Book Review: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

The Space Between Worlds  by Micaiah Johnson Genre:  Science fiction/fantasy (SFF), queer lit Synopsis:   Multiverse travel is finally poss...

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Genre: Science fiction/fantasy (SFF), queer lit

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.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Sexual assault, abuse, self-harm, kidnapping/abduction, death, classism, sexism/misogyny

Overall rating:  ★★★★☆


It always takes me so long to get into sci-fi and fantasy novels. The Space Between Worlds was not an exception. I had to figure out the world and what was going on. So it took me a few days to really get into the story, but once I was in it, I. Was. In! This book was so good. It was queer and full of social commentary. It’s a book about trauma and healing. And it’s a particular brand of SFF that feels like it could be in the very near future, which makes it incredibly haunting.

On the surface, this story is about parallel universes, but it digs so much deeper. This story is about tyrant leaders, the separation of classes (both large scale and smaller scale), facing your demons.

"You don't pay with scars so you can survive. Scars are the badge of honor to prove you survived."

This book is the best of queer sci-fi. Not only is the world-building so well executed (and there are multiple worlds within this book), but the characters are all so well-developed. And they have to be because there are different versions of them across multiple different planets - each version differing slightly, leading different lives, making different choices, with their circumstances making them different people with different morals and values. It’s really an incredibly written book that tells an exciting story.

I enjoyed the worlds, the characters, the queer love. Really the entire book was fantastic and I would love to visit the same universe again. These characters will stick with me for a long time.

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