Book Review: The Space Between Worlds


Micaiah Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 4th August 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Reasons Cara has died:

– The emperor of the wasteland wanted to make an example of her mother and started with her
– One of her mother’s boyfriends wanted to cover up what he did to her
– She was born addicted and her lungs didn’t develop
– She was left alone, and a stranger came along
– The runners came for a neighbour and she was in the way
– The runners came for her mother and she was in the way
– The runners came for her boyfriend and she was in the way
– The runners came for no one, serving nothing but chaos and fear, and she was what they found
– Her mother left her alone in a shed while she worked or got high and she fell asleep alone and hungry and forever

Reasons Cara has lived:

– She doesn’t know but there are 8.

The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.

Enter Cara. Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight.

But on this earth, she survived. Born in the wastelands where if a basic lack of resources didn’t kill you, violence would, Cara is happy to reap the benefits of a job and a safe place in the city to call home.

But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

“Luck, I guess,” I say, because the first thing a monster learns is when to lie.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: past abuse, violence, gore

Sometimes books will leave you with a lot to think about, and I mean a lot. The Space Between Worlds is that for me (it has been at least two weeks – at time of writing – of just thinking). I have many many thoughts about parallel universes and how they help the main character deal with her trauma and all that, but no words for them (not for nothing did I quit English Lit at the age of 16). So, bear with me if everything goes a bit rambling.

The Space Between Worlds is set in a semi-dystopia, semi-science fiction world, where there is a class divide between Wiley City, where all the rich people live, and Ashtown, a Mad Max Fury Road-esque place, run by its own quasi-emperor, Nik Nik. In Wiley City, Adam Bosch is king, running a business that sends people into the multiverse. The only catch? You cannot travel to a world in which your parallel self is alive.

All this brings me to my first point. I absolutely loved the worldbuilding. Firstly, the whole doppelgangers and parallel universes take in this was so cool as a setup. The way traversers are more valuable the more of them that have died, the idea that there can’t be two of you in one universe. It’s just so cool, I don’t know how else to describe it.

And then you get Cara, who’s dead in every known universe except eight. I loved Cara a whole lot (though I can’t really say much about her because that’s spoilers – you’ll see if you read it!). When one of Cara’s doppelgangers dies in mysterious circumstances, that’s when things start to get fascinating. I mean, the whole thing had me utterly gripped from the first page, but a good chunk of it to start with involves setting up the world. But when events start to happen, boy do they get going.

But perhaps my favourite thing about this book is its social commentary. What is science fiction (or fantasy for that matter) without some social commentary, really? Everything about the book makes you think and that’s the best thing here. I mean, I love books where I can just get lost as much as the next person, but the sheer power of books that make you think? Unmatched.

And then (finally) there’s the romance. There is no way I can describe the immense angst of the misunderstanding that scuppered their initial attempts without spoiling the book, but it is so good (in terms of angst, that is). And then their scenes at the end! I don’t think I’ve stopped yelling since I finished the book.

So, with all that, I think it’s clear just how much I loved this book (and am still thinking about it). Which means it’s also clear that you really really need to preorder this one.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Space Between Worlds

  1. I adored this book too. The commentary on race, gender, and poverty was eye-opening and so thought-provoking. Can’t wait to get a finished copy (I might have signed up to a book box just for this book lol).

    Liked by 1 person

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