Cover Image: The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds

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Member Reviews

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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Sci-fi/dystopian novel with a drop of love containing many twists and turns all pulling  you into Cara’s life.  The intensity of the story continually builds.  An intriguing universe which leaves you thinking about the what if’s of life.
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What if you could travel to other dimensions? Other worlds very close to our own. There is a catch. You must be dead in the world you travel to or you will die in transit. Most of the scientists are alive on other worlds so they are forced to find people from the lower classes to traverse for them.

Cara is dead in 372 of the 380 worlds that can be reached from the Eldritch Institute where she works.. Therefore she is able to travel to more worlds than any other traverser. She works with Dell, who she is crazy about. Dell is of a much higher class than Cara and she always pulls back. 

When one of Cara's doppelgangers (known as dops) dies suddenly, she is sent to find out what happened and to get 4 downloads of information for the institute. As soon as the jump starts Cara knows she';s in trouble. She barely survives the jump and finds herself being cared for by locals. This is where she starts to realize there is something very wrong at the institute. 

When she returns to the institute, she finds out that it's far worse than she had imagined and that she is the one who will have to fix things.

I could not put this book down. I was hooked from page 1 to the end. The world building was great and I'm looking for more books by this author!
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Space Between Worlds.

I'm not a big fan of science fiction but I am intrigued by the multiverse and this premise had me hooked the moment I read the first line. 

In the future, multiverse travel is not common, but possible. Cara is unique in that, as a member of the disenfranchised, she is able to travel to a multitude of Earths in which she is no longer alive. Lucky her.

When she stumbles into a plot that threatens her current Earth, she must weigh her choices: ignore it and continue on with her life that holds a path to security and stability, or become the hero she never wanted to be.

I didn't like Cara; I didn't hate her. Perhaps it was her lack of empathy, or the tone of the writing, but the entire novel lacked warmth. Maybe because its the dystopian future and there's no room for kindness and emotion, but overall the affect was flat.

I did like the tension between Cara and Dell, but I didn't feel their rapport or believe they liked, much less, loved each other.

I loved the concept of multiverse travel; the only restriction that you can't travel to a world where your doppelganger exists. That makes sense; what would happen if you came face to face with yourself?

There was decent world building, about Cara's humble origins and how she found herself in the unique position of being a world traveler. 

There are obvious themes about class, race and the disparity of power among the poor and the rich and privileged, but the author didn't probes these topics more or enough.

I was confused at times about the power and class struggles. 

Nik Nik is kind of a Mad Max warlord and Bosch his more refined counterpart - how did this happen?

What are runners exactly? I understood they are Nik Nik's soldiers and enforcers but they clearly play a bigger part in controlling the lands outside Bosch's stronghold.

How did Bosch create the machine that allows for time travel? I would have loved to know more about that.

The story got confusing at times, not surprisingly, when the main character is bouncing from world to world and meeting slightly different counterparts of the people she knows on her current Earth. 

I enjoyed the various plot twists, the one involving Bosch was no surprise, at times, I was surprised at Cara's naivete. 

She has guessed who Bosch is and is still surprised at how ruthless he is?

Considering what she has endured and survived, I found her innocence out of character and not keeping in line with her true character.

Also, I wish there was more detailed world building and explanations as to how the power hierarchy was arranged.

The writing was good, and the premise fantastic. My favorite character ended up being Jean.

The Space Between Worlds would make a great mini-series on NetFlix or SyFy.
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The Space Between Worlds
by Micaiah Johnson

An intriguing multi-universe Science fiction premise. The book looks into the idea of using information from the multi verse to shape and change our world for the better. The reader goes through the twists and turns of the ethics of this idea. Great character  awareness and development, the idea of different worlds having different circumstance creating different characters and the espionage is so convoluted you don't know to the end of the book the resolution. I think Micaiah Johnson did a great job. 
I hope to see more of the story.
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This was a fascinating and original take on the multiverse idea--a person on one "earth" can travel through multiverses that are similar, as long as that person's equivalent is dead on that world, and can even bring back information and materials that are valuable to the first world.  I loved the character development and reveals of secrets.  
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me have this ARC!
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