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The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel
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The Humming of Numbers

by Joni Sensel

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The Humming of Numbers
ELIB 530A – LibraryThing Part C – Historical Fiction - Book 1
This book is about an older adolescent boy (Aiden) who lives in a 10th century monastery in Ireland. He wants to become a scribe and work on illuminated manuscripts. He also has a peculiar affliction, which is that numbers have sound to him and everyone he is around emits a different number sound to him. He is relatively content there until he meets a girl (Lana) about his age that emits the sound of the number 11. Eleven is a new sound for him and he is transfixed. The girl also has a gift. She is able to communicate with trees and wood (she is a sort of “wood witch”). The two of them are thrown together in an adventure that requires them to work together to save the rest of their village after Vikings raid the monastery. Aside from Aiden’s talent/affliction the story is very believable historically. The author does a very good job describing life in a 10th century monastery; the clothing, the buildings, some of the art and technique of calligraphy and daily chores. Viking raids on monasteries in that part of the world at that time were occurring and the author did not skimp on violent detail. Also, paganism and superstition were still very much alive in people’s everyday lives and so Lana’s talents as a wood witch would not be much of a stretch of the imagination. I really liked this book for it’s story, but I also like to read about this time period in general. I also really loved the intensity of their budding attraction to each other and its implied climax at the end of the book.
  barefootTL | Jul 23, 2010 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

If you are looking for something different to read, pick up a copy of THE HUMMING OF NUMBERS. Several things combine to make it a quite unique reading experience.

First, there is the setting - the 10th-century in a Celtic monastery. Most books I've read lately have been set in 2008 and have included the latest in modern technology. In THE HUMMING OF NUMBERS, the main character, Aidan, is in training to become a scribe. He lives at the abbey and is a novice monk. His days are spent following their strict rules and dreaming of the day he will be able to work magic with his calligraphy pen.

Next comes the magic. Aidan possesses a mysterious talent. He associates numbers with everyone he meets. It's almost as if each person emits an aura (hum) that communicates to Aidan. The story begins one day in the abbey when Aidan hears an eleven. Until that day he has never heard anyone above a ten. Most of those he meets hum the number three. From the moment Aidan meets Lana, her special number and her lovely face become the focus of his attention. As the story unfolds, it also becomes clear that Lana has her own unique magic, and Aidan hopes her magic can be used to save the lives of those around them.

Another element that adds a different dimension to this story is the presence of raiders attacking and pillaging the countryside around Aidan's abbey. Aidan's life is spared when he is sent on an errand away from the abbey. Lana insists on accompanying him, so she is safe as well. When the two realize the horrors that have destroyed the villages and killed many, they offer to use their talents to rescue the local lord's kidnapped young son. Complicating matters is the fact that Lana is actually the illegitimate child of the local lord and has been sent away to the abbey as punishment.

THE HUMMING OF NUMBERS is truly an escape into another time and place. It is filled with likeable characters whose lives revolve in an entirely different direction than ours. This book gives readers a peek into the past, into the world as it once was. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Aiden, a novice monk in tenth century Ireland, is preparing to take his vows and join the abbey. Lana, an unusual girl, is sent to the abbey as punishment. Aiden can’t help his overwhelming curiosity of the new guest, and finds himself drawn to her even though he knows he will only be punished for it later. Surprisingly enough Aiden is charged with Lana’s well being during her stay in the abbey. Although their take on the world and God couldn’t be more different, the pair realize that they alone have talents that make them different from others. Aiden hears a humming of numbers emitted from people and objects, he can use the humming to base a person’s true nature. Lana is a wood witch, she is able to feel and communicate with trees and such. When their village is attacked and destroyed by Viking Norsemen, Aiden and Lana use their talents together to help defeat them.I enjoyed The Humming of Numbers, but at times I found the story lacking. Aiden’s ability is explained well, but Lana’s wood-witch nature wasn’t elaborated at all. I understood the overall premise of it, but it would have been nice if it was explained in further detail. I liked the plot of the novel as well, but I wish it would have been more refined, it just felt incomplete and improbable. There wasn’t anything in particular that drew me into the story either. I found the characters flat, I would have loved to known more about them. Overall, I think The Humming of Numbers was a good book, but it lacks some of the qualities, that I think would make it a great read. ( )
  the_story_siren | Jul 2, 2009 |
Aidan is a 17 year-old novice training to be a monk in Viking era Ireland. He hears a humming that he associates with numbers for everything in existence, and one day he meets a girl who is an 11, the highest number he has ever heard for a human. Aidan and Lana are well developed, and since the story centers around them, it is alright that the other characters are not as well developed. The setting is not well described in terms of a specific place, but readers that are somewhat familiar with the time period will have no problem understanding the story. This books is a quick read that holds the readers interest since the entire story takes place in about 3 days. I enjoyed the book very much and had been looking for something from this time period for a while now and was pleased with this book. ( )
  spartyliblover | Jun 6, 2009 |
This book involves a young monk in training who struggles with his thoughts on women. A bastard daughter of the local ruler comes to the monastary to be punished for selling wood to pilgrims, claiming they were from the holy crucifix. Norsemen attack the village, and the pair soon find themselves entangled in getting rid of these norsemen and then falling in love. It was really quite an interesting story with some supernatural elements to it. It was a quick and enjoyable read. ( )
  knielsen83 | Mar 5, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805083278, Hardcover)

Aidan is poised to take his monastic vows—until a girl enters the abbey, one who hums of the number eleven. Aidan has the ability to hear the humming of numbers, a buzzing energy given off by living things. He is captivated and tormented by the mysterious girl, Lana, who has some unusual abilities of her own. How can he become a monk when his mind is filled with impure thoughts?
 
Before he can begin to sort his feelings out, the Vikings raid. Only Aidan and Lana can save the village from certain, violent death—and only if they learn to trust in their mysterious talents.
 
Joni Sensel’s richly imagined new novel is a compelling blend of fantasy and adventure.
 
The Humming of Numbers is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:23 -0400)

Aiden, a novice about to take monastic vows in tenth century Ireland, meets Lana, a girl who understands his ability to hear the sounds of numbers humming from all living things, and just as he is beginning to question his religious calling, the two of them are thrown together in a mission to save their village from invading Vikings.… (more)

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