IMPULSE by Steven Gould
Steven Gould’s Jumper series is awesome. I have read and loved all his books so far, which is – sadly – pretty easy to do because he’s only written nine novels and maybe twice as many short stories. So you can become an authority on Gould without years of reading. I wish he would write more, but the tradeoff is that every book he writes is consistently well-developed and exciting.
Impulse is the third book in Jumper canon. Griffin’s Story was written because the movie came out and exists in a world all its own.
I’d just been complaining to my wife that it had been a while since a book picked me up and carted me off to another world the way they had when I was a kid. Back then, every book I opened up led to adventures, heroes, and interesting worlds. But Impulse did that.
Only a few pages into the novel, I was lost in Cent’s world, totally given over to her and her struggles with life, her parents, high school, and her newfound ability to “jump” – teleport herself somewhere else in an eyeblink. The original novel Jumper sucked me in the same way, kept me hanging with the book until the final pages were turned and left me disappointed that there wasn’t another novel to read immediately and that I’d gone through the story so fast. But it couldn’t be helped. These books are just that good.
I don’t know what I enjoyed more: Cent’s view of herself and her world, the creeping tension of her parent’s old enemies closing in on her, the vicious environment that high school can be, the snowboarding, or the exploration she did of her power that made her seem so much like a super heroine. They’re all good qualities, and Gould is just so good at presenting them for readers.
The book consumed me one Saturday night. I’d planned to just read a few pages, and I figured that would be easy enough to do because the opening pace seemed fairly laconic. It is, but the deep richness of the emotional context, the sheer curiosity about what’s going to happen next and how Cent is going to deal with it NEVER lets up. Gould is merciless when it comes to laying out a terrific, multi-layered plot that appeals again and again.
When I finished the novel, I handed it off to my fifteen-year old, knowing he’d be just as enthralled as I was. He complained a little bit about the Davy and Millie chapters/interludes, but that was primarily because he wanted to get back to Cent and her struggles.
There are some adult situations in the book and some pre-teens might not be ready for this book, though most have heard and witnessed much worse on YouTube videos, but the bottom line message is something that teens and even pre-teens need to hear. There’s a lot of hope in Cent’s world, a lot of thinking and figuring things out, and there’s a lot of adventure as well.
I just hope that Steven Gould’s book doesn’t take so long, and I don’t care what world he takes me to as long as I get to go.