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The Silver Dream | Review


The Silver Dream (InterWorld #2) by Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, and Mallory Reaves

The Silver Dream picks up two years after InterWorld left off, and Joey Harker is, if not well-liked, at least a substantial member of the group. His team is out on a mission when things go wrong and they’re saved by a strange female named Acacia, who turns out to be more important than she’s letting on. In addition, the evil forces of HEX and Binary are coming together and not everyone at InterWorld can be trusted.

Whereas InterWorld was filled with heavy scientific jargon, The Silver Dream was a bit easier to understand on the whole. Sure, there was still some space-time stuff mentioned, but the details were for the most part glossed over in a need-to-know way.

Joey, Joe as he now likes to call himself, is now sixteen, and has matured a bit from the first book. He’s not as caught up on himself and his own losses as he was, though he does still suffer from what other people think of him, and he seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot.

The_Silver_Dream_by_Neil_Gaiman_Michael_Reaves_and_Mallory_Reaves_Interior_Number_TwoI felt like the story was easier to follow this time around too, even if some of the situations are hard to describe, and I really liked Acacia (not to mention, I still love Hue). The different variations of Joey were some of my favorite as well, and I’d love to see what life is like on all those different planets (wolf-Joey! vampire-Joey! angel-Joey! bird-Joey! robot-Joey!), even if all the J names can be confusing. I did like that there was a Cast of Characters in the beginning of the book, though, to help sort that out.

Also, how is this Joey all that special, and why do the others not like him as much? Aren’t they all pretty much the same? Isn’t that kind of the point? If they’re all still hung up on accepting him because of what happened in the first novel, isn’t it about time to get over it? It wasn’t his fault, anyway.

One thing I was bummed about was the publisher’s implying the novel was written by Gaiman, when in fact, it was written by Michael and Mallory Reaves, with the “story by” credit going to the original duo from InterWorld. It explains the different writing style and weak plot points, but was a cheap shot to have Gaiman’s name grace the cover in such big text when he didn’t actually write it.

The novel does end on a cliffhanger, setting up the final installment, Eternity’s Wheel.


InterWorld | Review


InterWorld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

InterWorld is basically a story about a boy named Joey who can Walk between different dimensions, and the InBetween which connects them all. There are Magic-based worlds and Science-based worlds, two opposing groups trying to control them all, and an army of Joeys from all the different worlds trying to stop them. Or something.

To be honest, some of the sciencey stuff was lost of me. I tried to understand. I felt like I SHOULD understand, but I didn’t. I mean, I got the basic gist of it, but most of it was over my head There was too much jargon and trying to sound smart, but what doesn’t fit is the story is geared towards younger audiences. If I’m having trouble understanding it, and I consider myself fairly well-read and adult-like, how will a tween fare?

I liked the idea behind the story, the science vs. magic (though I wished that had been developed more), the multiple universes, and the ability to Walk between them. I liked the Hero’s Journey feel of it all (I’m a sucker for those), and I liked imagining what the different worlds would look like. I wish we’d seen more of the other Earths, however, and some of the backstory was quite confusing. Or maybe I just skimmed over it.

Interworld_Interior_number_twoI really liked the idea of the multiple Joeys, and even though they’re all technically the “same” character, the authors did a good job at giving them differences and standout features, though because they all have similar names, it took some time to remember who was who and for their “personality” to shine through. It’s something to say, however, when my favorite character (Hue) was one who only spoke in colors and acted more like a pet (albeit a super awesome one).

As I get older, I have a harder time going back and reading books suited for younger audiences, because so much of the story is glossed over and skipped, and InterWorld was no exception. I wanted more depth to the story and to SEE the scenes and the action rather than just hear that they happened.

There’s a lot that can be done with this world and concept, discussions on magic vs. science, nature vs. nurture, parallel and multiple dimensions, etc, and I’m hoping the next two books in the series mature a bit and go into them. I’m curious to see how the story will develop as well.

Stardust | Review


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

It’s magical, it’s mystical, it’s wandering, it’s beautiful, it’s mysterious, and it’s wonderful.

Stardust is the story of a young man, part of the normal world and part of the faerie world, who travels into the faerie world in order to retrieve a star and prove his love. What he finds is a world of magic, deception, and love.

The way I imagine this book is if the entrance to Narnia weren’t in a wardrobe, but a passage through a wall, visible to all townsfolk, but unattainable and mysterious and cloaked in woodland. The occupants of both worlds come together only once every nine years, for a market of mystery and delight, but otherwise there are guards at the wall, ensuring no one passes through. Except Tristran, who leaves in hopes of redeeming his worthiness and love for a woman he only thinks he loves, and returns knowing what love truly is.

I also saw a lot of Tom Bombadil in Stardust, the way the trees talk and move and have a mind of their own, and how the long passage is riddled with helpful travelers and narrow escapes.

stardustIn some ways, I also saw Stardust as a more magical, hopeful version of Neverwhere. Both male protagonists are somewhat of a nothing in the beginning, but travels through the “other” worlds and companionships with strong female characters, changes them. Tristran irritated me much less so than Richard, however, and the star was a delightful character on her own, perhaps my favorite. I even enjoyed the witch-queen, as horrid as she was at times.

Just as it was in Neverwhere, at times, Stardust was slow, the plot cumbersome and the imaginings of trees and wearily traveling taxing on my brain. But the way the story came together, the way the characters interweaved, and the nervousness of the plot made up for those moments, and the book ended on a high note of lyricism, hope, and beauty.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Review


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

A man, in town for a funeral, revisits his childhood home and awakens forgotten memories of magic, adventure, and otherworldly power.

Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no exception. A beautiful novel about childhood and growing up to forget, it’s easy to get lost in the fantasy and magical realism of this novel.

Gaiman does an exquisite job of creating a world within a world, where things are not as they appear to be, and in turn creating a new fairytale where adults are bound by limits which children are not, and a bit of the everyday can be the catalyst for so much more.

tumblr_mtl408ldo51qdo62to1_500The narrator, who is reminiscing on his childhood, particularly at age seven, is able to experience something most of us are not: the ability to remember with detail the events of childhood, but also reflect on them as an adult. He remarks about his selfishness and immortality at that age, but isn’t afraid to show his fears and weaknesses as well. He is a child, and the novel paints that innocence and arrogance with a fine brush.

The details of the locations, the smells, the tastes, make it easy for the reader to dive into the world of the book, to see the orangey sky and the ocean-pond, to taste the burnt toast with peanut butter and feel the cool grass in the fairy circle.

To aid in the fantastical elements of the novel, Gaiman has the narrator remind Lettie that the fairy circle and the ocean are just pretend, but the twinkle in her eye hint to both the reader and the narrator that all is not as it seems.

Also, the wordplay and creativity of this novel were fun to read… particularly when it comes to wormholes, which I thought was brilliant.

While the reader is never explicitly told where Lettie and the other Hempstocks come from, the idea that they are from everywhere and nowhere, that they are part of creation, is an interesting one, and invites the reader to explore the world (both real and that in the novel) in a different way, which is exciting and inspiring.

A book which shows there are no ages limits when it comes to stories, to emotions, and to life, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderful read.