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Numbers #2: The Chaos

Review

Numbers #2: The Chaos

In the year 2026, residents of an English seaside town are evacuated as rising floodwaters threaten safety. The forced move from the home in which he feels safe begins for Adam, the move toward an inevitability that he's been dreading as long as he can remember. Adam, like his mother before him, can see in the eyes of those around him the date they will die and often the manner of their deaths. As Adam and his great-grandmother Val are moved to London, they're moved toward a destruction they both know awaits them there.

THE CHAOS is Rachel Ward's exciting sequel to NUMBERS, which told the story of Adam's mother, Jem. Now, years after Jem's death, Adam is living with his father's grandmother trying to cope with his terrible gift of numbers. And though he doesn't know how or why he can see the numbers, he knows they're real and that many people are going to die horrible deaths on January 1, 2027.

In London, Adam meets a beautiful and damaged teenage girl named Sarah, who also has visions of a devastating near future --- a vivid re-occurring nightmare where a scarred man walks with her baby into a wall of fire. What only Sarah knows is that she's pregnant and she decides to do whatever she can to protect her baby, not only from her own family, but from the scarred man she sees in her sleep. When she meets Adam at school, all the emotions she's been bottling up rise to the surface in a tangle of desire, hope and complete terror. Could Adam be the person she has seen taking her baby from her? And when Adam looks into Sarah's eyes, he sees a future well beyond 01012027, one of love and companionship. So why is she so afraid of him?

As Sarah runs away to protect her daughter, living in a junkie squat, Adam and Val wrestle with how to save people from the catastrophe they know is coming with the new year. But when both Sarah and Adam come to the attention of the authorities, their plans come under attack, and as panic sweeps the city, their hope begins to falter. Can Adam save any lives? Can he save the lives of the people he cares for? Will he be ignored? Or will he be killed like so many others when disaster strikes.

THE CHAOS is a riveting and frightening story with nuanced and compelling characters. Both Adam and Sarah struggle with complicated and painful backstories that they must confront as they learn to rely on each other in the hopes of saving themselves, those they love, and as many people in London as possible. Ward's narrative is brisk and her language real. Adam and Sarah are by no means traditional heroes: they're hurt and scared, young and unsure, yet their gifts (or curses) force them into action. From apocalyptic disasters to bullying, from the loss of parents to molestation, from teenage pregnancy to corrupt governments, THE CHAOS packs in several heavy themes all while delivering a great story.

While technically a sequel, it's strong enough to stand on its own. Readers, however, will no doubt be eagerly hoping for a third book following Adam and Sarah as they navigate a world that has been brutally changed.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on October 18, 2011

Numbers #2: The Chaos
by Rachel Ward

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2012
  • Genres: Urban Fantasy
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Chicken House
  • ISBN-10: 0545263557
  • ISBN-13: 9780545263559