Posted in book review, fiction, gifted

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Left: UK Cover – Published by Hodder & Stoughton – August 4th 2020

Right: US Cover – Published by Del Rey Books – August 4th 2020


Which cover do you like best?

I’m totally torn! they are both beautiful – I love the simplicity and the bright purple on the UK cover but I also love the imagery on the US cover which does give a good visual for the actual book content!

I received an early e-copy of this book in exchange for a review through Netgalley.


Synopsis

An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens her new home and her fragile place in it, in a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

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


Review

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is a staggering debut and the most recent Sci-Fi novel that I’ve read but not the first novel this year that has featured multi-verses! Does anyone have any recommendations for others? I seem to be really digging them in 2020 – maybe it’s because the real world is a mess!

Anyway, Cara our protagonist is absolutely full to bursting with intrigue for the reader, she’s a bad-ass female character that I loved even though some of her actions were morally questionable. Discovering her secrets as we read through her story and traveled through worlds with her was like watching Making a Murderer all over again and trying to guess what had happened and WHY. Alongside Cara there are several characters that I really invested in – Nik Nik and Jean for example among others. Since there are the same characters in different worlds, you can see them wholly – the good and the bad of their characteristics which makes for a fascinating dissection as their choices and circumstances change.

I have to talk about the world(s) around Cara though. Not only has Johnson imagined multiple versions of Earth, it’s not Earth as we know it but an Earth in the future – writing this I’m not even 100% sure it was Earth (it is). It’s different, there is a split between those who live in the city (rich, flashy apartment blocks) and those who live outside of it (poorer, imagine wasteland), in the desert with limited protection from the Sun which is ridiculously hot – so hot that there are times of day where you can’t be out in it or you’ll burn and only the city-dwellers seem to have protection against it. Johnson’s imagination seems to have no bounds in The Space Between Worlds and I read the split between the city and the desert (and the worlds) with a terrifying societal commentary around race, religion, privilege and wealth.

As such a fascinating read, I really recommend this to readers wanting a different kind of Sci-fi read as I do believe it twists the genre on itself. The narrative bounds along so quickly, I often found myself unable to put it down – there is one point where the whole trail of the story seems to be thrown out like toys out of a toy box and then re-arranged on a shelf, I’ll be keeping my eye out for any future releases by Johnson.

The Space Between Worlds is available now on Amazon.

Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5 and well deserved!