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The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel

Review

The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel

Joey Harker is settling into his new life on InterWorld. Well, as much as anyone can be settled into a life in which all of your comrades are alternate-world versions of you, and you strive to thwart the potentially apocalyptic schemes of two scheming organizations. In fact, Joey feels so ready to mature that he insists that his comrades start calling him “Joe.” Besides dropping the diminuitive “-y,” this name change also makes his moniker sound more similar to those of his comrades: J/O is a cyborg, Jo has angel wings, Jai loves complex syntax and Jay mentored Joey before his untimely death.

"Fans of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series will appreciate the blend of magic and technology in this book, and fans of Douglas Adams’ HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will like the inter-dimensional travel; fans of either will respond to Joe’s humor."

These characters will be familiar to readers of the first installment of this series, but Acacia Jones will not be. The novel opens with Joe’s team engaged in a fierce fight with Binary forces. When they are overwhelmed by sheer numbers, a mysterious young woman appears on their ship and teleports them home. She wears “a strange outfit that seemed cobbled together out of various locales and times: Moorish pantaloons, a mantle from the Renaissance, a blouse that looked Victorian.” She identifies herself as Acacia Jones, and forbids anyone to call “Casey.” Once on InterWorld, Acacia receives a high security clearance from the commander, who won’t explain his reasons. Joe wonders who she is and why she seems to be so important.

Shortly after they return to base, the commander issues a notification that, not one, but three extremely powerful Walkers, or inter-dimensional travelers like Joe and his team, have been reported at large. Joe and his comrades must embark on a rescue mission to save one of them from the clutches of evil organizations that would use them for ill. The second book in the InterWorld series, created by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves and written by Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves, THE SILVER DREAM continues Joe Harker’s story as he struggles to settle into an identity in a world rife with betrayal, secrecy and alternate-world copies of himself.

Reaves, Reaves and Gaiman have built a fully formed world in this series, and their vision is clear from the opening of the book. Even though nearly all of the characters have names that start with the letter “j,” they each have a specific personality quirk or physical irregularity (such as wings or fangs) that marks them as unique entities. For rare moments of forgetfulness, a character list in the front of the book keeps track of all of these names and abilities for you. Joe lives amongst dozens of copies of himself, all of whom are somehow cooler than he is. Joe doesn’t have wings or fangs. He isn’t part animal nor can he turn into one. He doesn’t have an extensive vocabulary at his disposal, and he isn’t part robot. He is just a teenage boy. But he is the most talented young Walker on InterWorld, and this makes him one of the most powerful.

The Interworld series posits a world in which the two forces plotting to destroy, nay, re-create the world, are magic and science. At one end of all of the known worlds is HEX, which has honed the art of magic and is ruled by the wicked, red-eyed Lord Dogknife. At the other end is Binary, a science- and technology-based culture run by the weedy Professor, who has static where his eyes should be.

But not all is dark and treacherous here. Joe’s voice is distinctive and never obtrusively so. Reaves and Reaves pepper his narration with witty observations, self-deprecating jokes and gallows humor.

It is important to note that, while Neil Gaiman’s name is perhaps the most prominently displayed on the cover, he did not have a hand in writing this book. He and Michael Reaves developed the concept, and Mallory Reaves leant her voice to Michael’s during the writing process.

While reading the first Interworld book before this one would certainly help a reader understand the intricacies of the world, it is not impossible to start with this book, especially if the reader is already a fan of science fiction and fantasy stories. Reaves and Reaves weave backstory into the narrative as it is needed, and this never slows the pace. Fans of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series will appreciate the blend of magic and technology in this book, and fans of Douglas Adams’ HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will like the inter-dimensional travel; fans of either will respond to Joe’s humor. THE SILVER DREAM is a thrilling addition to the Interworld series that leaves several important questions unanswered, and readers will be left eager for the third installment.

Reviewed by Caroline Osborn on April 23, 2013

The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel
by Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, and Mallory Reaves