Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Review: The Silver Dream

I picked up this advanced copy at ALA-Midwinter because it said Neil Gaiman on the front in big letters and I'm a sucker for that. However it is a bit of a lie. While the original Interworld novel was by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves, this sequel is actually written by Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves with Neil Gaiman credited for the story. I'm not entirely sure what that means. That bit of information should not deter anyone who enjoyed the first book from reading this one.

The Silver Dream: An Interworld Novel by Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves (and Neil Gaiman). Published April 23, 2013 by HarperTeen. 240 pages.

Bottom Line: Fast paced, action filled book that will be enjoyed by readers of the first Interworld novel but probably not independently. Recommended for libraries who own the first book.

This is a case of a sequel absolutely not standing on its own. If you haven't read Interworld, go read it, it's fantastic. Then come back and read The Silver Dream. The story began in the first novel of a teen who gets lost on a class field trip and in his confusion "walks" between worlds continues here. Joey Harker has the ability to travel between parallel dimensions as do all the incarnations of him on all the possible Earths. Together they form a sort of interdimensional police force trying to keep the worlds balanced between the all-magic worlds and the all-science worlds in the war between those of magic and science.

(Side note: I'm on a rewatch of Sliders on Netflix and this is an interesting book choice while watching that show. Sliding between parallel worlds where humanity has gone a slightly different direction in two very different visions of the same premise.)

While out on a training mission, Joey, or rather Joey plus his team of versions of himself, meet a new person, Acacia, the first person who isn't a version of Joey they've ever met with the ability to walk between words. As they try to sort it all out and go on a mission to rescue a newly discovered walker, things start to go very wrong. Joey quickly needs to decide if he can trust Acacia or anyone before it is too late for everyone.

All the J names make keeping characters straight difficult, even with the cast of characters introductory pages. There is only the briefest of overviews to the premise/technobable and thus anyone who has not read the first one will be at sea. I read the first one in 2007 when it first came out and needed a brief refresher (courtesy of wikipedia) before tackling this novel.

If you liked the first one, you will like this book. However, I did not think it was as strong as the first book. There was a lot of action, a nice strong plot, but it kept rushing from point to point without focusing on the world/character building that made the first one so enjoyable. Personally I am the type of reader that enjoys a good world build, a solid setting with lots of details, and really complex characters. The first book had more of that. This book has a lot of plot. And plot is good, but it isn't my favorite thing. Other readers will love it.

Kids will like this book. I can see it appealing to both boys and girls. the main problem is the first book came out in 2007 and 6 years is almost a generation in kid time. Those initial readers may have moved on. If you were 11 and read Interworld, you're 17 now and probably not as interested. However, there's no time like the present to bring a new reader into the fold. It's a great concept and the series should be an easy sell for book talks and on the fly reader's advisory.

I'm glad I read this book. I will recommend it. There's a set up for the next book at the end. I don't know if I will read that one.

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