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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.
If you’ve been around here for a while then you might know that parallel universe stories are my jam. I absolutely cannot get enough of them, as I find the entire concept so intriguing and exciting. When I first heard about The Space Between Worlds, I knew I had to snap it up, because it sounded exactly like the kind of thing I would enjoy. I am here for anything about travelling between parallel dimensions.
Cara was a very interesting character, and she actually becomes more interesting the more you read. It isn’t immediately clear why she is the way that she is, or what exactly it is that she’s dealing with, but trust me, it’s A LOT. And as the book continues you keep finding out more about her. She’s somewhat mysterious in the beginning, I guess, but she’s an incredibly layered character.
The science part of the book left me a little… deflated. The Space Between Worlds isn’t supposed to be hard science fiction or anything, but given my love for parallel universe stories I was excited to learn about how or why these worlds exist. So in this book, people can travel to different Earths if their “Other Self” is dead in them. But they can only travel to Earths that are already quite similar to their own. So there are a lot of Earths that they can’t access. All good so far, right?
Well, my problem is that there is a set number of different Earths in this book. Around 380. And the numbers isn’t increasing. But the thing is, THE NUMBER SHOULD BE FOREVER INCREASING. If the parallel universes happen because choices cause divergence, the number of universes should be increasing at a rapid rate. Right? It doesn’t make sense that the characters in Earth 0 have only discovered a limited amount of Other Earths, and only the ones that are most similar to their own. If the main character, Cara, decides not to go to the toilet on the upper floor of her apartment building and instead waits until she gets to work, therefore getting there sooner, and her Other Self does the opposite, that’s already just one divergence. So a new Earth should have been created!
I’ll stop my ranting about that now, because despite that… slight… upset, I did really enjoy this book. I would say that a lot of people would enjoy it, even if they don’t like science fiction, because it turns into more of an action thriller for the most part. The second and third acts of the book aren’t very sciencey at all, and it’s more of an action/thriller/dystopia type deal.
I enjoyed the discussions of class that were prevelant throughout this book. The Space Between Worlds covered many more themes than that, but the class bits were the ones that most intrigued me as it’s something I can relate to and am passionate about. I also really liked that the main character was bi/pan. At the very least, Cara is definitely not straight. More F/F sci fi, PLEASE.
Overall, this is a very good book and an easy one for new readers of sci fi to read. Pick it up if the concept of the multiverse sounds intriguing, but try not to think about the science too closely or you might find yourself quite frustrated.