But on a trip to London, Jem foresees a chilling chain of events:
The city's a target.
The clock's running out.
The countdown is on to a blowup.

First Impression: Really intruiging concept, interesting cover. I'd heard about it a little bit beforehand, but really didn't know the plot of the novel. I went in hoping for something good, but without any expectations.

The first chapter, originally meant as a short story, started off well, but I thought the middle dragged, not picking up until around the second half. There are sadly some loose ends- such as that terrorist attack they're running away from. As Jem foresees the deaths of people all in one place, she and Spider run out of the building, only to have the building blow up moments later and their escape caught on camera. They're wanted now by the police, and so their adventure starts with them running away.

The problem for me... was that it took forever to read. Granted, I've been crazy busy, but for a book to take me weeks to finish means that it's not exciting enough for me to not put down. However the end really did pick up, and so once you get into Numbers, it does go quickly.

I found the characters were interesting, and I really liked that they're unusual. Jem's not the typical spoiled girl, having grown up in foster homes all her life after her mom's OD and Spider's not the likely hero/love interest. However, they're not really relatable at times. They were just characters in a novel, one who could see death dates, one who was really awkwardly built and full of energy, but... not a whole lot more. Jem and Spider were fine, but at the same time, not spectacular. The relationship between the two of them would twist, quickly going from nothing to being each other's everything.

Something about the writing is also different. It can be choppy at times, and I don't know if it's the difference between North American and English writing, but it was certainly unusual at first. It's easy to adjust to it though, and soon the writing flows nicely and is easy to read, with only the occasional hiccup.

The plot of the novel is, of course, really interesting, though some parts are a little strange. I found the ending to be quite trite, but it was also fitting. The plot would go in leaps and bounds, sometimes an intense chase scene, sometimes a labourous hike, sometimes strange peaceful intervals.

Since Numbers has main characters who haven't grown up in a spoiled environment, and of course the plot has them on the run, the novel itself is very brutal and harsh at times. But it's also honest and true. It's not extremely uplifting, to say the least. But it can be inspiring.

Final Impressions: I did like it. I thought it was mostly good, though at times it lagged and didn't spark my interest until towards the end. Overall though, an interesting novel that readers who enjoy darker contemporary novels with a twist would enjoy.

Note this! It's set in England, so references like the London Eye and specific places come up, which makes it hard for me, as a Canadian, to follow, but also adds a lot to the setting.

Favourite Character: Probably Spider's grandma. She's quite the old lady.

Add to Shelf: That's up to you. If this sounds like your sort of novel that you'd reread over and over, I would say yes. But otherwise... perhaps not.


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