Publisher's Note:  

When Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman and Emmy Award winner Michael Reaves teamed up, they created the bestselling YA novel InterWorld.
InterWorld tells the story of Joey Harker, a very average kid who discovers that his world is only one of a trillion alternate earths. Some of these earths are ruled by magic. Some are ruled by science. All are at war.
Joey teams up with alternate versions of himself from an array of these worlds. Together, the army of Joeys must battle evil magicians Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo to keep the balance of power between all the earths stable. Teens—and tweens and adults—who obsessively read the His Dark Materials and Harry Potter series will be riveted by InterWorld and its sequel, The Silver Dream.


by Neil Gaiman

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Overall Review:  

Since Interworld brings the creative genius of Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves together, I expected a special kind of magic in this fantasy novel. The book does not live up to that high expectation. It contains a solid, creative story idea, but the idea is not executed as engagingly as it could be.

The protagonist is a young man with whom the intended young adult audience will be able to identify, but his character is not explored very fully and ends up feeling a bit flat. The side-characters are assorted and interesting, but not enough time is spent on any one or few of them to really get to know them. However, since Interworld is the first book in a trilogy, it is possible that the characters will be given more life in later books after being introduced in this one, much like characters in a television series often hit their stride in the second season.

Interworld is a fast-paced novel, and there is rarely time to take a breath in all the action. That makes it a quick read and fun. It is also a very encouraging story where the heroes are heroic and the villains are unashamedly evil, and that is a refreshing quality to find in a field of YA novels where the trend seems to be for every character to be some shade of gray. This book is a solid narrative that bridges the gap between sci-fi and fantasy without sacrificing the fun elements of either genre.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation; 10 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore:  A child kicks an adult in the crotch; humorous report of past bullying; character tackles others as a joke; characters threaten each other in jest; a character washes dried blood out of his hair and says he used a tourniquet, but the violence is never detailed; character threatens others with magic; character is afraid another character will skin him; character threatens to maim and kill another; report of a fight ending in bloody noses; report of a child drowned; report of two characters being tortured and killed; report of a shipwreck; character is hit by a weapon used for subduing; character is knocked out; character's shoulder is burned by magic (not graphic); character's collarbone is broken in an accident; character accidentally skins his arms and back; characters train using martial arts and high-tech weapons; character is stabbed in a swordfight (not graphic); characters are thrown around and battered by environmental conditions; character throws another one without major injury; three brief scenes of fantasy violence without significant injury; fantasy violence scene where characters are burned to the bone and one is decapitated without detail; fantasy violence scene resulting in property damage and non-graphic deaths (characters vaporized or fall to their deaths); mention of boiling people (not graphic); a character is tortured without details; one character is a monstrous mix between human and animal; characters are confined in a magical lab that contains various scary materials, including blood, and is tended by monsters; character is mortally injured in a fight with a monster.

Sex/Nudity:  Character has a crush on another; mention of breastfeeding; mention of female characters laying eggs instead of having babies.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death of a friend, bullying, human evolution from apes (allusion to), war, questions posed about the existence of God, separation from family.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Champagne (mention); adult and minor characters drink a pick-me-up drink of unspecified content (implication is that it is similar to alcohol); a minor character refuses to drink what he believes to be alcohol; character mention wanting painkillers for a wound; adults smoke cigarettes and pipes.

Reviewed By Calinda
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