The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

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The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A much firmer sequel to the Gaiman original, which still has problems but more, and more successful, drama.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 256 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 9780007523436

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We've had it established that there are many multiple dimensions, and it takes a particular power to move from one to the other – the power to Walk. Joey Harker, who it seems could get lost between his garden gate and the front door, is one of the more powerful and talented Walkers, and has been employed by an agency that has to keep the balance in the multiverses, forever fighting between the powers of science and those of magic. But two years on from the original book we find that the agency is still a very uneasy place to be – picking up further Walkers, but opening itself up to strange events, unusual characters and unaccountable problems.

Since that first book, published in the UK all of six years after America, the creators have started to have it their way, even if Joey hasn't – talk is again around of it becoming a TV franchise. The good thing about this book is the way it coalesces eventually into a greatly dramatic, end-of-season-one blow-out episode. The problem there is obvious – the word 'eventually'.

Here we have new and old problems to contend with. The first-person narration of Joey shows no signs of being two years older, and we still have his being an anachronism – at times a great, chatty, cliffhanger-giving storyteller, at other times someone too far out of the age range of his readership. We have an awful lot of back-story to get through, and it's done reasonably well, but does take up a lot of space in a fairly short read. Another flaw is mentioned in the very text – for all the Walkers are some form of Joey Harker from some form of Earth – and, to quote, living with five hundred or so other people whose names all started with J made it a little hard to get to know everyone. This contrivance, while bursting with join-the-dots potential, does not get used correctly.

Still, there is some use of that potential with new characters, in particular Acacia Jones. If this is to be a returning, continuing narrative, the mystery of her past (or future, or something) could bubble along brilliantly. And some things here do show that strong simmer – there are, as I mentioned, some good cliff-hangers. Whereas before the authors threw everything they knew about transitioning from one dimension set to another, and only ended up feeling cheap, this time the creators have a greater handle on their contents, and things are here not because they sound great and the authors think they can get away with it, but because they sound great and the story deserves it. It's actually quite a strong difference.

It doesn't mean this book is particularly strong, but it is an improvement. It enlarges on the original, and in quite a game-changing way – as I suggested, this is no second episode of any future TV version. Familiarity helps, but so do the superior narrative and cohesion. It still provides the reader with a bit of a struggle at times, but the effort is more properly rewarded than before.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

MetaWars: The Fight for the Future by Jeff Norton started what has become a tidy, energetic series, with a third part out imminently.

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Buy The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves at


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