The Space Between Worlds was part science fiction part mystery. Parallel worlds will always get my attention. And The Space Between Worlds blends this SF concept with secrets, mystery, and action. If you love parallel worlds and multiverses, then keep reading this book review!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: domestic abuse
Even after finishing The Space Between Worlds I’m still in love with the concept. That’s how you know that a book is unique and the social commentary in The Space Between Worlds is sharp and gripping. When you can only travel to worlds where that copy of you is dead, it means that those with the most privilege are basically still alive there. So all of a sudden there’s many opportunities for employment for those from poor POC backgrounds so that they can travel to the most worlds.
What I also loved about The Space Between Worlds is that it never lets you forget this inherent difference. It motivates Cara and the events of the world, continuously reminding you of the ways the prejudice against the poor marginalized communities pervades even as they need them. And what happens to the travelers? This queer SFF is one of those stories which has a strong world concept and sticks to it.
There’s no denying I was going to love Cara, not only is she bisexual and still, despite her status, navigating her identity as a formerly poor POC, but she’s resilient, clever, and snarky. Just when you thought you had a handle on The Space Between Worlds, it ends up turning into a mystery and story of secrets. This is when the story starts folding in on itself. Connecting and crossing in delightful and fast paced ways. I was lost a bit on some of the details, and still don’t know how some of it is possible, but it was a fantastic twisty plot.
If you love queer SFF and also love the idea of a parallel universe meets mystery then definitely pick up The Space Between Worlds. There were a few times I would have liked a little more character depth and introspection at some parts. But overall, it’s a fantastic action filled story and I’d definitely read more from this world!