The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Multiverse travel exists, but you can only go to a world where all of your previous selves have died. Cara has no talents other than she’s dead in 372 worlds. Plucked from the wastelands, she now lives in the City and travels across the worlds, and in a few short years she’ll be granted citizenship. Unless the machinations of her totally benevolent tech genius boss do something to mess with that plan…
I have seen two worlds and the space between.
Two star body, four star ending.
I’ve been having a hard time trying to wrap my thoughts about this book into sometime resembling words. This was the longest 330something pages I’ve ever read, but the last twenty percent or so flew by? I seriously thought it was an over 500 page novel, as the first half draaaaagged after a really promising first few chapters and a huge fucking twist thrown right into the beginning.
But Wiley City is bad on age anyway. They see a fourteen-year-old runner outside the wall and say, A suspicious man spotted near the border, but when a thirty-three-year-old Wileyite murders his girlfriend it’s Good boy goes bad./blockquote>
I really loved what this book had to say about privilege and human worth, about tech genius and the evils of capitalism, about misconceptions and the different kinds of love, and how it explored the various ways a person’s life can vary just based on circumstances and chance. How the main character is a Black, bisexual former sex worker in a world where workers are valued for keeping the peace and bringing civilization.
Nik Senior said that was true power. Not to kill a man, but to kill a man in front of his family and force them to agree you did not.
I loved the metaphor of the title and how multiverse travel meant…quite a lot of different things. Cara constantly traveled between worlds, even worlds within worlds. She existed in the space between, neither of one or the other but trying to find a place for herself.
I loved quite a bit of the writing, which could turn from lyrical to horrifying on a dime, and always cut through with laser precision into the heart of an uneven, imbalanced world filled with varying levels of power and systemic racism and poverty. Because ultimately this was a book about power: the having, the gaining, the losing and the sacrificing.
But the pacing.
It was so uneven that I almost DNF’d at 50%.
I’m very happy that I didn’t, as the ending was fantastic and I loved that it was bisexually sapphic and diverse and I loved the various iterations of Cara’s sisters and enemies. Cara was a chameleon, always changing herself to survive to the circumstances, which is what made it so much sadder that her other selves had died so often on so many other worlds.
Can’t say much more about what happens after the 50% mark other than I loved that it got political and brought Cara back to her world and the evil secrets lurking beneath its surface.
The only due powerful men recognize is a life—in service or in sacrifice.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.