Have you ever been lost? Been in the place you are very familiar with but somehow there’s an unusual feeling of being really lost and something changed that you don’t know what it is? Meet Joey Harker, the kind of guy that lacks sense of direction to the point that he get lost in his own house. One day, during his Social Studies class, they (Joey and his classmates, Ted and Rowena) are dropped in a certain place by their teacher, Mr. Dimas, to familiarize themselves to the city and find their way to various checkpoints given to them. While looking for the way, an unusual familiarity with the streets dawned on him but in a second, there’s a shower of mist, more like walking through thick smoke, blinding and gray. Then he totally got lost — lost in a familiar place but everything is changed. He didn’t know that he Walked out of his world and entered another dimension. Because of his ability to Walk (yes, with a capital W) between worlds, he discovered that there are thousands and thousands of alternate realities which he is able to Walk through and get to. He became one of the prey to the hegemony of science (Binary) and magic (HEX) for his very essence (or the soul) can fuel up the Malefic that will able them to travel and conquer one world to another. And then, there’s Interworld, a world where a seemingly endless number Jo/e/y Harkers, who are also Walkers and they are trying to preserve the equilibrium between magic and science across the infinite number of realities/Altiverse. What Joey would do? He’s given a chance to be back in his own world, but would he choose to join the battle or return to the life he knows?
This book is a mixture of anything GEEK. It’s part fantasy, part sci-fi, part allusion to all things in geekdom. It reminds me of Ender’s Game, Star Trek, Twilight Zone with a touch of Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. It is fueled with exciting plot and imagery, imaginative descriptive style that able us imagine it like we’re like watching it in a big screen.
What I love the most within the book are Joey Harker’s humorous remarks on new things that he experiences.
“You know how skydivers rhapsodize about free fall being like flying? I realized then that they had to be lying. It feels like falling. The wind screams past your ears, rushes into your mouth and up your nose, and you have no doubt what-so-ever that you’re falling to your death. There’s a reason it’s called ‘Terminal Velocity’.”
and this one while he is studying in the Interworld with other Jo/e/y Harkers who tortures him by ignoring him.
“I’d been in the camp ten days, and it already seemed like a lifetime. And not a happy lifetime. Rather, it was one of those lifetimes that convinces you you must have been Genghis Khan in a previous incarnation, and you were still paying off the karmic debt.”
Aside from that, I also admire Joey Harker’s character of braveness and how he values his team mates. At first, I didn’t expect him to be the hero of the book and not to rescue his friends/team mates because they don’t like him but it’s awesome to know that Joey isn’t the selfish kind of person and I admire that.
What I don’t like about it is the use of some heavy theoretical physics and advanced mathematical concepts which really confused me a lot. And I am the type of person who will not move on to the next page until I read the page over and over again and understand it. But I failed because I suck at math. Also, the story focused on the battle between the HEX and Joey Harker’s team (Jai, Jo, Josef, J/O, Jakon and Hue), and there are characters that seemed to be important that suddenly disappeared like the BINARY. They are introduced earlier in the book but seemed forgotten as the story go on. I didn’t get the idea why the readers have to learn about it when they don’t have a direct involvement in the story. There are also questions that are left hanging in my mind: Where are the rest of Interworld? Why did they let Joey Harker’s team alone battle with the HEX?
Anyway, I still loved the book. I am a little biased that I expect it to be a good book given that I am a Gaiman fan. Actually, this type of story is not usually what Gaiman write and it is more of a Michael Reaves’. To those who are unfamiliar with Michael Reaves, he has written for Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Twilight Zone, and Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Darth Maul – Shadow Hunter. He also written short fiction, comic books and dialogue for Megadeth video.
I think this book will have appeal to boys and girls who like science fiction.
Book #1 for 2011
Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
My copy from Surprises Out of the Boxes
*I adopted Goodreads rating system starting this 2011.