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I Belong


Review: The Chaos by Rachel Ward

TitleThe Chaos

Author: Rachel Ward

Genre: YA Thriller

Series: Numbers (Book 2)

Publication Date: March 1, 2010

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 054524269X (Chicken House)

ISBN-13: 978-0545242691 (Chicken House)

Synopsis (Product Description):

Adam has more than inherited his mother’s curse: When he looks in someone’s eyes, he not only sees the date of their death…he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can’t help but clock how many people’s numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year’s Day. What chaos awaits the world? Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the “twenty-sevens”?

Quick & Dirty: An emotional roller-coaster of fear and desperation, with a suspenseful plot that keeps you turning pages.

Opening Sentence: The knock on the door comes early in the morning, just as it’s getting light.

Excerpt: Here

The Review:

Unfortunately for Adam, he learned at an early age just what the “numbers” mean.  Adam has inherited his mother’s curse.  He can tell when someone’s going to die by just making eye contact.  After moving from the country to London, Adam realizes that something is terribly wrong.  Adam can’t understand why everyone that he looks at has the same death date.  Confused and a bit rattled, Adam is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.  Sarah crosses paths with Adam and is thrown for a loop because he’s the guy in her nightmares.  Sarah must decide if Adam is a true danger to her and her daughter.  Will they be able to save anyone’s life?

The Chaos is the follow-up to Numbers.  The story alternates narration between Adam and Sarah.  I really like this approach and believe that it works well because the characters have such distinctive voices.  Ms. Ward succeeded in crafting another powerful story with multidimensional characters that you can’t help but care about.  The plot twists and depth of emotion make this story unforgettable.  Ms. Ward’s writing remains strong and the worldbuilding is delivered with such rich detail.  I also like the way Ms. Ward deals with social issues and real life struggles.  She doesn’t try to sell you a bill of goods and she isn’t heavy-handed about the message either.  The world and the conditions Ms. Ward has created are harsh, yet you still have that sense that the human spirit can’t be destroyed.

Adam and Sarah share such an emotional connection.  Sarah really grapples with her feelings toward Adam and he also tries to avoid developing feelings for Sarah.  As fate would have it, their destinies are intertwined.  Sarah comes from a troubled and abusive past.  Her current struggles are colored by a past that she’s so desperately trying to escape.  The romance doesn’t overpower the main plot and the characters feel very real.

As far as the series is concerned, I should also note that I like that Ms. Ward doesn’t get bogged down in justifying or explaining with definitive answers the true “origins” or the “why” of the character’s special abilities.  I think some readers might believe that this is the easy way out because there isn’t a Mr. Miyagi to shepherd the character along through each crises.  I for one don’t think this story needs to be written in a corner just to prove that it’s a plausible scenario.

Overall, The Chaos is a completely captivating story.  A wonderful plot and characters full of depth will have readers clamoring for Infinity, which is the next installment.

Notable Scene:

One side of me is cold and wet.  I shiver and sit up.  Above me the sky’s exploding; there’s rockets bursting like mortar shells, stars showering over me.  I can see the colors reflected in the front of me–it feels like I’m surrounded.  It sounds like a battleground.  Bonfire Night’s always like this, I think.  Then I look up again.  But it’s not the fifth of November.  It’s midnight on New Year’s Eve.  It’s past midnight.  It’s the first of January.

I put my hands on the ground for support.  A metal bracelet slides down my wrist.  A bracelet?  I don’t wear jewelry, never have.  My hands touch slime and I realize it’s mud under my fingers.  I’m by a river, with the water a few feet away from me.

I look around.  Another rocket lights up the sky, and in its flash I see a van lying on its side by the wall.  The driver’s cab is smashed in, the back door’s open.

I stagger to my feet, wincing at the pain shooting through me.  I take a few steps toward the van.  Its siren is quiet now.  There’s a mound of something on the ground nearby.  I crouch down.  It’s a person.  A body.  My guard.  The matching half of the handcuffs is still on his wrist, the chain broken on impact.

I stumble to the cab.  The ground’s soggy.  It drags at me, putting me off balance.  Two more bodies inside the van.  Their airbags inflated OK, but didn’t save them.

I turn away.

Where the hell am I?

I blunder forward and my hands hit something cold, rough, slimy–the river wall.  I follow it along, treading on garbage and god-knows-what washed up at the side.  I reach some steps and collapse onto them, breathing hard, trying to get my head around everything.

The Numbers Series:

1. Num8ers

2. The Chaos

3. Infinity

You can visit Rachel around the web here: Website

FTC Advisory: Scholastic provided me with a copy of The Chaos.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Chaos by Rachel Ward, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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