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The Humming of Numbers

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  318 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
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 t
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Henry Holt and Company
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This one had me at hello. I loved it. I L-O-V-E loved it. This one is going to the top of my oh-so-satisfying-just-can't-praise-it-enough list. Here's how it starts off:

Lana Nicarbith hummed of the number eleven. The sound caught Aidan's attention as he swept the path near the abbey's front gate. He stared, open-mouthed, while Lord Donagh dragged the girl through the entry, past Aidan's poised broom, and inside. Plenty of people filled Aidan's ears with the chiming of four or seven or nine, and
Doris Pearson
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Life in 10th century Ireland, Celtic and Christians, Viking raiders.. a young monk who hears numbers.. A young girl with witchy powers.. A must read.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Teenager Aiden wants to be a monk so that he can become a scribe, rather than for love of God. He's an artistic young man who desires to illuminate text. He also possesses a strange ability. Objects, including people, hum of numbers. These numbers can give him some personality cues and such. As the book opens, he realizes Lana hums of eleven - the first human he's met with a number higher than ten.

Lana, a bastard daughter of the local lord, is forced to live at the abbey because she's something
Katie Zafian
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
I can't say I hated this book, but I vividly disliked it and the themes it brought up. I didn't even finish it because I just did not think it was able to get better at all.
Firstly, I have to say that the humming number idea was not needed in this storyline- it would have been completely normal without it. A monk discovering a prisoner girl and wondering what she's like and what life is like on the other side, considering he's lived in the abbey for five years.
Also, about Lana- she is the bastar
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel had a couple of interesting concepts that I liked. As far as being a full and truly engaging story, it never really got off the ground, but it was decent.

Aiden is a monk in Celtic Ireland around the turn of the nineteenth century, working hard to be allowed to illuminate the books and manuscripts he loves. But he also has a strange talent; the ability to hear numbers in people and things around him, each revealing aspects of character through its sound, pitch, and volume. And when a
Enna Isilee
May 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was... boring and confusing. It's about a novice monk and a girl. Their world is torn apart by vikings and it's up to them to save it. But throughout the book the question isn't "Will they save the day?" but rather "Will they have sex?" It bothered me. And the whole idea of the novice "hearing numbers" was never really flushed out.

Didn't like it so much.
Benjamin Elliott
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I saw this book in a store shortly after it first came out, and it looked intriguing, but I didn't get around to reading it until now. I was initially intrigued by the premise with the numbers and the setting was sort of incidental to my wanting to read it.

It turned out to be the exact opposite. The stuff that I enjoyed stemmed mostly from the historical fiction aspects of the story, and the titular fantasy elements were a complete letdown. At no point does Aiden's sensing of these numbers impac
Oct 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked this book up at the library because the title interested me. It is YA though it talks about sex and rape. It's almost 250 pages long, but it's a small book so it doesn't seem like that. It takes place in 10th century Ireland. That seems bleak enough in itself for me, but the main character Aidan is training to be a monk. Only he is tempted by women, not that there are any in the Abbey (I thought monks lived in a monastery, but that's what it's called). He also has a weird talent, abilit ...more
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

Aidan is a novice in a tenth century Irish Abbey whose only goal in life is to work as a scribe and illuminator in the scriptorium. Three things stand in his way: his ability to hear the hum of numbers, the mysterious Lana who hums of the number 11, and Viking Raiders.

My thoughts after reading The Humming of Numbers are much like the book itself, a confusion of contradictions. It is like a large, sturdy foundation with no house ever built, tons of promise never fulfilled.
Maelstrom Reviews
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: charybdis
This review is pulled straight from the Charybdis. Go view it from a comfortable distance here :

Meeeeh. I am not a big fan of books that make me go "meeeeeh". Which is depressing, because I was expecting so much from this one.

Aidan wants to be a monk more than anything else in the world. Then he would be able to handle the beautiful books of the abbey, perhaps even create them. But there's something different about Aidan. He can hear the numbers of the world. Everything hums out a specific and
Jennifer Wardrip
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 t
Anya Kawka
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was pretty disappointed by this book. I was hoping for either a sci-fi fantasy or historical fiction, but as it turns out, I would categorize this book as Shallow Romance, loosely set in medieval Ireland. I will grant that the writing was readable and flowed nicely. It was just the plot and characters I did not like.(Spoilers ahead)
The main character's supernatural power to hear numbers humming in people and objects is never fully explored, nor does it have any consequential impact on the plot
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Flora Smith
I thought this was quite an interesting read. Aiden is a young novice monk, getting ready to take his final vows to enter the monastery. Living in 11th century Ireland and coming from a large family, he really has few options open to him. He also has a special talent that allows him to hear numeric vibrations from everything and everyone around him. He meets up with Lana who has been drug to the monastery by her biological father, and he hears an 11. This is the highest number he has ever heard ...more
I thought the book was rather intrieging. The way the author incorperated two different beliefs as they come together in harmony and peace. When Aidian saw Lana for the first time I could tell there was something about her that aidian would come to need her for something. I liked it when the authors started to foreshadow in Aidian and Lana and the idea that there may be a possiblity that the two of them could make it work if they kept in mind about how religion doesn't matter. If you love eachot ...more
It felt like this tale was taken out of a much larger story, not condensed, just a part of a whole. I don't know how to explain that any better. It seemed I was dropped in to the middle of a story. That being said, I did enjoy the book. I read it fairly quick (for me). The monk-hood was that really what Aidan wanted? That seemed to be the question from the get-go. Set in ancient Ireland, almost the coming together of two different religions but not really. It seems to be made clear both main cha ...more
Apr 25, 2014 rated it liked it
The story starts with the teenage Aidan hearing the humming of numbers. Everything has a number and the higher the number the more pure it was / is. For instance, most people have numbers in the single digits, and he has learned that certain numbers reflect certain types of people. For instance, a 7 is a leader.

Aidan is in the abbey to learn to script - to write - and longs to one day be allowed to create copies of books.

Instead, the introduction of Lara turns his world askew, and he moves out
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first time I read this book, I loved it. I remember gushing about how amazing it was. So I decided to reread this one. I remembered it as being amazing and wonderful, but, this second reading didn't thrill me. It's a great reminder of just how subjective reading is and how mood factors into how much a person loves a book...or not. I did like it the second time, it's not that my opinion changed completely. It's just that it was definite like and not love. I think the first time through I focu ...more
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This brief coming of age story offers a Celtic mix of religion and witchcraft from 10th century Ireland. Aidan, novice at the Saint Nevin Abbey, aspires to take his vows and work on illuminated texts. Since childhood he has sensed the humming of all living things and each humming has a number. Aidan has learned from experience to keep this unusual ability to himself.

Then Lana, an eleven, is brought to the abbey for punishment. Aidan is drawn to this strange creature who has a number higher than
Jan 07, 2015 added it
Shelves: dnf, boooooringggg
After seeing the lovely animated picture The Secret of Kells, I went hunting for reading material with the same flair or flavor. I came across this title, though totally unrelated to the aforementioned movie, seemed to have the same elements, (setting in Ireland, viking invasion, priest life) and what seemed to be a pretty cool premise of the main character being able to hear the 'numbers,' of people - a vibrational hum assigned a numerical equivalent. The book, despite this premise and title, h ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Aidan is a young monk in medieval Europe who is nearly ready to take his vows when his world is turned upside down. A mysterious girl named Lana is sent to live at the Abbey and he ends up "in charge" of her as his final test. Shortly thereafter the community is attacked by Vikings and Aidan and Lana end up working together to save the day. Sounds pretty adventurous, right? It is, but that's not all.

Although Aidan is deeply religious, he can hear the humming of numbers from every living thing a
Oct 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting premise, but a disappointing ending. Not sure what age this was targeted for but I was left wondering what the message was about teenagers having sex. It sounded to me like it's OK as long as you are going to get married. I'm not trying to say it is a bad message or good, I'll leave that decsion to the parent. I was just puzzled that it was the focus of the end of the story. Really? After all the interesting humming numbers, it comes down to "ok, we can do it now because we are going ...more
Alec Hale
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanne Williams
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Picked this up on the discount rack at Half-priced books. Knew nothing about the author. A nice surprise-- historical fiction in Pre-Norman Ireland, strong female and male characters, a math element, and some conflict between Christianity and nature religion. The story held my interest and kept drawing me back. The timeline of events over about 36 hours seems unrealistic in retrospect, but was entirely believable while I was reading. Author's note on the culture and numbers was very informative.
Mar 11, 2009 added it
Recommends it for: absolutely nobody
Recommended to Heather by: found it at the library and took a chance
I didn't forget the stars - this book deserves no stars. It is a waste of time and so not appropriate for young adults. The characterization and narrative are filled with trite, over-used phrases as though the author feels she needs to 'dumb it down' for teens. The thin plot only exists for the exploration and glorification of medieval witchcraft and nature worship and teen sex. Don't waste your time. There is nothing here for anyone.
Miss Amanda
gr 7-9 243 pgs

900s, Ireland. 17 year old Aidan wants to be a monk and spend his life making illuminated manuscripts more than anything. When Lana, who believes in folk magic, is brought to the abbey to work, Aidan, even though he knows it's a bad idea, ends up befriending her. When the Vikings attack, Aidan is frustrated with monks' response (or lack of), but does he dare to work with Lana in a desperate plan to save the village?

Great story, but definitely for older readers.
Samantha97 Stowell
Jun 12, 2009 rated it liked it
I thought this was interesting and will written. That individuals are connected to the earth in different ways was interesting. The boy heard numbers (related to personality traits) emitted from living things. The girl could hear wood. It had a bit more sexual encounters for a younger reader. They were all tasteful I am just a mom with middle schoolers that don't need to read books with sexual parts.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this historical-fiction-with-a-touch of magic twist! The picture of life in the middle ages is well portrayed but I especially enjoyed the addition of Aidan's ability to hear the humming of numbers, a sort of aural energy given off by all living things. This intriguing ability is pivotal throughout the story and wonderfully integrated from beginning to end. The love story between the two young people works very well too and if the ending is a bit tidy, I didn't care ;-)
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: older 8th - 10th grade, particularly girls
This is historical fiction with a wee touch of fantasy and a lot of romance. I thought it was going to be a recommend to boys but after reading it, I think girls would like it more. It's comparable to Hush: an Irish Princess Tale by Donna Jo Napoli; set in the same time period and in Ireland, but about what happens to the Irish people who are left behind after the raiders come rather than about the slaves abducted and taken away from Ireland like in Napoli's book.
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.
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“Aiden drew Lana's eleven over his skin like a cloak, and inside it, found love. For a time the humming of all other numbers dimmed behind the brilliant None they created in each other's arms.
The oaks, hazels, and yews of the grove heard that None, and they whispered.”
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