Cover Image: The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds

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The Space Between Worlds is a type of SF that focuses more on social issues, mainly  the divide between the privileged and the impoverished– the multiverse worlds building is an excuse for our protagonist to travel between the haves and have nots.  Cara was born in Ashtown, which is basically a shanty town. She had a tough life and died young. But having died she gained the ability for interdimensional travel. Now between missions she lives in the affluent city with her handler, Dell, for whom she harbors feelings. There are many good things about this thought provoking book, but there were some issues with the pacing and the flow that bothered me along the way. Hence the 4 stars. 
Thank you Netgalley and Crown for giving me this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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The Space Between Worlds puts a new spin on a familiar SF idea – travel to parallel worlds – by combining it with a stratified class structure. The Eldridge Institute, using a machine invented by its founder Adam Bosch, sends people to parallel worlds, but travelers can normally only go to a world where their counterpart is already dead. This rules out most of those living in Wiley City, with its vaccines, low childhood morality, and easy living. So the travelers who can visit the most parallel worlds are those who grew up on the wrong side of the wall, whose families never had enough food, who lacked access to medical care, and faced the constant threat of violence – in other words the poor. These traversers copy data from the other worlds and bring it back to help the rich get even richer. They also bring resources from other worlds.

Cara, the narrator and main character, has had so many brushes with death that she can visit 372 of the 380 parallel Earths. She grew up poor, in a one room shack in an Ash-town in the wastelands outside the walls of Wiley City and in many worlds died because she was in the way. So she jumped at the chance to live in rich Wiley City and have a chance at citizenship even knowing she would be despised for her origins. She has a love-hate relationship with her handler, Dell, with whom she flirts constantly but thinks she cannot have a real relationship since Dell is from a rich Wiley City family. Her mentor tries to get her to study to become an analyst since the company is working on remote data methods that would make tranversers obsolete.

Early in the book, Cara reveals to the reader that she is not the original Cara from this world, but was born on another Earth, where she was Emperor of the Wastelands Nik Nik’s concubine until she met the dying original Cara on her first inter-dimensional trip. Eager to escape Nik Nik, she secretly took her alternate self’s place and believes no one knows the truth, although her sister suspects since the new Cara is much nicer to her. 

Gradually, she learns that her company’s new product is not a way of accessing other worlds’ data remotely, but a way to open up the worlds to tourism by the rich, without being limited to worlds where their other selves are dead. But Cara discovers that the limitation still exists and the Eldridge Institute plans on murdering the tourists’ counterparts on other Earths so the Earth zero version could travel there. This leaves Cara with a moral dilemma especially when she learns the truth about Adam Bosch.

The real strength of the book is not the inter-dimensional traveling, but the sharp division between the haves and have nots. The author has invented a plausible reason for Cara, from the lowest of the low, to interact with both the rich elite of Wiley City and the criminal emperors of the Wasteland. Cara is a fascinating character with the strengths of a survivor who refuses to be a victim so the reader understands why she is willing to lie and deny who she is in order to stay in Wiley City and then cheers for her when she makes the decision to risk everything to do the right thing.

I recommend the book for any reader who likes a little social commentary mixed with an interesting story.
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I absolutely loved this book!

I'm a sucker for sci-fi stories where there are parallel worlds or a multi-verse, so that was super fun!
There's practically no homophobia/queerphobia in this world (multi-verse?) so that was awesome!
I love our main character, Cara, and her "watcher", Dell. (I would totally read a book told from Dell's perspective!)

The book opens with this quote from a different book:
“In the far reaches of an infinite cosmos, there’s a galaxy that looks just like the Milky Way, a solar system that’s the spitting image of ours,w/a planet that’s a dead ringer for earth, a house that’s indistinguishable from yours, inhabited by someone who looks just like you, who is right now reading this book and imagining you, in a distant galaxy, just reaching the end of this sentence-Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality"

Other Quotes that pack a punch:

"The universe erases me, but it also remakes me again and again, so there must be something worthwhile in this image."

“The multiverse isn't just parallel universes accessible through science. They are in each of us, a kaleidoscope made of varying perceptions.”

Goodreads' synopsis:
"An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens her new home and her fragile place in it, in a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

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 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 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."
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Kara straddles many worlds. She grew up in a religious sect in a Mad Max-like community of have-nots, but now lives in the domed city of the haves. Her job is jump between universes and gather data. Navigating all of these worlds can be brutal, both physically and psychologically. They always leave bruises.
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If you’re looking to read more sci-fi books then pick this one up. It’s well written, a bit slow which I need for this genre because it’s not one I read often . I loved the main character and also the jumping to different universe was exciting for me.
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Interesting premise, but the world-building wasn't clear enough for me to feel truly invested. I wanted more from the story.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for my honest review!

Let me just preface this by saying I went into this knowing very little because I KNEW I would love it. So when I read in the first chapter that it was a book about the multiverse and people were able to traverse them I was hooked. For the first few chapters, I was indeed bored, but as soon as we got to a huge revelation about Caramenta's life and being I couldn't stop reading from there. So if you're reading this and the first few chapters seem dull, give it a few more and see how invested the plot twists make you.

We meet a character absolutely selfish and fighting for their well-being, and it honestly is off-putting. I wanted to know more about how this person ended up valuing their benefit so strongly over others, and learn I did. Because many of Cara's character traits that seem offputting at first glance made so much sense once put in perspective with her character arc. The author did such a good job making a believable character reaction to her awful situation, I don't know if anything different would have felt right. Of course, Cara would value self-preservation at the point we meet her, and we get to go on her character arc in this book. 

What really threw me off though was how free form the plot was, which after having read it all I believe is what best fits how to tell this story. But for a long, while we had no real end goal, we had just met these characters and we're going along on a ride with them. Slowly at after the mid-way point, things get set in motion and then is when we get our end goal. Once I learned to let go of reaching for an overarching plot and just enjoyed this ride with these characters I really started enjoying this book. Without getting into spoilers, there were many molar dilemmas and genuinely awful situations presented to our characters and we got to see all their reactions and what consequences their actions had.

If you enjoy sci-fi books with a darker theme and don't mind some gore, I would definitely recommend this book!
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This world(s) building was SO COOL. What a neat premise. And good good romance too! I would read a whole lot more in this world.
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I'm a bit of a fan of physics and multiverse theory so obviously this book was an amazing journey
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Basically the physical theory of the multiverses says that if there was a great explosion that created this universe there could be several and that the physical reactions could be varied creating different universes between them.
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The book explores the idea that these multiverses are in the same fabric of space-time and that they find the way through frequencies and vibrations to travel between them , obeying as the main rule that you can only enter that other world if your dopelganger is dead.
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The protagonist of the story is an expert traveler between worlds since out of 380 worlds she is only alive in less than ten. Cara does not expect that in this world that opens the doors for her for the first time her dopelganger is alive.
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This new world poses a completely different reality from the others and reveals secrets that change the reality of her own world.
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This book is a masterpiece, beautifully written with phrases that the reader can take with them forever. With a plow twist at each turn of the page, it seems incredible to me that it has so few pages and that no one has decided to take this story into a movie.
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Trigger warning, it deals with issues of domestic abuse, drug use, racial and social class discrimination, but it has characters with lgtbq + representation and the relationship of some characters is so pure and close that it softens the edges so the story can be highly  enjoyed
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It is a book with a dystopian world, lgtbq+ characters, large corporations, a bloody emperor and journey between worlds so beautiful written
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Thanks to Micaia Johnson and Random House Publishing Group for give me a copy of this amazing book in exchange for my honest opinion
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The Space Between Worlds wasn't at all what I'd expected...and I loved every second of reading it! I always looked forward to when I could pick this book back up and continue reading! Cara and Dell will stick with me, as great characters tend to do! It's definitely on my list to add to my personal collection, and I plan on asking the person in charge of ordering for this particular collection if we may add it to our library's shelves as well!
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Wow! Wow! Wow! I don't need to think twice about this rating. This is by far my favorite book of the year. It is truly the whole package. World building, characters, theme, immersive, plain enjoyable.

The main character is very interesting and we follow her point of view throughout. She has personality, attitude, complexity. She is philosophical and enjoys lists, but she is also a badass. The other characters are really complex and interesting too. I really care about them.

The world is interesting and well fleshed out.

The theme. I feel like theme isn't even a thing in 99% of the books I read...or at least, not in any extraordinary way. This book has a theme. The title comes back over and over in a literal way and a cultural way and a relational way.

The author manages to explore her theme and a lot of philosophical ideas while keeping the story immersive, actiony, and interesting. Rave.

Sexual violence? There is a ton of violence, but I don't remember any of it being specifically sexual. I'm worried I'm forgetting though. Other triggers? Yes. Tons of violence, drug abuse, domestic violence/abuse, poverty, suicide, religion.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3656101410
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Solid sci-fi, I enjoyed my time with the book but nothing made it super memorable. The characters from each world didn't stand out enough against each other so they were easy to mix up. I liked the twist at the start of the book about the main characters real identity. I didn't see it coming and thought it was really well done. I wanted more of that. Had there been more twists through out the book I think it would have added a lot to the book. 

There were a lot of different plot lines going on that were all extremely interesting but not super flushed out. I wanted to see more from each of them. This could have benefited from eliminating a couple of the plot lines or being a duology for more time to build out the plots.

What the book did a great job at was showing the differences in the treatment of classes, races, and poor vs the rich. How the slightest different in circumstances can change the entire future of a persons life. The metaphor of the worlds and two different cities was extremely well done,
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A unique take on the multiverse!  The author did exceptionally well at world-building and this stand alone book may have been better set as a trilogy where she could have had some time to pace things more satisfactorily.  However, it was still a great read and a fun adventure.
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The Space Between Worlds follows Cara, who out of the 380 worlds that Earth Zero can resonate with, she is alive on only 8. Cara works for a company that specializes in gathering intel about these universes. However, when one of her counterparts is murdered under mysterious circumstances, secrets about herself and the multiverse are revealed that may change the course of her destiny. This is a story about a black bisexual woman, fighting for survival, and falling in love with her female co-worker. I don't think you'll want to miss out on this one.

In this world, queer is normal. People love who they love, and are who they are. There is some mention of people who can't deal with that, but they are a minority. There are many varieties of relationships and at least one non-binary character, but none of it is highlighted or picked at, it just exists as part of life. I found it very refreshing to see a world where everything is accepted, everything is normal, and the story goes on.
Honestly, my first thought after finishing the book was "I need more Cara and Dell content STAT" but I was also super satisfied with how this book ended should it remain a standalone. However, I felt that this book handled it's multiverse very well and it was explained in a clear and concise way that made it easy to follow along with. I loved Micaiah Johnson's writing. There's just something about it that's so poetic and yet grounded in the harsh reality that her story takes place in that makes me scream with amazement.
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Cara is one of a dwindling number of traversers. She can travel through the multiverse, but only to worlds where another version of herself no longer exists. Her other selves seem uncannily apt to die, so Cara is able to visit 372 other Earths where her counterparts are no longer living.

She comes from poverty and an unfavored area, and she lives in uncertain status, without citizenship or security aside from her employment for the mysterious, greedy Eldridge Institute. She collects off-world data, the purpose of which has never been of interest to her--she's more focused on tracking the shadows of her other existences, piecing together the lives of her counterparts, and keeping a journal of all that was and might have been.

But when one of Cara's eight remaining selves mysteriously dies while she is world walking, shocking secrets are revealed that connect various worlds and shake Cara to her core. She must cobble together the various bits of knowledge and savviness she's gained through tracing the steps of her many other selves if she's going to stand any chance of outsmarting the canny and intelligent Adam Bosch--a man who will otherwise almost certainly be the source of her undoing.

I could become the thing I'd always feared, and then I might never be afraid of anything again.
This was a fascinating story that offered satisfying character depth and various permutations of Cara herself, her family members, loves, nightmarish enemies, and best friends. Johnson's explorations of the complicated intersections of class, wealth and poverty, control of valuable resources, and disparate levels of freedom throughout the multiverse are haunting. Cara lives through tantalizing explorations of her alternate lives--and the shape of each is dramatically affected by her own various small and large decisions, others' choices, and chance.

I was intrigued by the layers Johnson built into the story. In some worlds, Cara recognizes common characteristics in those she loves or fears; she sometimes barely recognizes the same people in other worlds; and she always mentally logs the various factors that allowed beauty or cruelty or desperation or joy to take root. There's a postapocalyptic feel to the story, with turf wars, corruption, mercenary "runners" who shake down travelers, and gritty survivors.

Cara isn't superhuman; she's imperfect, sometimes selfish, tough, and occasionally she's wonderfully vulnerable. I loved her as an unlikely heroine, and I loved that it wasn't too easy for her to attempt to address complex issues within the multiverse. 

The middle of the story dragged a little bit for me, but generally I was hooked and ready for whatever Johnson was serving up. Side note: I'd like for this story to also become a movie, thank you very much.

I received an advance digital copy of this book courtesy of Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley.
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I’m not a huge fan of the multi-verses, but I thought this book offered a decent premise.  Cara can travel to any of the 380 multiverses as long as she is not living in those worlds.  She can travel to 372 worlds.  Her doppelgänger is only alive in 8 worlds.  Her situation on the majority of the worlds is such that she lives in poverty and usually doesn’t survive childhood.  

This makes her an excellent candidate on Zero world, the only world where multiverse travel was invented.  

This story was ok.  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t hate it.  I just didn’t bond with Cara.  If you like multiverse stories, you may enjoy this dystopian sci-fi more than I did.

*Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ebook.*
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Cara travels the Multiverse. There are 380 Earths that have been identified....and multiverse travelers can go to any of them. There is just one rule -- a person can only travel to versions of Earth where that version of themselves has already died. Cara can travel pretty widely....as she has died on 372 of the Multiverse versions of Earth. But the death of one of those 8 surviving versions of Cara will lead her to discover a secret....something that was never supposed to be revealed. 

I enjoyed this story! The concept of a Multiverse is interesting to me in itself....and the plot kept me engaged in this story from start to finish. The author does a good job of world-building and character development. The plot moved along at a good speed. I was definitely never bored! After I finished reading, I ended up down a rabbit hole of Multiverse videos on Youtube. It definitely opens up a whole category of What-Ifs! 

I read a review copy and also listened to the audio book from my local library when the book released. Narrated by Nicole Lewis, the audio is just shy of 12 hours long. Lewis reads at a steady pace and has a pleasant voice. She does a good job of voice acting. Very entertaining listening experience!

This is the first book by Micaiah Johnson that I've read. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by her! 

**I voluntarily read a review copy (and listened to the audio book) of this book from Random House/Ballentine. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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I picked this up and was immediately hooked -- I read it practically in one sitting!  It is unpredictable and unsettling in the best ways
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I'm not really a sci-fi fan, so I don't think it is fair for me to review this book and give it any merit.  I requested it because I keep hoping that I will start to love sci-fi, but it just hasn't happened yet.  My friends read it and loved it, so I am basing my star-rating on their response to the book.
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The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is a science fiction fantasy that does have a touch of romance. This is another science fiction fantasy that deals with the idea of the multiverse and I’m beginning to wonder if these just aren’t for me after not having much luck with them.

In the world of this book people are able to travel between the multiverses in their 380 different worlds. However, no one can travel to a world where their own self is still living or that means death. Cara is now able to travel to 372 of the worlds available with only eight of her left. When one of her eight remaining dopplegangers dies Cara finds herself in danger.

I think for me my biggest problem with The Space Between Worlds was that I would find myself just waiting for more science fiction or techy type of stuff to actually happen in the story as it felt more about the politics of the world.  This one is also supposed to be an adult read but I had to keep reminding myself of that because the character felt more like a teenager in young adult. So really when done I think this just deserved way more world/character building to give a reader the right mindset for the story.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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