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Numbers #2: The Chaos

The Chaos is a YA thriller/sci-fi novel, and the second in the Numbers trilogy, by Rachel Ward.

If you haven’t read Numbers yet, you should avoid this review. Instead, read my review of Numbers here.

If you HAVE read Numbers, feel free to continue to read…

The first numbers Adam saw were his mother’s.

That’s how he knew she was going to die.

He inherited her curse, her ability to see the date a person will die when you look into their eyes.

Only he got an added bonus. He not only sees when they will die, he feels it too.

So when, at fifteen, he finds himself in London with his Nan – still mourning his mom’s death – he’s horrified to see the same number popping up on multiple people, New Year’s Day 2027. Just a few months away.

What could happen on New Year’s to cause so many deaths in one place?

Can he warn them? Or is it better to keep it a secret, like his mother always advised?

When I read Numbers earlier this year, I was surprised by how down-to-earth and urban it was – and that tone is continued here. Even though we’re skipping quite a few years and becoming led by Jem’s son, that continuity is nice. It helped to make Numbers unique.

The Chaos is jarring, stark. Adam’s power is chilling – it isolates him. And despite the fact that I sometimes got irritated with his angry outbursts (since he grew up with love, unlike his mother), I could see how his ability influenced him.

Rachel Ward infuses the sad reality of an abusive domestic life (as we’re introduced to Sarah, the other main character in The Chaos) with suspenseful sci-fi – including the realization that Sarah’s been having nightmares about Adam, and the ever-spooky amount of January 2027 deaths.

The Chaos is painful, sensitive, effective and shocking – an impressive follow-up to Numbers. It’s very character driven and needs a mature, older teen audience – in my opinion. It’s so involving, insanely fast-paced, and emotionally raw that I whipped through it in one evening.

I was glued, and for good reason. The climatic conclusion hits the right notes, and sets us up for a third and final novel, Infinity, which I will be diving into next.

Very good.

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