Written by: Steven Gould
Published By: TOR
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Quite some time ago, I saw a movie starring Hayden Christensen called Jumper. I enjoyed the movie so much, I bought the book it was based on. Enjoying Steven Gould’s writing as much as I did and the storyline, I decided to buy another Jumper novel, one Gould wrote in response to the Griffin character in the film. That was terrific, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the prize - the sequel to the original Jumper novel entitled Reflex.
Reflex begins a decade after Jumper left off. Davy Rice is no longer an angry teenager struggling to understand his teleporting powers while dealing with his abusive, alcoholic father and the death of his mother at the hands of terrorists. He is now an adult married to the girl he met and fell in love with in the first novel, Millie. Davy works doing odd jobs for the National Security Agency, like teleporting agents in and out of locations, teleporting equipment to various places, etc. When Millie approaches Davy about starting a family, he instantly cringes away from the idea, believing that his somewhat less than simple life is about to become truly complicated. He has no idea how right he is.
After arguing with Millie over the subject of children, Davy meets his NSA handler in Washington, D.C. And then he disappears…not the teleport variety of disappearing, but the kidnapping kind. His kidnappers are especially crafty in finding a way to keep Davy rooted in place until they can “persuade” him to do their bidding.
Meanwhile, Millie is having problems of her own. Davy’s sudden disappearance leaves her in a precarious position, one so precarious that she must undertake a dangerous journey to get out of that position. When that dangerous position becomes life-threatening, something amazing happens - Millie saves her own life through the power of teleportation. Confused at being able to perform a feat she believed only Davy was capable of performing, Millie struggles with the implications.
But when the NSA approaches her about Davy’s disappearance and the danger she may be in, Millie must now consider the danger her newfound abilities have made her. If someone kidnapped Davy because of what he can do and those very same people are targeting her to make him perform for them, what will they do to Davy if they know that she has the same abilities?
Reflex is an incredibly engrossing read. Steven Gould knows just how to write his characters so they are easy to relate to and intriguing enough for you to want to know more about them. You become completely invested in their welfare. His writing style is compelling with plenty of action and suspense and plenty of scientific mystery to ponder. Once I started reading, it was very hard for me to put the book down and so, Reflex was a fairly fast read for me.
My only issue with the story was Millie’s new-found teleportation powers. The original Jumper novel and Griffin’s tale had led me to believe that “jumping” was a power you were born with and not something that was learned or could simply “rub off” on an individual. Millie has never exhibited any inkling of teleportation ability before and I wasn’t quite buying the hypotheses formed in this book as to how she could perform this trick now. The whole thing is really left up to the imagination as the main characters themselves have no idea how this has occurred.
Some folks might be bothered by Davy’s new learned teleportation ability, but I found it to be rather interesting. It opened new doors…new possibilities of how he can use his teleportation powers. I have to give Steven Gould a great deal of credit for adequately describing something as difficult as “twinning” in a way the readers could understand and actually visualize.
Once again, Steven Gould has written a novel full of action and suspense with characters people can relate to and become invested in and a storyline so intriguing and captivating that the reader will not be able to put the book down until the last page is turned. I love this series! Please write another Jumper novel, Mr. Gould! PLEASE!!