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InterWorld (InterWorld Trilogy) Paperback – April 29, 2008
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A lad discovers that he can walk between alternate Earthsand is swept up in a war between them in this fast-paced, compulsively readable tale. Joey gets lost in his own house, but when he steps into a patch of fog and finds himself in a world where he died, a trillion Earths lie open to himarranged in a vast arc, with an empire of science-based planes at one end and a realm where magic rules at the other. Recruited into an army of anything-but-identical Joeys gathered from many of these worlds and charged with maintaining the balance of power, Joey picks up companions both human and non as he travels the multidimensional In Between that links the sprawling "Altiverse." In this first of what could and should be many episodes, Joey finishes his basic training by doing battle with melodramatically evil magic workers Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo. Vivid, well-imagined settings and characters compensate for weak links in the internal logic of this rousing sf/fantasy hybrid. Peters, John --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“A mind-stretching ride for which all tweens and teens (and many adults) will be grateful.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))
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Top Customer Reviews
This was a very sophisticated book and I mean beyond the very esoteric topics of underworld travel. Joey Barker was a goat and then a hero of sorts. I don't know what's coming in the next two books but I suspect he will cement his status as part of his team.
The concept behind this story was very interesting and for those readers who like parallel world stories and how subtle differences in events can make big differences in a timeline, this is a good read.
Joey Harker is nothing special, or so he thinks. If anything his ability to get lost in his own house is downright embarrassing. But then one day he manages take a wrong turn and winds up in another dimension. The ability to walk through worlds is a special one, and there are forces that intend to use Joey for their own ends. The only safety for Joey is an army . . . of himself. But saving the universe is a tough business and it's not so easy for one boy to turn into a hero overnight. Before he comes into his own, Joey has a lot of growing up to do. It's a fascinating idea: an army crafted between dimensions out of self preservation. It's also a really quick read. At only 233 pages, the story has to keep moving pretty quickly in order to wrap up before the book cover closes. This tale has much in common with superhero storylines and feels almost comic-book like in nature, despite the text storyline. This isn't too surprising given that Gaiman is well known for his Sandman graphic novels and Reaves is an award-winning television writer who worked on Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles.
Overall, I'd say the book isn't bad--particularly for something that was dusted off from storage. But while the world building is fascinating, the plotting tends to be way too simplistic and clichéd. Even the target audience for this novel (9-12 year-olds) is going to be familiar with some of these plot elements: Joey's friendship with a "dangerous" creature from in-between that becomes a sort of pet and sidekick, the crochety, never-a-nice-word to anybody leader, and the reluctant hero heading out to rescue his friends in a do or die situation after he's been kicked to the curb. So, if someone's looking for originality in the storyline, they may be a bit disappointed. Still, the story isn't dead in the water, and there's some fascinating glimpses and ideas to be had, but it could have been much stronger--both writers are capable of better plotting. Likewise, there isn't much time for characterization in the brief adventure tale and most of the cast gets the short end of a stick on description. We get glimpses, but no time to really get to know most of them. My biggest complaint is that things go at a comfortable pace in the beginning--introducing Joey and his teacher and his first World Walk. Then everything starts to run a bit too quickly once we get to the Interworld base. Joey goes from being rescued to being a recruit at a very sudden pace and the entire part of the story that takes place at the Interworld school feels glossed over. It would have been interesting to spend more time on that part and expand the growth of Joey from clueless victim who gets others killed to heroic teammate who saves the day.
While there are deaths in this book and some gruesome threats to the protagonists, there isn't as much actual grisly death in the story and it does have a happy ending for the most part. The story will probably work best for young teens and mature preteens who enjoy the kind of blended SF and Fantasy that is found in superhero comics. It's a quick read and therefore may appeal to those who dislike longer works or endless series. For older teens and readers who have cut their eyeteeth on Gaiman's longer fiction, this may be a bit of a disappointment and it might be one to borrow from the library before buying to see if it's worth it. For those who enjoy this and want to find more Neil Gaiman books to read, check out Neverwhere and Stardust. And for other adventures in SF and Fantasy, check out Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins and Mister Monday by Garth Nix.
Happy Reading! ^_^ Shanshad
I began to suspect that I had crossed into an alternate universe, in which the author Neil Gaimen was not the literary genius of my own world. Then I looked more closely at the cover and became suspicious of the dual authorship... further research revealed the truth. Neil Gaimen didn't write this book! He had an idea which was the foundation for this book (though I'd argue that maybe Diana Wynn Jones already had that idea and explored it several times to better effect) and the other guy went off to write it up.
First admission - I didn't read the book, I listened to the Audiobook, which only made the irritating teen-narration even more tortuous as it is read in that 'adult effects youth' style. Which maybe is appropriate as the style of the character is very much adult-effects-teen, leaving too many traces of adult; the teenage protagonist is both a dimwit, but also uses metaphors that should be outside of his field of experience. I can't recall an example as I write, and I can't make myself go back to the book to find one.
Let's just accept that this is not a Gaimen novel: I feel swindled - why his credit first, if not purely to capitalise on his good name to sell more books? It's a marketing ploy, right? And that seems grossly unfair to dedicated Gaimen fans like us, who picked this up in good faith. It's like buying a healthful fruit drink only to find cheap, sugary lemonade fizz inside. I wanted the juice of real mangoes, pineapples, bananas, as pictured on the label - but I got carbonated water with sugar and lemon-like artificial flavouring instead. Blechhh.
I honestly hate to write a negative review of anybody's work. People work hard, they should feel good about the results. Trouble is that I was lured into this purchase by the name Gaimen - a name that I felt I could count on for the kind of reading experience that I enjoy. This does harm to the writer Reave, who suffers from the inevitable comparison. Stop selling this as a Gaimen book, and let Reave build his own reputation amongst people who are content with his style of writing. Let him earn his own positive reviews, not these descriptions of dashed hopes and disappointed dreams.