Eternity’s Wheel provides an appropriate and satisfying conclusion to the InterWorld saga. This arguably the most powerful book in the series.
When the story opens, Joey Harker is back home on his Earth, injured and cut off from his InterWorld teammates. He doesn’t know if he managed to stop FrostNight, Acacia Jones is MIA, and Base Town is trapped and fleeing HEX. Joey goes to Mr. Dimas (his old social studies teacher) for help and advice, and then he embarks on a quest to seek out and recruit more Walkers to train a new army to fight Binary and HEX.
This is an excellent premise for the final volume of the series. At heart, these books are about Joey growing up and accepting his full adult responsibilities. Left on his own like this, he buckles down and does what he thinks is needed. He makes himself a leader.
The Silver Dream, story by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves, written by Michael & Mallory Reaves (Book #2 of the InterWorld series) is both better and not as good as its predecessor.
The story in this one is better. My main complaint about the first book in the series is that it read more like the outline of a TV show concept (which is what it is) than a fully fleshed out novel. The Silver Dream works as a cohesive, contained novel. As such, it’s more compelling.
Joey Harker has been with InterWorld for two years now. His team has gained experience in the field. When new and powerful Walkers are discovered in both the HEX and Binary sections of the Altiverse, InterWorld agents (including Joey) retrieve them and bring them back to Base Town. Along the way, Joey meets Acacia (“Don’t call me Casey”) Jones, a mysterious young woman who turns out to be far more important than she lets on. That’s when things start to go wrong … and FrostNight begins.
I admit: the only reason I checked out InterWorld is because it has Neil Gaiman’s name on it and it was available at my local library. I was waiting for a copy of a different book that I wanted to read, and I needed something to fill the time while I waited. I admit, as well, that I hadn’t paid any attention to the fact that InterWorld is a YA novel.
I wish I knew how much of InterWorld comes from Mr. Gaiman and how much is from the coauthor, Michael Reaves. I hope this is mostly Mr. Reaves book because, otherwise, I have to accept that Mr. Gaiman finally wrote something that disappointed me.
I’m not saying InterWorld is a bad book. It’s not. It’s smart and funny and fast-paced. It’s entertaining, with a delightful cast of characters.
Alice by Christina Henry is… interesting. Compelling. Artful. There’s a poetry to the writing, the dialog is spare and evocative. The author’s vision of a violent Victorian world, shaped by sharp caste divisions and twisted by strange magic, is deeply rendered and believable.
We meet Alice in an insane asylum, suffering from post-traumatic stress after a violent encounter ten years prior which she can’t fully remember. She’s from the wealthy part of town but her family has abandoned her. Her only friend is the man in the adjacent cell, who, if anything, is even more insane than Alice and also suffering from memory loss. He knows about a monster trapped in the basement.
There’s a fire, they escape, and thus begins a quest through the darkest parts of the City’s underworld, which returns their memories and brings Alice into her own as a Magician in a world where magic has been banned.
In my continuing quest to find my way into and through the world of Readers’ Advisory…
Sometimes people will ask me how to get started on a particular author. They haven’t read anything by this author, but they know I have and they want to give ’em a try. They ask me which of the author’s books is my favorite, or which they should read first.
My initial impulse is to tell them which book is my personal favorite by the author. But I also know that what appeals to me might not be what appeals to them, and so my favorite might not be theirs. Learning which is my personal favorite might tell them something about me, but it might not be their best entrée into the author’s body of work.
In his book, Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library, Dr. Wayne Wiegand groups library services into three major categories:
These categories clarify a nagging issue I have with the language we use to talk about the importance of internet access in libraries. The following quote from a recent article by Larra Clark is a good example: