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Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward(1964- )
Rachel Ward won a writer’s award at a regional arts festival, and her prize-winning short story turned into the opening chapter of her debut novel, Numbers. She lives in Bath, England with her husband and their two children. Learn more at Rachel Ward’s website


Numbers: Promising start, but disappointing in the end

Numbers by Rachel Ward

Numbers is a book that's hard to categorize. It starts out as urban fantasy, then becomes more of an adventure novel, then seems to be a "teaching life lessons" story toward the end.

The heroine, Jem, has a supernatural "gift" that has caused her no end of grief. She sees numbers when she looks at people. As a little girl, she didn't know what the numbers meant — not until her mother's number turned out to be the day she overdosed on drugs. Now a troubled teenager, Jem finds it hard to get close to anyone. How can she get attached to anyone, when she knows the date they will die?

Enter Spider. He's a classmate of Jem's who is teetering on the edge of big trouble. For personal reasons, it took me a little while to warm up to Spider. In Jem's narrative voice, Rachel Ward describes him like this: "One of those people who stand too close to you, doe... Read More

The Chaos: A realistic, gritty portrayal of how society spits out teens who don’t fit in

The Chaos by Rachel Ward

The Chaos is the sequel to Numbers, and is a much better book. The way the numbers work is explained better and the plot is more consistent. The Chaos also has the effect of making Numbers feel like a prequel. Jem is long dead in this installment, and her son’s story has a much larger scope.

It’s the year 2026, and things are a little different: climate change has led to many towns being flooded, and the government microchips people for identification and surveillance. Adam has been raised in a country town by his great-grandmother, Val. When their town is flooded, they move to London, despite a warning from Jem before she died — that vast numbers of Londoners are destined to die on New Year’s Day, 2027.

Adam soon sees these dire numbers too, and the nitty-gritty of his ability is ... Read More

Infinity: Emotionally moving

Infinity by Rachel Ward

Infinity, by Rachel Ward, concludes the series that began with Numbers and peaked in The Chaos. It’s a few years after the apocalypse that devastated England in that second book. Adam and Sarah are living a nomadic lifestyle with Sarah’s two younger brothers and her daughter Mia. Adam isn’t comfortable around people because of his special ability and easily recognizable face, but Sarah is pregnant again and would really like to settle down.

As this conflict arises between the two, an external threat appears. Infinity takes a dystopian tone; men from the government want to use Adam’s power for the rebuilding effort, and they are not inclined to take no for an answer.

Infinity is a slim novel with only one major conflict, and feels kind of like a “bonus novella” rather than a full installment in the series, but it does give satisfactory cl... Read More