by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
I tend to love most of what Gaiman writes, but this one fell a bit flat for me. The concept is fascinating, but the execution was a bit off. The adventure story follows Joseph, a normal boy who walks straight into another world.
He discovers and entire army of different versions of himself from other worlds. There’s Jerzy: from a world with feathers where women lay eggs, Josef: who is really strong, Jai: who meditates and has a huge vocabulary, Jakon: a wolf girl, Jo: a girl with wings, and J’r’ohoho: a centaur.
The army trains at a boot camp run by the “old man”. Their goal is to, “Protect the Altiverse and stem the tides of magic and science.” That’s a heavy order for the newly inducted Joseph to wrap his head around.
There are two different groups of bad guys. The Binary, who travel on gravitons, freeze the walkers to use them to fuel their ships. Then there are the HEX folk. They use magic to boil walkers and use their souls to power interplane travel. Both sets of villains were a bit cartoonish. In a lot of ways, this novel reminded me of the Percy Jackson series.
BOTTOM LINE: At times there was just too much going on at once. We bounced back and forth so quickly that it was hard to feel attached to the characters. Apparently it started out as an idea for a TV show and I was left wondering if that might have been a better fit for this particular story. I do think this might be a perfect fit for teenage boys.
"I wanted to spare her what I knew: that reality can splinter like a hammered mirror. That it can happen to anybody."
"Sometimes war is necessary to teach us the value of peace."