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I love Neil Gaiman. His writing is always enjoyable and thought provoking. His Sandman series is probably one of the best comic series of all time. When I found out he had co-written a book with Michael Reeves about a dimension-hopping teen, I leaped on it. However, to be honest, I found Interworld a little lacking. Hereís why.
Interworld tells the story of Joey Harker, your typical teenage boy living in small town USA. He leads a relatively unremarkable life until he discovers he has the ability to cross into other dimensions and parallel Earths. Joey is then caught up in a conflict between the two warring factions of the altiverse, HEX Prime and the Binary. In short, HEX Prime represents magic and the Binary represents technology and science. Both groups want their respective specialty to be the dominate force in the altiverse. Joey is rescued by the titular organization of InterWorld whose job is to prevent either faction from gaining too much power, thus preserving the balance of the altiverse. It then becomes a traditional coming of age story.
Overall, I loved the general concept. It handles dimension crossing very well, and actually had a very solid concept of how the parallel worlds work on a theoretical level. In addition, some of the ìscienceî behind the theory seemed very well thought out. The world was rich and very well constructed. Everything seemed to work well together and was executed well. I want to see more stories in this setting.
That said my main issue was with the characters. The story is written from a first person perspective which can be hit or miss depending on the writer and to be honest, whoever was responsible for it needs to work on it. Joey comes across almost flat in terms of his character. We are told most of his internal conflicts rather than shown. His development is described to us by himself. Personally, I prefer to see a character develop rather than be told that they did. Joey seems almost interchangeable with any other teenage character thrown into a fantastic new setting. He has the same problems, same challenges and more or less the same development. The secondary characters may as well be background. Weíre given very quick insights into their personalities and they seem to be more archetypal than true characters. Thatís the problem with them! Theyíre not so much characters as clichÈs. You have the brainy guy, the strong guy, the cocky guy, etc.
Another issue I had was the overall tone and style. The novel seems very juvenile to me. Juvenile isnít necessarily a bad thing, but the book isnít described as a young-adult novel, but read like one. I actually thought I had picked up a young adult novel by mistake. I would have liked to see the story done in a more mature tone.
Do I recommend the book? Yeah. It ís a good, entertaining read that actually leaves you hungry for more. For all its flaws, Interworld is a pretty well constructed novel. It has a unique concept if not unique characters. I recommend it if you want a fast, easy read that doesnít make you think too much.