Cover Image: The Space Between Worlds

The Space Between Worlds

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Wow. This story was amazing and completely captivating. I absolutely loved it. I was blown away! Imaginative and creative.
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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.
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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 )
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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
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Color this story as uniquely dystopian. Reality depends upon what universe you inhabit. In this multiverse there are societies and individuals that have found the secret of crossing over from one universe to another. The cardinal rule is not to jump into a world in which your dup (duplicate) is still alive - violation means death. But even this rule has an exception.

Those who jump between universes are called 'traversers. The available open universes are dramatically narrowed depending on some unexplained resonant frequency. In this story there are close to 400 comparable possibilities. Unfortunately, this subset of realities have experienced horrible wars, serious damage to the environment that has allowed UV rays to devastated the earth's surface. Humanity is now clustered in protected cities and semi protected suburbs. Society has devolved into feudal fiefdoms.

Cara is a traverser. But on one particular jump one Cara has managed to escape her horrible reality by co-oping her dup and manages to fool the team of the original into accepting her as the original. Understanding this confusing state of affairs is essential to understanding that multi-universes almost means dealing with duplicate people, often with different personalities. It takes many pages in the story before the reader's mind comes to grip with the sideways path of the narrative.

Sometime bad is good, sometime murder is necessary and understandable - depending on one's loyalty to a person and to a particular reality.

The protagonist, Cara, is a bad dude, Abused and mistreated, there are few smiles, and empathy is usually a fatal flaw. But Cara's moral and ethical codes broaden and deepen over the course of the story. The evolution of Cara is what this story is about.

Attention to detail is essential in coping with the many twists and turns in the plot. But, should the reader be successful in navigating through the pages, the ending is satisfactory - in it's own way.
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The Space Between Worlds is the debut novel by author Micaiah Johnson.  I didn't know anything about the novel going in to reading it - the novel's description was interesting enough on Netgalley for me to place a request, but I'd seen no press for it and hasn't heard of the author prior to requesting it.  I'd even managed to forget that plot summary in the month between my request of the book and when I started reading (this is not that uncommon, I like going into books cold).  All of which is to say I didn't have any expectations of The Space Between Worlds going into this novel.

But if I'd had any expectations, I think they'd easily have been blown away.  The Space Between Worlds is absolutely tremendous, a piece of fascinating SciFi featuring a fascinating exploration of themes of class, race, family and love, to go along with a story featuring multiversal travel.   It's lead character is absolutely tremendous, and the rest of the cast is excellent in their own ways as the plot takes some fascinating turns from beginning to end.  And the themes it hits and explores are done so well, and so damn poignant to today's world.  This a must read, that's pretty much all I have to say about that.

-------------------------------------------------Plot Summary--------------------------------------------------
In a future version of our world, a man discovered the Multiverse....and how to send someone from our Earth into another one.  There's just one catch:  while materials and objects can be taken from another Earth without problem, people cannot travel from one Earth into another in which another version of themselves still lives.  If they try, the new Earth rejects them, painfully and horribly, and spits them back out.  And so, to travel to other Earths, and to gain all the knowledge that can be obtained from them, you need to find people who are already dead in those worlds....and the people most likely to be dead in many worlds are the people who are only barely surviving in this one....

People like Cara.  Caramenta grew up an Ashtowner, a resident of the poor Desert town/city that exists outside the walled controlled wealthy Wiley City.  Ashtown is controlled by its cruel emperor Nik Nik, and Cara knows the cruelty of the Emperor and his runners full well, to say nothing of the life as the daughter of a woman who was once a Worker (prostitute) for the House.  After all, in the 380 Earths that humans can reach, Cara is dead in all but 8 of them.  Which makes her the perfect traverser for the Eldridge Institute - able to travel and gather information for its rich masters to nearly every world out there.  And in return, Cara is able to live in comfort in a city that would otherwise never accept her presence....even if she knows no true residents will ever look at her like an equal.

But one of Cara's dopplegangers on the 8 remaining Earths dies, Cara's mission to that Earth - a totally new one to her - goes horribly wrong.  And in the process she will learn more about herself, and all the worlds than she ever realized before - a knowledge that will suggest she has merely traded one barbaric wasteland for another.....
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The Space Between Worlds packs a ton into its not too long page-length.  We have travel between multiverses!  A pair of contrasting towns - one a desert wasteland ruled by a brutal emperor and his "runners", with a Church and a House (of Prostitution) as the other major institutions; the other a rich walled off city with control over weather and people live on higher and higher levels like an archology!  A main character with a dark secret past, a love of family and a longing for a woman she might never be able to have!  This setting and its characters pack a ton into this one novel, with twists that other books might have made major climactic surprises being revealed as early as the second chapter here.  And it all works all so damn well.

The Space Between Worlds is a book about Class....and Power.....and Family.......and Love.  It's all of these things at once and it nails all of these themes tremendously in multiple ways.  The theme of class is the most prominent, with the nature of multiversal travel meaning that the rich once more need the poor people like Cara they discarded, and exploit them until they're of no more use - as seen in an early sequence in which another traverser is fired because there are no longer any worlds to which she can travel but others cannot.  And of course, the rich are exploiting the multiversal project to do things like get information on the stock market and whatnot, because of course they are.  Meanwhile, the poor who aren't lucky enough to be traversers are stuck in a desert wasteland ruled by a cruel emperor who would kill any who might be seen as insulting him, and the only other two powers are a House of Worship run in large part by a teenager and a House of Pleasure for any with money to pay.

In other books, this setup would be enough to make the point on class, but The Space Between Worlds does more, and does so tremendously effectively, as Cara's journey in the multiverse reveals quite clearly that the differences in people of different classes - in their backgrounds, in their behaviors, and well everything is basically just an illusion.  "Warlord, Emperor, CEO.....No Difference:" one character remarks eventually, and this book proves it so damn true.  And honestly, even with that quote, it's never heavy handed about the whole thing, or really too heavy handed, with the book showing us the situation as much as it tells us though Cara's internal monologue.  I could seriously write a full essay about class differences and power in this book, but uh, I won't here.  But it'd be a damn deep essay.

And really, what a monologue, because Cara is a tremendous heroine and main character.  Due to her tragic history, and of course the knowledge that she has died nearly 400 times in other worlds, she's a character who at first is desperate to survive, and to hold on to what little good things she has: the sister and family she loves back in Ashtown and the safety and security in the City, and maybe the voice of the woman who she longs for but doesn't believe could ever love her.  Cara is a badass at surviving, but at the same time, she harbors such tremendous self doubt and hatred of herself for where she comes from and what she did to get there.  But as the plot goes on, and Cara is confronted with a world with a major difference from the one she calls home, one that throws her for a loop at first but proves not to be as different as it seems on first appearance, Cara's determination moves her in a new direction- a direction towards an acceptance of who she herself is, and of what she has to do for herself to truly feel worth the things she cares about.  It's a tremendous journey of character development and she's so great in it all.  The other characters in this book are perhaps hit or miss: some of them are mere skeletons (the love interest Dell is honestly the most notable of these) while others, like Cara's stepsister Esther, who is a religious leader of such strength and conviction and caring you could write another entire book about her, are more developed - but honestly it doesn't matter because Cara carries everything so well.

Again, I could go on and on about this book in many many different ways, but if I do any further here I'm afraid I won't ever stop.  It's just such a deep book, with fantastic characters, and a plot that will just draw you in from start to finish and won't let you go, with you being too drawn in to notice some of the tricks it's pulling until it's too late.  And it ends on such a perfect note, in a way that's powerful and yet, in a rarity for this type of book with these themes, in a way that is not depressing at all.

Must Read.  And I don't say that lightly.
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Very clever World hopping scifi, using the multiverse as metaphor.  The Eldrdige corporation has figured out how to send a few Traversers to other closely similar worlds in the metaverse. Our heroine has seen her lives and deaths on several hundred earths, each with slightly different consequences.  As we learn more about her loves, families, and the dystopian Earth’s factions, we are rooting for her to help save her “real” earth from dire consequences.  The notion of moving material across the metaverse to help other Earths is well handled.  A very good read.
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Thank you netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is an intelligent, well written sci fi novel that has philosophied the concept of a multi universe. We look thorough the lenses of our heroine who despite the odds of surviving in other words she has beat those odds. While her thoughts are bleak and her life that of a traveler whose worth is based on how well she can travel from Earth to earth, her determination to rise above expectation is admirable. The author did a terrific job creating a realistic picture of what a multi universe would be like and setting the rules of traveling.
While the plot did lag in parts it's a story worth reading.
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I loved the concept for this novel--"Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive"--and was thrilled when it became about much more than the logistics of inter-universe traversing. The title, "The Space Between Worlds" is about much more than a multitude of Earths--Cara finds herself between the worlds of Ashtown and Wiley, between the worlds of "Rurals" and "Runners" and between the worlds of love and indifference. Twists abound throughout, creating complex scenarios beyond the complications of mutiverse travel.
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*** I”ve received this ARC in exchange for an honest review *** 

TLDR: a solid sci fi must read for 2020!

I’ve been really enjoying this read. This feels like a sci-fi that focuses on dimensional travel, but simplifies it in such a way where you don’t have to know physics or science to understand the technology or how it works. The author perfectly meshes spirituality with science in such a way that brings meaning to the saying that sufficiently advanced science looks like magic, and it totally does here. 

The clear class and racial differences also add another layer onto the story that ties tit well together. Without the social structure, I feel that it would not have worked well to tie the story together.

I wasn’t always a fan of the relationships portrayed, but who does?, however they seemed realistic. It’s hard to escape some things. It was just so interesting to see how the various characters played out in different worlds, and what did or did not happen in her’s. 

I’ve enjoyed my time in their worlds, and would give a hardy recommend to other readers who enjoy sci-fi but don’t want to dive into a reference book every time they read. This is pure reading enjoyment.
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Good stuff. Imaginative, good amount of action, and fun time travel. It has well written characters, good pacing, and the right amount of suspense. I may have to read it again -- fun. Recommended.

Thank you very much for the ARC for review!!
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This book is about a woman who travels to many alternate worlds. I enjoyed the difference and the similarities of alternate worlds. Not just with her but the other ones in the story. How small changes in people's choices makes a difference. It's not so science detailed that it's impossible to read but does get slightly detailed on the experience of the travel. I wasn't happy with the way it ended but that is more of a personal preference. I liked this book and would recommend it. I would read more books by this author.
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I thought was crazy cool and really well written and I loved the concept (young people traveling to alternative versions of Earth and bringing back data that can help save our own planet from disease, natural disasters, etc.) and the book explores some really interesting and relevant themes (specifically race, poverty and sexuality). There are at least 5-6 awesome twists that I did not see coming, and it's definitely one of the better sci-fi books i've read recently!
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