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: The Silver Dream

"The Silver Dream"

As Walkers, Joey Harker and his fellow InterWorld soldiers can pass between multiple dimensions–a skill they use as part of their mission to maintain peace as rival powers of magic and science threaten to control all worlds.

When a stranger named Acacia Jones does the impossible and follows Joey back to Base Town, things get complicated. No one knows who she is or where she’s from–or how she knows so much about InterWorld.

Dangerous times lie ahead for Joey and the mission. There’s a traitor hidden among them, and if Joey has any hope of saving InterWorld, the Altiverse, and the mission, he’s going to have to rely on his wits–and, just possibly, on the mysterious Acacia Jones.

This book might say it’s about one thing, but it’s about something else.

Acacia Jones is a red herring, although she does play into the events that unfold in The Silver Dream, she is not as instrumental to the grand design as the book blurb will make you believe.

That warning aside, let us now dive into the sequel for InterWorld:

It’s not as good as the first one. Definitely. By leaps and bounds. And once you’ve come to accept that, you’ll learn to like it for what it is–which is, a good adventure book. That’s how it was for me.

It probably has to do with the diminished participation Neil Gaiman has on this book, but the worlds we visit aren’t as rich as they were in the first novel. Then again, we don’t really dwell too long in any world for any of them to make much impact. The sequel deals more with the interpersonal relationships of the many incarnations of Joseph Harker.

Story-wise, it’s actually very hard to judge the quality of The Silver Dream. Not because it’s not good. It’s just not complete. By the time you finish the novel, it becomes clear that the whole thing is a set-up for something bigger. And you can’t say a book is good, or not good, if the story isn’t finished.

Unless, of course, this was supposed to be a complete story–and then, I must say, it’s really bad. Because it cuts off just as things are about to get interesting. It builds up and builds up, and just cuts off–

Now, if this were a character-driven story, I’d say it’s okay. But our protagonist, while embarking on a journey of self-discovery, is still on the cusp of actually doing something about said self-discovery. His journey has just reached its climax. Or is about to reach it.

So, no. It’s not good in that aspect as well.

Nor is it any good at building up the characters that already exist–or the ones it introduces in this book.

Come to think of it, The Silver Dream isn’t very good at pacing itself either. Things happen. And then something else happens. And midway, yet another thing happens. By the time we reach the latter half of the novel, we see the random things get connected together. But it’s only in the last few pages that we actually see how everything relates together, and by then, it’s being blown up to be bigger than what we thought it to be.

And then the novel ends.

The Silver Dream is a very frustrating book to read, if we’re going to be brutally honest about it. I remember enjoying the adventure aspect of it when I put it down. Going back to it now, I’m questioning what exactly I liked in the book.

I can’t think of a single reason.

I think I have to read the next book, the obvious continuation, to see if this whole thing was worth it.

This begs the question, though, why the publishers (and the writers) thought it would be okay to publish just this part of an obviously bigger story. Why not just release the whole thing as one? Why put in a cliffhanger? This is not television.