Title: The Space Between World
Author: Micaiah Johnson
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery and Thriller
Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.
On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.
But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.
Why This Book
The Space Between Worlds explores a multiverse where people can only travel to another world if their dopplelganger on that world is already no longer living. Cara is one of very few people who can travel to a multitude of worlds, because she’s already died on most of them. Honestly, how can I not pick Cara for my list of courageous women? Not only does she world hop frequently, but she also gets herself tied up in things that should be beyond her powers. She loses friends along the way, and gets herself tangled up in plots, mysteries, and even murder attempts. I could never be as brave as her, do everything she did, risking her life left and right to do what she thinks she needs to, so I really have to tip my head to her.
Emma Goto gave this 4 stars, saying “The first quarter felt really slow as the author established the character’s backstory and all the supporting characters and I was half-considering giving up on it. It did pick up the pace midway for an relatively satisfying conclusion”
She’s Full of Lit gave this a 3.75, saying “I just think that the author over-complicated it with too many themes: closeted lesbian relationships, familial betrayal, faith, prostitution, climate change, racism, evil corporations, education, etc. etc. I appreciate her ambition, but it was hard to follow all of the plot points and even harder to get immersed in the world that she created”
Transfer Orbit said “Cara’s story is one of survival, made all the more difficult by not only the challenges of crossing, but of the corporate malfeasance that she witnesses when the Institute unveils a new initiative”
Classy x Book Reviews said “Cara is a really complicated character. She has secrets and I would definitely consider her to be a bit morally grey. She’s had a hard life and she’s doing everything she can to make a better future for herself. She’s done some not great things, but I found that I couldn’t help but really like her anyway. Cara manages to survive the horrible repercussions of traveling to a reality where her other was still alive with the help of someone from her past”
Notes From a Paper Plane Nomad gave this a 4.8/5, saying “Cara is a very nuanced character, truly gritty and convincing as a consummate survivor. Her spine and mettle reminded me a little of Katniss (‘The Hunger Games’) and Saba (‘Blood Red Road’), but older. I loved seeing Cara grow as she grappled with conflicting parts of her identity“
Bookish Brews said “This book masquerades as a science fiction novel, but it is entirely about the people. It uses the multiverse to explore who we could be if we had made a couple different decisions in our lives. To start a monologue on whether infinite amounts of you would lead to the undoing of your humanity. To question if anything is even worth valuing”
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Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.
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One thought on “Book Highlight: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson”
I love the multiverse approach. But I’m afraid of picking random multiverse-themed books because most of them end up what I call being “too USA-centric”. On the other hand, you must write about what you know, right? Thanks for the tip…