Title: Numbers
Author: Rachel Ward
Series: (Numbers #1)
Published: February 1st 2010 by Chicken House/Scholastic Inc.

I noticed that most people picked this up because of the unique concept of “numbers.” You see, the main character here Jem can see numbers on people’s eyes. She didn’t know what it means until her mother died. That the numbers she saw are death date.

Totally different from the others, the concept isn’t new to me. It is very similar to Death Note. And that’s the reason why I wanted to read it. A breakthrough from thousand of paranormal books offered to young adults (or readers in general). I was kinda (ok, a lot) disappointed because (1) it is nowhere near awesome as Death Note (2) the book tend to be repetitive (3) the story forgot about the numbers (a.k.a Jem’s ability) (4) I have the feeling that this book just serves as groundwork for its sequel.

In a nutshell, Jem knows when people will die, thanks to her ability. Carrying such a big task she shut herself from everyone until she met Spider and decided to give it a try. One day, they went out she saw people’s number and they are all the same. She had a feeling that’s something bad will happen. And it was, the London Eye blew-up and they escaped.

After that incident I was waiting for the real plot to reel in. And to my dismay it didn’t happen. Because when you read the summary it highlighted that incident and Jem’s ability. So if you’re curious like me, the next thing to do is to read it right? So you’ll know the answers you wanted to know. But regretfully that answers I was looking for was never there. I’m not expecting it to be like Death Note. If you read/watch the series, it is very specific, it will lay everything to you so you can understand the mechanics, or of how to use it (death note, using shinigami’s (grim reaper) eyes etc). It was detailed—very detailed. This, on the other hand is the exact opposite. It didn’t explain why Jem can see it, why her? How come she has that ability? No explanation whatsoever. In fact, after the attack, it was pages after pages of them running away from the authorities (and some people who were after Spider). I’m so close to skipping and go straight ahead to the ending. But I’m still hopeful. But it didn’t pay off, in the end I didn’t get I want.

I was concentrating on the concept of this book that I realized I wasn’t drawing any impression to the characters. But for most parts, Jem and Spider were ok. Although I always forget that they’re fifteen because of their actions and language. Their relationship is like a means to an end. Did it bother me that these kids have sex? A little. A foreknowledge of book two did soften the blow. Like I said, I have very strong feeling that this book is a foundation for the sequel. The book I got has a sneak peek of The Chaos. Jem’s son Adam is the main character there. It is going to be on alternating POV. And from the looks of it, I think it will now try to explain a bit about the “numbers.”

Maybe the reason I was dissatisfied is because I set the bar a little higher. And maybe because it offers something different for young adult readers. But it lacks something (something I explained above). It wasn’t horrible, it was decent. The ending managed to save it from total screw up. I might read the sequel, but not anytime soon.

PS: If you’re a Filipino (or in the Philippines) and you liked this book, there is webchat with the author on September 18, 2011 sponsored by NBS. Check here for the details.