In a day when the young adult reader has been bombarded with wizards and magic, here is a completely different type of story for them to read. It is a follow-up to the first book penned by this author ten years ago, Jumper, which is a major motion picture due to be released by 20th Century Fox/New Regency Enterprises in February 2008. Griffin's Story is the backstory of a character created for the movie. As I was unfamiliar with the first book, I had reservations about enjoying this one. The author proved those reservations misplaced.
The book follows Griffin for about thirteen years, beginning when he is nine and struggling to stay alive. Griffin has a remarkable talent: he is able to translocate to any location that he can to picture in his mind. Because of this talent, called "jumping", some unknown entity is bent on his destruction. We first meet Griffin as his father is teaching him how to survive against “them” - jumping before someone points a weapon at him and never jumping where others can see him. All the preparation in the world does not ready Griffin for what is about to happen.
The storyline is mainly dark with a few happy highlights sprinkled throughout. Life is difficult when you are on the run, and this story touches on many of the difficulties faced by a fugitive. Young adults may be able to identify with many aspects of the story: loneliness, frustration with authority, sexual exploration, the value of and pain of losing those you love. Steven Gould also touches on questioning the wisdom and abilities of the establishment to make the right decisions.
At times, the movement of the story is unclear, with no definite resolution in the horizon, no denouement, which is irritating to me as a reader. It is obvious that this is a story to build the background of a character. I am unsure if my unfamiliarity with the future of this character affected my frustration with the story. Perhaps if I knew where the story was headed, I would have enjoyed the book even more.
Overall, this reminds me of the latest Star Wars films, being a story about the destruction of hope and morality in a young boy. Griffin justifies every action he takes as he steps increasingly farther away from the commonly agreed upon morality of the average person. In spite of this, I found myself intrigued by Gould’s style of writing. I may not have enjoyed what was happening, but he somehow convinced me to keep reading.