An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.
“Gorgeous writing, mind-bending world-building, razor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
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 dystopian 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 what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. 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.
The Space Between Worlds is a story about 380 known different versions of Earth.
I love multi-verse theory. I find it completely and utterly fascinating. And, I cannot get enough of stories about traveling to multiple versions of Earth. In this story, you can only go to other Earths where you are already dead. If you are still alive in a world that you jump to, it results in severe injury upon arrival, and the return trip will kill you if you even make it to that point. The main character, Cara, is a professional traverser. She is dead in 372 of the 380 worlds, so she is the perfect candidate for this job. Traversers go to other worlds to collect data about that version and return with it for Earth Zero’s database. The are other things traversing is used for, but that isn’t revealed until later.
The characters are all intricately detailed and diverse, with a plethora of scars – physical, mental, and emotional. Life is hard in this dystopian world – even if you grew up in the city, which is civilized and environmentally enhanced for optimum conditions. Outside the city is a hot, barren land where people live a harsh life – almost a Wild West type of existence. Inside the city, people live a very controlled life. The level you live on denotes your position in society, and even visiting upper levels are forbidden unless you are there at the request of the person who lives there. Class and privilege are everything.
The Space Between Worlds is a story about privilege and discovering where you belong.
Some people have privilege by birth, but most people want it and do almost anything to get it. It is the reason that Cara became a traverser.
She was permitted to live in the city while she worked in it, and she wants to work at least the number of years it takes to become a permanent resident. People in the city are well-taken care of. They want for nothing, which is the exact opposite of life outside the city. Cara has to ask herself whether all that glitters is gold, or can you make a fulfilled life for yourself in an area where every day is a struggle. And, where do you draw the line to what you will do to have that city life?
The Space Between Worlds is a story about self-discovery.
What better way to learn who you are than by studying 379 other versions of yourself? Cara thinks she is on a quest to become a city resident. What she discovers, though, in her journey is that she is actually on a quest to find the various layers that make up her true self – those parts of her that are true in all worlds and those which are different and why they are different. Once she learns more about herself, she starts to learn about the intricacies of others in her life, which is eye-opening beyond her belief.
To Read or Not to Read
Layered above these deep-seated themes is a story that is suspenseful and action-filled. It is a story that will leave you at times, on the edge of your seat, and at other times with your mouth agape and sometimes both at the same time. Buckle yourself up, because reading this story is a journey that you won’t soon forget.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.