Cover Image: The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds

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Member Reviews

I found this book fascinating, the characters relatable and easy to get attached to, the science not hard to digest, and the story arc engaging!

Having said this, I am also a huge sucker for inter-dimensional reads. I love the premise of going to other worlds and finding different versions of yourself. In The Space Between Worlds the different personalities of our main character seem at their core to be made from the same stock, but how they develop is vastly different depending on their circumstances. The characters are also only able to access a SMALL amount of dimensions (a little over 300) so they can only access the ones that are more closely mirroring their own dimension (you just have to be dead in that other universe in order to be able to visit). It is a nature vs. nurture debate, in which both aspects make up the being. There is also some philosophical discussions of "is the inter-dimensional travel possible due to science or religion"? Which prevails? Why not both? It also tackles racial prejudices, social-economical issues as both of these tend to play a hand on which people get to travel--the higher the risk in your life (too poor to afford basic needs, maybe living in a place full of danger, being discriminated against) the better chance you are to be able to travel. I found the discussion fascinating, and a nice way to mirror the problems in our own dimension.

I do feel the novel was divided into two parts basically--it felt like there were two overarching plots which could have easily been divided into two books. Both parts of the story got their time to shine, but maybe dividing it into a duology might have given the reader time to adjust and some characters more page time. As it is it still works great, it just felt weird how by the middle we kind of shifted gears in a sense, like if the novel had a "Part II" that wasn't stated as such. But that was pretty much my biggest hiccup with the novel and it wasn't such a big deal.

I really liked the romance aspects, though it definitely is a small part of the story we do get some LGBTQIA+ Rep! And their interactions are so juicy and multilayered. At first I wasn't sure what to make of the relationship, but there is a reason for everything in The Space Between Worlds, so just give Dell a chance.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this story! It is lite sci-fi so it ends up being a great gateway into adult sci-fi, giving teens and those who wouldn't normally pick up "sci-fi" books a taste into the genre. I love the idea, and I look forward to reading more of Micaiah Johnson.

I was provided an e-ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an HONEST review, which I totally honestly really liked this book and recommend
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Cara is a traverser. She travels to different versions of Earth to collect data. She can travel to any other Earth as long as she is dead there already. Cara is unique because she is dead on 372. She only has 8 doppelgangers left.
Most of the worlds hold a different version of her life of hardship and suffering. But, they are mostly the same. Except for one. One of the doppelgangers dies and Cara can't help but think something isn't right. She sets out to find answers and finds more than she could've imagined.

This is a great book! There were so many plot twists that I didn't see coming. When I could find time to read, I didn't want to stop. This was such a breath of fresh air! So unique, so well written. I just really enjoyed myself.
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I wonderful sci-fi (not normally what I gravitate towards - but I'm down for any time alternate timelines/worlds are involved) that explores sexuality and classism in a way that doesn't feel forced. I can't wait for more publications by this author.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Cara lives in a world (worlds) where there are parallel dimensions and, in the right circumstances, people can travel between them.  The right circumstances-meaning that the "you" in the alternate dimension must already be dead or you're going to die a pretty awful death when you get there.  Since many of Cara's iterations are dead (in each world, she grows up in a fairly rough environment, often dying young), she's a top traverser (person who can travel between worlds). Her life in the city is fairly easy, thanks to a nice paycheck.  One day, it goes wrong.  She's sent to a world where her dop (doppelganger) is still alive.  Cara manages to survive, due to some good instincts and luck.  But because of this, she starts seeing the cracks in the system in the world she came from-and the system that keeps her traveling. 
I'm not sure what it was-the book's premise was pretty interesting.  But I just didn't care for this book. I had to trudge through the story because I did want to know what happened in the end.
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Even after finishing The Space Between Worlds I'm still in love with the concept. That's how you know that a book is unique and the social commentary in The Space Between Worlds is sharp and gripping. When you can only travel to worlds where that copy of you is dead, it means that those with the most privilege are basically still alive there. So all of a sudden there's many opportunities for employment for those from poor POC backgrounds so that they can travel to the most worlds.

What I also loved about The Space Between Worlds is that it never lets you forget this inherent difference. It motivates Cara and the events of the world, continuously reminding you of the ways the prejudice against the poor marginalized communities pervades even as they need them. And what happens to the travelers? This queer SFF is one of those stories which has a strong world concept and sticks to it. 

There's no denying I was going to love Cara, not only is she bisexual and still, despite her status, navigating her identity as a formerly poor POC, but she's resilient, clever, and snarky. Just when you thought you had a handle on The Space Between Worlds, it ends up turning into a mystery and story of secrets.
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this book was very interesting. the concept of interplanar travel was done in a way i’ve never read before. i thought the protagonist was strongly written with a clear voice and vivid personality. 
i do wish there had been more depth to the world building because what we did get was so fascinating.
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Space Between Worlds

Author: Micah Johnson

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Black bi main character, nonbinarary side characters, Japanese lesbian characters, many ethnicities in this book

Recommended For...: sci-fi, romance, LGBT, space

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Genre: Sci-Fi

Recommended Age: 17+ (romance, slight sexual content, TW abuse, gore, violence)

Publisher: Del Ray

Pages: 336

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Holy cow this book was very well done! The book had a lot of sci-fi concepts that I don’t normally read about and I thought were very imaginative and well done. The character development was excellent and the world building was amazing. The book had me hooked from the first page!

However, I did feel like the romance was a bit off and the pacing can be a bit uneven, it switches between fast and slow throughout the book.

Verdict: A well done sci-fi!
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The main character Cara's drive for a better life and ennui with the mundane after her traumatic past cause her to act with ruthlessness. This puts her in conflict with her coworkers in elite, sheltered Wiley City and psychs her out from turning her snarky banter with her coworker Dell into something more serious. Cara and Dell's relationship is intriguing, although there's not much romance because they spend so much time keeping each other at bay. I think the most compelling relationship in the book is between Cara and her otherworld selves. There is some social commentary in here about borders as imaginary divides (in terms of virtue and empathy), the role of environment and chance in a person's life trajectory, and the extractive nature of large businesses, but it felt surface level. I think one of the most intriguing aspects of the societies depicted is Ashtown's respect for sex workers and their centrality to society. The closest thing I've seen to the House providers in speculative fiction would be the Sisters of Hananja from N. K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon. At its heart, this story is a thriller where readers learn about Cara's origins, the tensions between Wiley City and Ashtown, and what is actually going on at Eldridge Corp. I was excited for every twist and turn and gasped aloud at several reveals. The ending was a bit anti-climatic. Caralee causes the main conflict by developing a conscience, and the resolution felt a bit simple. On the whole, a solid book that I look forward to discussing with others.
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a 4.5 for me - I was impressed and amazed at the concept and then at how well it was developed. The idea of multiple worlds existing on the same time plane isn't new, but to me this treatment was very creative. Cara, the amazing heroine, is an outcast but weasels her way into a job in the "city" where she becomes a world traveler. In fact, the most widely traveled traveler. And that's for a simple reason - travelers can only visit worlds where they are already dead so there's no dissonance of coexistence. And she's dead on LOTS of worlds! The way that affects her, her feelings, her future, are explored very well.

The writing is almost poetic sometimes and harsh and angry at other times. I sometimes had a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight as they appeared on multiple worlds with slightly different traits, but that wasn't distracting. 

A thoroughly readable, intriguing, and well written story. Highly recommended.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #RandomHouse #Ballantine for the advance copy of #theSpaceBetweenWorlds - which I really enjoyed!  The expanded review will appear on my blog, Bookshelf Journeys, soon.
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The Space Between Worlds was only an alright kind of read for me, I'll be honest I wasn't probably the target audience for this one, but I'm all about the multiverse. The multiverse concept this author brought forward was what I thought was the book's strongest portion. It wasn't the world that existed in the multiverse but the multiverse itself. The idea is that you have the original world as world 0 and every other subsequent world (1-300 something) is slightly different from the next, where 0 isn't very different from 1 and where 0 is wildly different from 300. One can travel and learn from the worlds as long as they do not exist in that world. The technology to travel to and from different worlds is glanced over at best and that's ok. There is a romance aspect to the book that's kind of weak and nonorganic. There were a few plot holes that should have been addressed but weren't because the plot needed them to exist.  I felt that this was a bit in the mature YA genre rather than adult Sci/Fi. Either way it was only OK for me. One of the main reasons for two stars is simple...staying power. This book took me a good 2-2.5 months to finish, I read a lot before bed and while reading this one I would fall asleep after only a few moments of reading where I would normally read for an hour or two. I would put it down and not pick it up again for another few days rather than read through in a week or two as I do for most books.
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Definitely an author I will continue to follow and read. The concept of The Space Between Worlds was a fresh take on the multiverse trope, but I wish we focused more on Caralee and her versions rather than Nik Nik's. I felt like Cara was used to tell Nik Nik and his family's story rather than Cara's. Still, there is a lot to like and enjoy here.
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The Space Between Worlds is a story about 380 known different versions of Earth.  

I love multi-verse theory. I find it completely and utterly fascinating. And, I cannot get enough of stories about traveling to multiple versions of Earth. In this story, you can only go to other Earths where you are already dead. If you are still alive in a world that you jump to, it results in severe injury upon arrival, and the return trip will kill you if you even make it to that point. The main character, Cara, is a professional traverser. She is dead in 372 of the 380 worlds, so she is the perfect candidate for this job. Traversers go to other worlds to collect data about that version and return with it for Earth Zero’s database. The are other things traversing is used for, but that isn’t revealed until later.

The characters are all intricately detailed and diverse, with a plethora of scars - physical, mental, and emotional. Life is hard in this dystopian world - even if you grew up in the city, which is civilized and environmentally enhanced for optimum conditions. Outside the city is a hot, barren land where people live a harsh life – almost a Wild West type of existence. Inside the city, people live a very controlled life. The level you live on denotes your position in society, and even visiting upper levels are forbidden unless you are there at the request of the person who lives there. Class and privilege are everything.

The Space Between Worlds is a story about privilege and discovering where you belong.

Some people have privilege by birth, but most people want it and do almost anything to get it. It is the reason that Cara became a traverser. 
She was permitted to live in the city while she worked in it, and she wants to work at least the number of years it takes to become a permanent resident. People in the city are well-taken care of. They want for nothing, which is the exact opposite of life outside the city. Cara has to ask herself whether all that glitters is gold, or can you make a fulfilled life for yourself in an area where every day is a struggle. And, where do you draw the line to what you will do to have that city life?

The Space Between Worlds is a story about self-discovery.  

What better way to learn who you are than by studying 379 other versions of yourself? Cara thinks she is on a quest to become a city resident. What she discovers, though, in her journey is that she is actually on a quest to find the various layers that make up her true self – those parts of her that are true in all worlds and those which are different and why they are different. Once she learns more about herself, she starts to learn about the intricacies of others in her life, which is eye-opening beyond her belief.

To Read or Not to Read

Layered above these deep-seated themes is a story that is suspenseful and action-filled. It is a story that will leave you at times, on the edge of your seat, and at other times with your mouth agape and sometimes both at the same time. Buckle yourself up, because reading this story is a journey that you won’t soon forget.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely devoured this book. The plot is fast paced, but the characters are complex and memorable even given that. The world building is super interesting, too. I love the way Johnson handles the problem of multiple realities having the same people in them. It's novel and very clever. I also love the way she shows that any one of a million choices can change these characters' lives -- that both where you come from and who you choose to be are important. 
Eminently readable and absolutely addictive.  If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. 

Recommended for anyone who likes the possibilities of a multiverse in their narratives, including complex relationships and social commentary.
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Wow. I have never used the term “Black girl magic” before, but I’m gonna use it for this book. There’s so much to juice out and enjoy in this meal of a book—it’s hard to know where to begin. I mean, I’ve been traveling through the multiverse and so many different possibilities of what could have been with this one character. The book explores the different lives of one character as different changes happen to her narrative through doppelgängers/other versions of herself in other worlds but only one of her selves gets to witness the other versions of herselves...with a spiritual and economic-social commentary lens. If that isn’t enough to pull you in, let me tell you what I love about this book:

1) it’s sci fi—mature audiences honey (like Wrinkle in Time goes MA)

2) it’s humanizing—I’ve never read a book where the main character is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. And I don’t know if I would have picked up the book if I knew that info beforehand. I’m glad I was led blindly :). And I love that it wasn’t her only identity because in different universes she’s different...yet still the same (is that too telling?). Nevertheless, We’re all human at the end of the day. And Micaiah makes being human normal no matter what age, role, gender, job, etc. the character is going through. Moving on—the book is humanizing on many different levels. The author speaks about class, poverty, war, power and how being human...having a moral compass...and making decisions about how you’ll live your life in the face of adversity is really what matters at the end of the day. This book is about love—especially love of yourself and history no matter where it comes from, even if you are considered to be the lowest of the low. I mean, this book made me feel empathy rather than sympathy for people in completely different shoes than my own—prostitutes, gang bosses, the list continues...

3) the author, the main character, and the whole da*n book are just bada**. Really. Just give it a go—and if you aren’t taken in, then you aren’t a traverser or world walker. I look forward to reading more from Micaiah—and I love her nod to the spiritual leaders of many traditions—world walkers they are, as is she :)!

4) the book sits in a place where science meets spirituality, there are parallels and surprises and it’s all the better for the action, adventure, and activity/animation of the supernatural and natural. 

All in all, this book is actually hard to review without talking too much and giving the stor(ies) away. It sits well with me and I feel all the better for reading it. A good read if you’re thinking #blacklivesmatter but want to tackle the problem in society in an escapist-literary way without the bog and heavy weight of the many non-fiction titles being recommended. Sometimes rereading history can be traumatizing and we need art and creative literature to explore our feelings in a different, less traumatizing way. This is VERY timely. And not preachy at all.

Here’s a motif of this story that just bounces off the pages. The world is a ghetto no matter where you are or who you are, and tyrants are tyrants no matter their location. We choose to see what we want. And what we believe is the reality that is reflected back to us, and what we end up living, even if that belief is false. One quote towards the latter chapters of the book really drove it home: 

“Maybe just existing as what I am is a statement.”

Buy, borrow, (but don’t steal) the book—just read it already! It is for the open-minded or those who want their mind opened...thank you Micaiah. This resonates with me.
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The romance didn't read organically for me, the weird caste system was problematic, and the ending was a bit of a let down. But I was caught up in my read as I read it.
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I can't get over this book.
It was so beautifully written even though it was dark and twisty.  I could never assume I knew what was going on, but I loved discovering it through Cara and her travels into the multiverses.  I loved all of the different representations we were gifted: Black characters, a bi main character, and non-binary side characters.
This book hit me in my emotions over and over again.  
AND it has one of the most satisfying endings I've ever read.
(Love so much that I can hardly express how much!)

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing the E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I sincerely enjoyed this book. When I started reading I had no idea what the book was even about. I didn't read the synopsis and I think that added to my reading experience. I recommend going in blind with this book. No way can I believe this is a debut novel, it was too good! Bravo Micaiah Johnson. 

Along with some impressive multiverse world building, 'The Space Between Worlds' had me firmly in its grasp from the Brian Greene quote on page one. The Caramenta twist was a pleasant surprise. Actual tears were shed when certain characters died. It was seriously hard to put this book down. What a fascinating take on parallel universes and endless possibilities for a series to come I hope. It also get points from me for being LGBTQ friendly. 

Thank you Random House Publishing Group for gifting me with an Advance Review Copy. The Space Between Worlds be Micaiah Johnson Releases August 2, 2020.

This review will be posted on Goodreads, Amazon (after release), three different places on Instagram (my highlight story, a post on reading and finally a post with the book cover), twitter and at least three places on facebook (my personal page, story and a few novel groups I'm a part of). I will absolutely be buying a copy of this when it releases. Fantastic debut!
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Imagine a parallel universe that is very similar to the one in which you live...strike that,...imagine 342 parallel universes.  While such a world may not be an original concept, Micaiah Johnson's tale of travelers to and from these universes is definitely an original take that opens many possibilities.  There's really only one rule, you have to have died in the parallel to travel there.  Enter Cara, a young woman who has had such a hard life, she has died in all but 8 of those versions of earth.  This gives her an ability that few others have.  Her determination to live and succeed in this Earth give her the courage to travel into worlds that were so violent, it killed the version of her that lived there.  WOW!  try explaining that's almost a tongue twister!
The story line is brilliant.  The character development was well above average and the writing pulled you into this young woman's world to fight every step of the journey from poverty to success.  A very good debut for a very promising author.
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A very interesting twist on the idea of visiting alternate versions of our world.  I was enthralled by the concept and fell in love with the overall story.
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I feel really bad saying this, because I had really high hopes for it, but this one totally fell flat for me... 

It started off very strong - I was immediately drawn in to the multiple worlds and Cara's place in them. The first reveal wasn't much of a shocker but still packed a punch, and I expected to fly through this one based on how quickly things started off. But somewhere about a quarter of the way in things just started slowing down and from there felt like they got slower and slower until they ground to a halt for me. I've seen other reviewers talk about the elegance of the writing - which I agree with completely - and also about the weird simultaneous flatness of the emotional affect - which, unfortunately, I also agree with completely. 

After the strong opening I just never felt a big connection with the characters or the worlds. They are very similar, and I get that this is part of the story, but it meant that a lot of the writing started to feel repetitive to me - and not in a way that builds tension or stress into the story, but rather in a way  that felt like it was forcing me to keep flipping pages just in the hope that something exciting and new would happen... Even the romance felt stilted and painfully dry. Plus it was hard to believe that the world - weary protagonist would behave, talk, and think as simplistically as she so often did, and it made it tough for me to relate to her. This may be where the YA- intended audience and I part ways, but still - it made the read feel like work after a while, and that's when it really lost me...

I think this was just an example of the wrong book - reader match.
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