Eternity’s Wheel by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves & Mallory Reaves
This review will contain spoilers for the previous two INTERWORLD books, InterWorld and The Silver Dream. You need to read those books before starting Eternity’s Wheel or you’ll have no idea what’s going on.
After discovering in the last book, The Silver Dream, that Hex and Binary are working together to destroy the universes, Joey finds himself back on Earth and not able to get back to InterWorld because it’s being chased by Hex. Though cut off from his fellow Walkers, Joey is determined to fight for his universe’s future, so he focuses on recruiting new agents and building up an InterWorld base in the future. He is also hoping to reconnect with Acacia, the Time Agent who he has a bit of a crush on.
Cleverly, authors Michael and Mallory Reaves (I don’t think Neil Gaiman is actually involved in the writing) recap what happened in the previous books by having Joey visit his social studies teacher and tell him the story so far. This was helpful and felt natural. Strangely, while on Earth, Joey doesn’t visit his family; he just writes them a letter. (Supposedly this is because he is worried about their safety, but it’s one of several instances where the story doesn’t quite ring true.)
I mentioned in my review of The Silver Dream that the stakes are really high in this series. Joey and all his iterations must stop the bad guys from destroying all the universes and all the people that the Joeys love. How could the stakes be higher than that?
The Reaves’ prose is easily digestible. There’s lots of action and the pace is usually fast, though it bogs down in the scenes where Joey is teaching Josephine, his new recruit, how to Walk. As we’ve seen before, the characters get into seemingly untenable (and somewhat repetitive) situations, and then are dramatically rescued at the last moment. But, at the same time, the Reaves are not afraid to kill off some of their characters.
As the Walkers wage war against their evil enemies, Joey starts to emerge as a leader. This is cleverly, if not completely believably, tied in with some foreshadowing that we’ve seen in the earlier books, so I wasn’t surprised by this process or how it ended. But many kids and tweens, for whom the series was written, may experience some mind-blowing paradoxes in Eternity’s Wheel, making this a nice light introduction to science fiction.
Christopher Evan Welch narrates the audio versions of INTERWORLD. These are produced by HarperAudio and they’re quite good.