Book: Eternity’s Wheel

"Eternity's Wheel"

Joey Harker is a leader.

With InterWorld trapped by HEX and his only other companion–the mysterious Time Agent Acacia Jones–missing in action, Joey’s the only one left. Though injured and alone, he refuses to give up. How can he, when all the worlds are depending on him?

As the threat of FrostNight looms ever closer, Joey seeks out more of his fellow Walkers across the Altiverse, training them as fast as he can and trying to track down InterWorld Base Town along the way. But even a solid team of recruits–including Acacia’s brother, Avery, who’s not a recruit so much as a tenuous ally–can’t prepare Joey for the ultimate showdown with InterWorld’s enemies, old and new.

Joey never wanted to be in charge. But he’s the one everyone is looking to now, and he’ll have to step up if he has any hope of saving InterWorld, the Multiverse, and everything in between.

Eternity’s Wheel is the heart-pounding conclusion to the InterWorld series, full of time and space travel, magic, science, and the bravery of a young boy who must now face his destiny as a young man.

If I can only say one positive thing about Eternity’s Wheel, it’s this: it’s not afraid to do what the story needs to happen, regardless of how the readers might react.

Fortunately, this being my blog, I don’t have to stick with just one positive thing.

Eternity’s Wheel serves as a great conclusion for the Interworld series. It gives a fitting ending to the main character we grew to know and love over the course of three books. And, the best part for me, is that it didn’t go the route I was expecting it to. Although it would have been an awesome twist, what with the time travel and all.

But it’s far from being a perfect book either.

Unlike the first two books in this trilogy, Eternity’s Wheel doesn’t have the benefit of a set-up. The second sequel drops us off right into the heat of the chase, and, unless you’ve just finished reading the second book, it’s very difficult to catch up to what is happening–even though the first chapters are supposed to serve as a catch-up.

Once the action starts though, all qualms are quickly silenced–because, even with Neil Gaiman no longer being one of the writers, both Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves do a good job of having this book retain the feel of the first book.

That is, until we get to the climax. There will be spoilers from here on in. You have been warned.

In hindsight, I now understand why there was a need to bring Joey Harker back in his original world at the beginning of Eternity’s Wheel. Aside from going full circle, it’s also supposed to anchor us to our main protagonist’s longing for home, and his desire to keep it safe. So when the climax happens, something big is at stake for our hero.

Unfortunately, this is the book’s biggest misstep for me. Because, for some reason, although Joey comes back to his original world–we don’t see the actual ties that bind him to this particular world. So when the climax comes, our fear stems not from the emotional attachments that will be severed once FrostNight wipes everything out–but only from our desire to not let the bad guys win.

I feel like this was a missed opportunity for the book to be more than just an adventure book for young adults.

Of course, that still doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the entire package. Eternity’s Wheel, as I said, is a great conclusion for the Interworld Series. But it could have been even better.

Book: Dwellers


Rule No. 1: You don’t kill the body you inhabit. Rule No. 2: You should never again mention your previous name. Rule No. 3: You don’t ever talk about your previous life. Ever.

Two young men with the power to take over another body inhabit the bodies and lives of brothers Jonah and Louis. The takeover leads to a car crash, injuring Jonah’s legs and forcing them to stay in the brothers’ house for the time being.

The street is quiet. The neighbors aren’t nosy. Everything is okay.

They are safe, for now.

Until they find a dead body in the basement.

Exciting. That was what I thought when I read the back synopsis. And, well, reading the book was an emotional roller-coaster for me. And not in a good way.

The first few chapters bored me. I understand the need to pace the readers for the mythology of body swapping in a Philippine setting, but I couldn’t stand the main character. He was bordering on whiny, and his woe-is-me act took the pages that should’ve been given to universe-building. And it’s not like I’m looking for an explanation for the ability to swap bodies. I’ve read Every Day. I liked Every Day. What I needed was investment. I needed to invest on the main character, and I couldn’t do it. I preferred the other guy. The quiet one. The one who did things. I probably would’ve liked this book better had it been told from the other guy’s perspective.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

From being bored at the start, I became curious as to what was up with the dead body. A positive change. This was the book’s promise. The premise. To hell with the lack of emotional pull, the mystery might be enough. Except, it’s not. The detective work was done by the other guy, not the main character. Because our main character is stuck in a wheelchair. Yes, he’s in a wheelchair. And it’s one of the main reasons why he can’t be on the move. And while I understand the need for the character to feel trapped, as a reader, I didn’t want to be trapped with him.

I was promised a mystery, and I was getting a whiny narration about being trapped in something I had no control over.

And then, suddenly, there were spells. And there was an extensive back story that, I felt, wasn’t really needed except to push the plot along, to give a sense of urgency to a meandering storyline that was clearly going to end soon.

Curiosity became annoyance. I was annoyed at the digression. I didn’t care for the past lives. It didn’t feel important. It felt tacked on. It was taking time away from what was more important. The dead body. The mystery. And, then, finally, the digression was done. We were back to the main storyline. And from being annoyed, I just became angry.

The mystery wasn’t solved. It was cut. The answers were given without further ado, just so the whole thing can be wrapped up. It felt like an episode of Scooby Doo, except, without the fun factor.

I felt gypped.

And while I think I understood the exercise in futility and the feeling of entrapment, which might be the book’s themes–I still finished that book with a feeling of disgust. The book did not deliver on its promise. The book did not live up to Project 17.

I seem to be the only one who wasn’t a fan though. The Last Girl, in her very short reaction, liked the book enough to gush about it. And Good Reads users have rated the book 3.91 stars out of 5. So this could just be me.

Book: Invisibility


Stephen is used to invisibility. He was born that way. Invisible. Cursed.

Elizabeth sometimes wishes for invisibility. When you’re invisible, no one can hurt you. So when her mother decides to move the family to New York City, Elizabeth is thrilled. It’s easy to blend in there.

Then Stephen and Elizabeth meet. To Stephen’s amazement, she can see him. And to Elizabeth’s amazement, she wants him to be able to see her–all of her. But as the two become closer, an invisible world gets in their way–a world of grudges and misfortunes, spells and curses. And once they’re thrust into this world, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how deep they’re going to go–because the answer could mean the difference between love and death.

The book had me hooked… up until Elizabeth fell in love with Stephen. The problem is, that’s almost the beginning of the book, and that’s the actual beginning of the story.

You see, Invisibility starts out as a romance. Between a girl and an invisible boy, yes, but it is a romance. Until it suddenly isn’t. Suddenly we have curse casters, and spell seekers, and it’s become much more than a love story, and that should be a good thing… but it isn’t.

It isn’t just about us anymore.” That’s a line from the book. The exact moment I lost complete interest in what was going to happen next. Because the book promised me a love story, and instead I was getting a middling fantasy book that seems to be making up the rules as it goes along.

And that’s the main problem with Invisibility. I know it’s fiction. I know that it is made up. But would it have hurt if everything was set up from the start? Would it have hurt if we had clues as to what was going to happen, so when it does happen, we’re not taking a second look at the book cover and the synopsis to make sure we’re still reading the same book?

I must say, I expected a whole lot more from Invisibility. I’m a fan of David Levithan’s other collaborations (except Every You, Every Me), so I was very disappointed in not liking this book.

I really don’t like this book.

But, hey, maybe other people did. Let’s find out:
Coffee, Books, & Me
Candace’s Book Blog
Chapter by Chapter

Book: Fablehaven


For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite…

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.

Half the time I was reading this, I wanted to wring Seth’s neck out. That kid has a serious complex about authority. And I understand why author Brandon Mull wrote him to be that way, but… Well, all the conflict we come face to face with in Fablehaven happens because Seth is an infuriating git who doesn’t care to follow rules or orders.

Half the time I’m reading about Seth, I wanted to throw him off a roof. Or feed him to whatever unimaginably dangerous creature exist in the gated woods. Or lock him up inside one of the many rooms inside their grandfather’s house. And, to be quite honest, reading about Seth’s many, many, many instances of disregarding other people’s safety detracted from my overall enjoyment of Fablehaven.

Doing something out of curiosity is one thing. When you get turned into a deformed walrus, you don’t do anything more to infuriate the magical beings who can turn you into something worse. You start following rules. If the fear isn’t enough, the trauma should be. But what does Seth do? He decides he wants to see something scarier.

And that’s my main beef with Fablehaven. We have a hero, and I’m using that term very loosely, who just doesn’t know how to follow rules. A hero whose outright disregard for rules is barely punished. Seth is not a hero I want kids to be reading about.

But, the other half of the time, I was engrossed with Kendra. Kendra is boring, but she knows how to pay attention. Kendra isn’t adventurous, but she is more courageous than her brother could ever be. Kendra is the hero you want your kids to look up to because she knows actions have repercussions.

Reading Fablehaven was a chore for the most part. Combined with a character I actively disliked, I don’t know if I would want to recommend this book to anyone.

And yet… Brandon Mull shows off his storytelling skills when we finally latch on to Kendra as the true hero of the story. With Kendra, he weaves a magical tale about bravery because of fear, because of consequences, and because of hope. Once we focus on Kendra as our main character, the story becomes more bearable, and the adventure becomes more thrilling.

Mull’s writing of Kendra will make you want to pick up the sequel. Which I will be doing. Here’s hoping that there will be less Seth in the second book. Or, at the very least, I hope there will be a more mature or more reasonable Seth.

In the meantime, let’s check out what other people have said about the book–
Thriving Family
Wondrous Reads

I must say… This is the most interesting collection of reviews I’ve come across so far.

Book: Animen 1-4


It was a terrible, horrible plane crash which left many people dead–but Lawrence and five other passengers inexplicably survived it unscathed. But soon after, things got creepy and weird. Angry mythical creatures started haunting Lawrence.

And to make things more complicated and bewildering, a pair of wings spring from his back. Had he become a possible circus attraction–or a winged superhero? What about his fellow survivors? Was the same thing happening to them? Had they become freaks like him?

I’ve only read the first four books so far, and I’m happy to have finally found a Black Ink title that I like. There is purpose in the story, in the events that transpire, and in the holding back of information. But, most importantly, there is a sense of gravity in the way writer Ron Mendoza is handling his characters. You can connect to them. You can relate to them. And you can actually feel the pain that they are going through. And this makes me happy.

No, I don’t mean the pain part. I mean I’m happy that Black Ink actually produced a title that can hold up.

That said, I do feel like Animen could use a good script doctor. Some of the dialogue are clunky, and the plotting is still a little off… But after My Midnight and Dark Side? I’m just happy that Animen exists. And hopefully, the storytelling will continue to improve in the following issues.