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.
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.
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!
Violence, death, emotional and physical domestic abuse.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Wow. This story was amazing and completely captivating. I absolutely loved it. I was blown away! Imaginative and creative.
The Space Between Worlds was a unique, multifaceted, and mind-bending journey from start to finish. Set in a world where multiverse travel is possible, the book follows Cara, a world-walker whose biggest asset is that she's dead on most other worlds. I loved Cara's character - she was gritty and real and complex beyond belief. While the book takes place in some otherworldly future, it didn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility, as scary as that thought may be. My only criticism is that while the book was fast-paced throughout, it was hard for me to get into it. The beginning of the book was confusing at times, and I found it difficult to orient myself in this world with some elements being explained a little late in the narrative. Overall, I loved the book, thought the writing was fantastic, and admired the author's world-building skills.
A complex and expansive narrative that explores the nature of love and friendship, race and the ever present caste systems of society utilizing the science fiction motif. The Eldrige Institute has developed the technology of travel between parallel universes of at least 380 alternative Earths. The "traverser" can only visit those parallel universes where their doppelgänger is not alive. If attempted they will be broken and destroyed ... an anomaly that will not be allowed. Cara is a perfect traverser ... she is dead on 372 of the known alternate universes. Cara however, has actually replaced Caramenta from Earth Zero without anyone noticing. She was born on Earth 22 and known as Caralee... she came upon Caramenta's broken and dying body and switched places in search of a better life. There's a saying in nearby Ashtown ... "It doesn't matter how you get it, if you have it, it's yours." She has survived and flourished on Earth Zero with the aid of studying Caramenta's extensive journals. In all world's there remains the ever present distinction between class and wealth. She finds herself a hybrid ... living in the rather wealthy walled-off city of Wiley, although her roots and family reside in the nearby wastelands of Ashtown. She seems to find herself perpetually in a "space between worlds" ... when traversing between alternative worlds or on Earth Zero.
Although the pacing of the plot is slow and byzantine-like and occasionally even ponderous, persistence is rewarded with a thought provoking narrative that is replete with complex world building and characterizations. Especially worthwhile is the developing relationship between Cara and her mentor, Dell, which proves to be the cement that glues the narrative into a gestalt totality. It explores the probability that we are at the core the same individual regardless of the many possible choices along a time line we make on a daily basis ... as evidenced on alternative worlds.
Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey / Ballantine (Random House Publishing Group) for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. It's exciting to realize that this is a Debut Novel with certainly more gems to follow. ( at readersremains.com )
What makes a great Scifi novel? Futuristic traits, thought provoking concepts, multiverses, time travelling and world that’s different from our regular world!
The Space between worlds has all these, and a better story and characters that are equally powerful. I read this soon after I finished Dark Matter, because I was hooked with the multiverse concept! And this book didnot disappoint me. The story moves slow at some points but overall its a fast paced. I really liked Cara and Dell’s relationship. Its not perfect, but its relatable. Apart from the scifi action, the story also deals with society, life choices and emotional stuffs. Its not a emotional roller coaster, but I like the inclusion of feelings with the crazy, twisty yet smarty cool plot.
Overall, there’s nothing that can go wrong with this one!! Totally worth the time.
Solid 4.5/5 ⭐️
Thank you Netgalley, Micaiah Johnson and Random House Publishing for the ARC. This review is my own and is not influenced in any way!
4.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy.
Very enjoyable overall. I would have preferred that the sci-fi premise get fleshed out and played with more, but the characters that it framed were interested and well-fleshed out. Even the romantic subplot, which is something I normally roll my eyes at or avoid, was compelling.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
What I love about science fiction is the fact that it brings up more thought provoking ideas than any other genre. In The Space Between World's case, the idea of the multiverse and travelling between it was something I couldn't wait to read about. Even more so when the MC is dealing with her multiverse selves dying, as well as meeting those 'close' to her living other lives on different earths.
I enjoyed this book, though I have to admit it took me a long time to get through. I found it occasionally hard to understand without re-reading passages and I had to slow down my reading a good bit so I could process everything. There were moments where things went too fast within just a few paragraphs, and it felt really rushed.
This said, I loved the characters a lot. Between the story slowly showing different layers of each character, revealing more and more of their personalities and motives, no matter what Earth they came from. The strong emphasis on classism between some was really well done in my opinion, and just added a lot more to the story rather than just keeping the 'voyager to another earth' trope. The interactions, specially between Cara and Dell has all my love, because while yes, there is a f/f pairing, it's not a completely all's well type. They fight, they spew annoyance at one another, and relationships that feel real deserve to be shown more.
This was a beautiful story both inside and out. I loved the world building and the characters and man this is one book where you do not want to rush it. Take each page and take your time reading it. It's just that good. Everything blends so well in this one!
If you are up for it, this debut novel will take you on a twisty roller-coaster ride about choice and societal place on levels both small and large. Starting with the premise that the main character can only visit other levels of the universe if she is not alive on them (and the fact that she has died on 374 of them already), the author weaves a complex story of how we inter-relate, but also tackles the topic of whether at the core we remain the same person regardless of the choices we make. Just when you think you have a handle on a character, another layer is revealed, right up to the dramatic conclusion. I found this a wonderful, thought-provoking read.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Caralee is a traverser, someone who travels professionally between universes similar enough to her own to resonate with them. Like other traversers, she led a hard and risky childhood–you can only travel to worlds in which your other self has died, and Caralee’s other self has been in an entire metric ton of peril.
Oh, and also: her employer thinks she is one of those other selves, a more naive girl named Caramenta. When Caramenta was transferred into Caralee’s world and died from being in the same place as her double, Caralee took her clothes, her world-traveling tech–and her life. Or at least as much of her life as she could figure out. Luckily Caramenta was an assiduous journaler. Even luckier for Caralee, she’s a quick study–because these worlds are pretty universally brutal, and missteps could cost her everything.
Cara’s got a job, a safe place to live, a mentor, even a family–which is more than she had at home. But all of those things are threatened, and she is constantly having to maneuver around the ruling classes, who find her useful as a traverser but don’t have any interest in protecting her as a person. She has a history of being romantically involved with people who treat her like garbage, but it comes around in different ways in different worlds. Navigating all the different histories (which are kept deftly woven for the reader!) provides complication after complication for Cara as her expectations of one person shift to better fitting another–but even learning that anyone can be on her side is a major obstacle for her given her past. It’s a very different take on parallel worlds than most, and one I found interesting throughout.
The Space Between Worlds struggled to keep me engaged in the beginning, but I did grow attached to Cara, and I wanted to see how it turned out for her. In this book, traveling to different multiverses is possible, but only if the "you" in whatever world you travel to is dead. Cara is a special case, and I won't tell you why. But of course because those who can traverse, or travel between worlds, must have no doppelganger in the other worlds, those jobs are typically held by the grunts. Those of low income, those raised in tough situations, with little access to resources. I loved Cara's thoughts on reasons she died in other worlds, reasons she didn't die on this one. On this world a man is a villain, but on another he is kind. Yet between the worlds certain character traits persisted in people, and she used this knowledge to inform how she interacted with various characters.
Overall excellent idea and well written. Like I said, it's a bit harder to get into in the beginning, but it's like the first episode of a show, where the stage is set. This is a very big stage. I loved the characters, the way things went twisty, and the world. This author took all the problems and conflicts from other time travel tales and found a way to use them in her tale, in a way you would not expect.
Very grateful to have an opportunity to read an ARC of this!
Honestly, I'm pretty bummed I couldn't get into this book. The multiverse is a very interesting concept that I love in Sci-fi, but I am pretty particular when it comes to how it's executed. That being said, the beginning was really engaging, but things started to taper off quickly for me. There was a lot of info-dumping that slowed things down and took me out of the story.
I don't know if it counts as a spoiler since it's something learned so early on, but the main character is from a different Earth. While that is interesting, it wasn't enough to keep me engaged, and I feel like it's also something that would have a consequence, but she'd been living the life of the other Caramenta for six years at the start of the book.
This book just didn't work for me. But I can see where avid Sci-fi readers would enjoy it