Cover Image: The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds

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Member Reviews

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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Book: The Space Between Worlds
Author: Micaiah Johnson
Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with an ARC.

I’m just going to be honest. I enjoyed this at first, but the more I read, the more I didn’t. This is one of those books that started out strong, but just fell apart for me. It’s a shame really, because I really was getting into it, but something just fell apart. I honestly thought that this was going to be one of my top reads of 2020. The concept was great, the characters solid, and the world amazing. However, something about this book made it very difficult for me to like.

So, let talk about what went wrong. I honestly felt like there was a bunch of info dumping. Normally, I don’t mind info dumping. However, in this one, I felt like it really slowed the story down and actually lost the story. If you are going to use info dumping, then you need to find that right balance of info dumping and storytelling, which can be very difficult to do. You have to have something to keep the story going. One of my favourite ways to see info dumping done is by having a character verbally tell another character about whatever needs to be info dumped or find out through careful research. Yes, it is still info dumping, but it’s done in a way that actually moves the plot along. Here, I just felt like the author was just writing paragraphs upon paragraphs of back information that could have been presented in a different way.

This book also explores class structure and race. However, I felt like the author was just bringing this up for the sake of bringing it up. While I did like how race and class structure impacted the storyline, I just felt like the author didn’t really take the issue as far as I would have liked. I’ve said this again and again, if you are going to bring these issues up in your books, then you have to be willing to go there. You have to be willing to make people uncomfortable and think. I felt nothing from it. The emotional punch just wasn’t there. Also, this the class system could have used a little bit more information. I know I just talked about info dumping, but it felt like here was lacking.

So, this brings us into the writing. Micaiah does have a very beautiful and flowery writing style. I normally do enjoy this flow and I did here. There is just something so elegant about the way she writes. Everything fits and there’s not a word out of place. However, I couldn’t connect with it. It seemed to lacking that emotional punch. I need a reason to care for this book and plot. It’s writing’s job to make this happen. I thought that something was missing that prevented this was being a home run.

The concept was good and this book started out strong, but it just kind of lost me along the way. I see why people like this, but it just wasn’t for me.

Anyway, this book comes out on August 4, 2020.

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Guys. There's so much to unpack with this book. There's an analysis of class structure; the poison of ambition; the double edged sword of greed; a discussion of (in honor of Hamilton) who lives, who dies, and who tells your story; there's love that comes with teeth and love that stands still and cold; there's adventure; there's coming home; there's loneliness and belonging and revenge and pain. And this is a relatively short book.

If nothing else, read this line: I pre-ordered a copy of the physical book for my shelf as soon as I finished reading.

I went into this book essentially blind. I got into a brief discussion with some friends right when I started where we all discussed our misconceptions of what the book was about. But blind is how Cara feels every time her watcher drops her into another universe; she's dead in all but 8, but that doesn't mean nothing can go wrong. It leads to an interesting discussion of circumstance - because what kind of person dies in over 360 different parallel universes? What makes this universe special?

Cara is a hungry protagonist - which, if you've been here a while, you know is my favorite kind. She refuses to die the way her mother did, to remain in the dirt in the desert, selling her body. She latches onto power and opportunity like a leech. But she also loves fiercely; she brings gifts when visiting family, she has a crush on a coworker, she wants more than anything to earn her citizenship and be safe for the first time in her life.

The only thing that I struggled with were some of the side characters bled together a bit. In order to keep up the pace when we had to hop between several nearly identical universes (and avoid an infodump), you have to kind of accept that sometimes Cara tosses out a name without a full explanation of the person it belongs to. But a little confusion is worth it.

This is a powerhouse debut and I cannot WAIT to see what Johnson puts out next!

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This was a truly fascinating book. It dealt with time travel in a very unique way. Imagine having the power to visit other worlds, other dimensions, only because your “self” on that world has died. And imagine that self is dead on nearly 300 worlds. That’s hard to wrap your mind around.

For the most part I enjoyed this story. The distinction between Wiley City (elites/wealth) and the Rurals+Ashtown (poverty/criminals) was a great reflection of many places in our world. The interesting dynamic between Cara and her past-people like Exlee and Nik Nik—made the story much more interesting as well.

I would’ve liked to see 1) more of the relationship between Cara and Dell, 2) more conflict with Adam Bosch, who turned put to be the real villain, and 3) less time spent on Earth 175. I felt like there was a great amount of time spent on that plot. A quarter of the book, maybe? My interest waned a bit because I knew that 175 wasn’t Cara’s world, and so I didn’t get the point of her dedicating so much of her time and energy to the events and people there. But the ending of the book was satisfying (those last few paragraphs were BEAUTIFUL), and for a debut author I think this book was fantastic. The pacing might’ve been a bit off at times, but the writing was flawless.

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This was a truly remarkable book. The idea of the multiverse in sci-fi books has always fascinated me. Authors putting their own twist on it and exploring it in different ways. Micaiah Johnson, gave us the multiverse book we were missing. It is so cool! I love the fact that people can't go to other universes where there counterpart is alive, it added a whole new dimension. The class separation angle as well as the romance were really well done. A sci-fi book that makes you think!

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This was a really interesting twist on alternate worlds and the multiverse. I loved the heroine's development towards self-acceptance. This novel looks at income inequality, classism, and violence in several different worlds, all connected through the heroine who travels between them.

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This was such a unique read! I love reading books about parallel universes, and The Space Between Worlds was full of slightly different worlds and the experiences Cara has in them.
The first plot twist of the book, while it might have been predictable, was completely unexpected from my perspective, and I really liked the way it was revealed.
However, I didn’t like the world-building very much, and I don’t think that everything was explained in very much detail. Because of that, I had a hard time getting interested in the plot. I was really just interested to see what would happen with Cara and Dell.

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What a great creative concept! I just loved every little part of the world building from the ability to multiverse travel to the reason why someone like Cara was a traveler... I mean really cool that having high risk/high death lives makes you top pick for something like that. Though, I suppose with the dangers... but anyway.

In addition to very cool idea, the characters are engaging and easy to grip on to.I loved how they all have their own motivations and storylines, some not so clear, okay, most not so clear until they were stunningly clear. The relationships were complicated, perhaps even more so by Cara having seen so many different evolutions of them all. While I loved her and Dell, Nik Nik was my absolute favorite. I love the gray areas of his motives on the different earths.

The end was wonderful, leaving me satisfied yet with a lot to ponder. I look forward to more from this author.

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Micaiah Johnson's debut is sure to please YA enthusiasts and Mad Max: Fury Road fans. Unfortunately, I'm not a YA reader and often felt that the characters, while well-crafted, were too entrenched in the genre tropes for me to really enjoy. Still, I think this novel is going to make a big splash once it is released, as it's very 'of the moment."

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What a refreshing new take for Sci-Fi and time travel. I would definitely recommend this to teen readers who have longed for something original to come along.

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It has been quite a while since I was this invested in a book. I read it in record time (for me that is). As it was mentioned in previous reviews, the world building is astonishing, to the point that I felt I could almost taste the salty-acidic air of Ashtown. Cara, the main character was written in a way that I could relate to, I was able to feel what she is feeling. Any of the other characters were written with enough detail to make me like, or dislike them, just the right amount.
There were a multitude of incredible twists throughout the book that I would've never guessed and that kept me wondering what may be next. The ending of the book was rather satisfying, though also unexpected.

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I think this book may get featured in book box so I’m SUPER excited. Right away the description was intriguing. I think if you enjoy sci fi, you will enjoy this! I’m really looking forward to getting a hard copy of this book!

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Really fun, fast-paced read. "The Space Between Worlds" tackles some pretty complex societal problems, made even more interesting with the compare-and-contrast nature of the multiverse depicted. The tools of violence change, but the violence itself continues. Nevertheless, the characters struggle and fight against the concept of fate, predestination, etc. I found the characters and the societies depicted compelling and interesting, making for a really engaging read.

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Cara shouldn't be alive. Growing up in a shantytown run by a ruthless warlord, there were hundreds of times she could have died. And she did, in most universes. This bad luck turns into good when the brilliant Adam Bosch discovers how to cross between worlds, but only for people without a living counterpart there already. Cara is willing to overlook her employer's questionable morals because the money is good and she really likes flirting with her prim handler Dell. Then a visit to a new universe nearly kills her and forces her to reexamine everything she thought she knew. The world is brutal but the relationships are deftly drawn.

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Rating: 5/5 alternate worlds

Format: ebook. I’d like to thank NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

What it's like:
It has some similarities with other multi-verse stories, but also a lot of unique aspects too that I really enjoyed. I got some Mad-Max vibes which were brutal but very cool.

To sum up:
This story is the intense and emotional journey of one “transverser” named Cara. Transversers can travel between multiverses, or, alternate versions of our current reality. In their world, 342 different versions of Earth have been found, some very similar and others wildly different from their own. The company Cara works for sends her to these alternate worlds to gather data that can aid their world in all sorts of things, from the stock market to the natural disasters. The catch is if the Transverser goes to a world where another version of themselves exists/is still alive, it is fatal. Cara has died on all but 8 of the 342 known versions of Earth so she is valuable to her company. Part introspective prose, and part sci-fi thriller adventure, this book is a wild ride where Cara must not only survive, but figure out where she truly belongs.

What I loved:
Much of the book is a reflection on how a combination of our choices and chance can drastically alter the trajectories of our lives. Set in a world where the haves and have nots are separated by a strong wall in the sand, Cara is both an outsider, and an aspiring member of the elite inside the walls, working for the most powerful company in their world. She is a combination of the survival instincts she’s strengthened over the years of her young adult life and fierce ambition. She is determined to have more than what she was given in life, and it’s impossible to not root for her. I loved being inside Cara’s head and discovering the mysteries underlying why she is the way she is. The plot unfolds at a wonderful pace, giving us little hints and clues along the way with a lot of surprises and intense moments. How Cara deals with and faces the trauma of her past is inspiring and so moving.
In addition to Cara’s emotional and physical journey, I also really enjoyed how the world was described in this story. Unlike a lot of adult sci-fi that I read (and like), this story doesn’t dwell on the technical details of the technology, or overexplain every aspect of their world and why it is the way it is. The world-building elements are expertly sprinkled in, just enough to give context when you need it but not bog down the complex emotional and psychological aspects going on in the story. This approach wouldn’t work for some sci-fi, but for Cara’s journey, it absolutely does. It keeps you focused on her instead of the world, which is the way it should be in my opinion.
Lastly, I loved the relationships in this novel. There is an F/F slow burn romance that I was cheering for so hard haha But there is also a mentor/mentee relationship that is really beautiful and a complex sister relationship I loved. Each relationship is just as layered and complex as the multiverses Cara visits, all shaped by past experiences, regrets, and hopes for the future. They are each imperfect and perceptions and communications often clouded by biases, privilege, insecurities, and past trauma. Johnson weaves together these elements beautifully and these characters and the world feel vividly real and raw as a result.

Overall, this is not a book for the faint of heart (or for kids). It’s an adult journey, complex and sometimes ugly but also an empowering one that I hope you’ll take with Cara!

Trigger warnings:
Violence, death, emotional and physical domestic abuse.

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The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is a sci-fi story happening sometime in the future. Well written, this book makes you wonder about what could be out in the universe. At times I found the story a little confusing. I want to thank Net Galley and Ballantine Group for an early copy to review.

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