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From the InterWorld series

by Neil Gaiman ; Michael Reaves ; Mallory Reaves

Age Range: 10 - 15

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-206796-8
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Don’t be fooled by Gaiman’s name on the cover: This is a slightly pedestrian if not unsatisfying bit of science-fictional fluff.

InterWorld started as a television concept by Gaiman and Reaves, and the first volume (InterWorld, 2007) harked back to the golden age of science fiction, when the science was mostly made-up jargon (and not entirely logical), and the characters showed a tendency toward tropes. This second volume continues where the first left off, compounding the liabilities of the first by mixing a middle-grade tone uneasily with some older content: The teens who make up most of the InterWorld organization are, in the end, child soldiers, and they are woefully underprepared for death, which comes calling. Joey Harker (he’d rather be called Joe now that he’s 16) finds himself once again at the center of things when the mysterious Acacia Jones shows up during a mission gone wrong. She’s not an alternative version of Joey (of which there are many), and she knows an awful lot. Meanwhile, the newest Walker (navigator of the multiverse) is everyone’s darling, and Joey must grapple with jealousy and the first stirrings of romantic interest, even as everything, literally, falls apart.

High-concept science, rapid-fire but sometimes sloppy writing, stiff dialogue, shallow characters, and plenty of action: old-fashioned science fiction indeed, dressed up to appeal to a modern audience. (Science fiction. 10-15)