Review Detail5.0 2
In an ideal world, all books would be heavily into both world building and character, but accomplishing even one is a feat. The world building in InterWorld is well done, and will appeal to those who enjoy So You Want to Be a Wizard and A Wrinkle in Time. Gaiman and Reaves put their own twist on the multiverse, adding the fascinating concept that some earths are magic-based and some science-based, and then running the gamut between those two. Also awesome are the scenes in the InBetween, which is sort of like Flatland but more fiction, less math.
Joey Harker, the novel's protagonist, does not start out as a particularly impressive specimen. He gets lost easily, so much so that he's gotten lost in his own house. His grades are unexceptional. In no way does he seem like a hero. One day, though, he walks through some mist and into a whole new world, one where his mother doesn't recognize him and he meets the female version of himself. Soon, he finds himself instrumental in a war between the different factions in the multiverse.
Readers who really love world building and science fiction will eat this up like I eat chips, but, for more character-focused readers InterWorld is a bit challenging. For one thing, in some ways, there is almost just one character. In a sort of twist I saw coming from the beginning, most of the characters in the book are alternate universe versions of Joey, which is cool, but a bit limiting at the same time.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Joey does grow a bit as a character, receiving better education, developing a skill (Walking between universes), and becoming braver generally. Still, there's not much of an arc to his development. Reave and Gaiman skip some time, like most of Joey's training. He goes from untrained to more trained without any transition, so it's hard to feel convinced or proud of his development. In fact, I never really had a sense of who Joey was, or of any of his alternate universe incarnations. The character I bonded with most, Hue, never said a word, mostly because he/she/it is a bubble of color. Hue had much more vibrancy and personality than I ever felt from the other characters.
The Final Verdict:
Science fiction fans a bit more hardcore than I am will want to check this out. If you like the concept but want more characterization, try E.C. Myers' Fair Coin.