Jumper: Griffin's Story
by Steven Gould
Tor, 2008

Steven Gould's novel Jumper came out in 1992. It was a popular novel, and was eventually made into a movie by the same name. As with many novels based on movies, the scriptwriters made a number of changes to the world, creating the demand for a novelization that matched the world of the movie; Gould did not especially want to re-write Jumper, nor did he want to hand the project off to a ghostwriter. This novel is the compromise; a novel set in the world of the movie, but focusing on the backstory of a major supporting character.

In the movie Jumper, Griffin is a mentor figure, someone who is experienced in fighting the bad guys and provides the protagonist, David, with background info and general support. The novelization follows Griffin as a child, starting with the murder of his parents by a secret organization that hunts teleporters.

As with the original novel, Griffin is able to teleport anywhere he can remember being previously, but unlike the original novel, there is a secret organization that is dedicated to exterminating teleporters, and a counter-power that allows some special individuals to sense when someone nearby is teleporting. The story follows Griffin as he slowly learns to use his power, expands his range, finds some friends, and learns how to fight back against the hunters.

This is a good book, but hard to review without spoilers -- both for itself, and for the original series. Griffin's Story is, I think, both better written and more modern in tone than the original Jumper, but it is also clearly borrowing a lot from that novel. It is a tighter, faster read, with no less drama and some nice twists (mostly from the bad guys knowing exactly what they are up against) that build well on the original concept. If you want a Jumper novel, but not necessarily a Jumper series, this is the book for you. If you are a fan of the original series, I'd probably recommend reading this after reading all the other books, and only after a suitable pause. There's enough shared content between the series and the novelization that it is rather repetitious to read them one right after the other, but there is enough new content to make it worthwhile if you're feeling like a bit more Gould a year or two later on.

Jumper: Griffin's Story is a stand-alone novel with no planned follow-up. It does have an accompanying video game of the same name, but I am not qualified to review or comment on that.


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