(Book #2 in the Numbers Trilogy)
Genre: YA dystopia
Pages: 368 (hardcover)
Published: March 2011 by Chicken House (in the US)
Recommended for: fans of dystopia, paranormal, and contemporary
The first Numbers book, which I read way before I ever even thought about starting a book blog, is a powerful, gripping read which is incredibly thought-provoking, gritty, and as beautiful as it is disturbing. This sequel was all those things and more-- it more than lived up to the first book. It is an unusual thing when a sequel surpasses the first book, but The Chaos has done that rare thing. These are books which deserve more recognition and attention.
Adam's mum Jem had a great and terrible gift, one she passed on to her son: she could see the numbers, or death-dates, of everyone around her just by looking into their eyes. Together with Adam's misfit father Spider, she fled London seventeen years ago to escape the authorities who feared she was a terrorist after she predicted a catastrophe in the city. Now that both his parents have fallen prey to their inevitable numbers, Adam's only family is his great-grandfather Val. As rising tides and global warming threaten the coast, Adam and Val leave their peaceful seaside town for the chaotic capital that is London. But Adam has inherited his mother's knack for trouble along with her curse for seeing death-- he struggles to get by in the city, and cannot fail to notice how many people's numbers are the same. Why are so many people fated to die on New Years, 2027? Sarah, an abused and haunted girl from the London suburbs, dreams of the answer every night. Sarah's nightmares foretell a shattering natural disaster which will bring London to its knees and which will strike on the New Year. But these same dreams also warn her to stay away from Adam, even as she realizes he may be the only one who can save her and the rest of the city... even as she realizes that she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her.
The novel alternates between Adam and Sarah's first person POVs, with short chapters and constant suspense. (Well, nothing is more suspenseful than impending doom and disaster.) Both are fantastic characters and for once I wasn't skeptical of their deep, love-at-first-sight feelings for each other and their emotional connection, just as I totally believed Jem and Spider's love in the first book. Some of the characters I just wanted to hug, which isn't exactly what you'd expect from this gritty dystopian novel. Adam's grandmother Val has purple hair and more than a few screws loose-- and yep, I loved her. She is the funniest literary grandmother ever, and would make a great replacement, I think, for the infamous Fruitcake Lady. If she were a real person, I mean... ANYWAY, all of the characters from Sarah and Adam and Val to the addicts Sarah stays with while she's homeless were amazing, and I felt totally absorbed in the story and the characters' fates.
There are so many electrically-charged moments where everything is at stake and so many twisting plot revelations. The ending is a real shocker, and the premise posed for the yet-to-be-released third and final book in the series-- Infinity--, promises that the continuation of this story has as much potential as the first two books. And just maybe it will do that really, really rare thing and be a third book in a trilogy which surpasses the first and second. You guys have got to check this series out.
Plot: 5/5Overall Rating: 5/5