My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cara has a job not many can hold--traversing through different Earths in the multiverse--because most of her other selves are already dead. But technological advancements may mean Cara's job is invalidated--and her latest pull reveals unexpected events. What starts off as a simple multiverse-travelling story turns dark and complex when Cara uncovers dangerous truths.
The Space Between Worlds is perfect for casual sci-fi readers, those who prefer their sci-fi on the space opera/soft end of the spectrum and don't want to worry about the actual tech or How It All Works. Johnson doesn't actually explain how it works, just that it does, also providing a mythological response to this science: the traversers assigning the name "Nyame" to the pressure felt and dangers of traversing. It does segue more into myth at the end, so I'd say this is more science-fantasy than anything else.
Overall, the novel deals with the theme of rich vs poor, haves vs have-nots, and the way they impact each other individually and collectively. Cara is a Have-Not, only given this chance because of this unique quality of hers (still being alive on Earth 0); her Watcher, Dell, is a Have, born into money and Wiley City citizenship. There's a brutality that exists in the spaces outside the city, one that Cara cannot help that carry as part of her, affecting the way she reacts to people--especially Dell.
Dell, whom she is hopelessly in love with, but is sure does not love her back. A very strange kind of romance/non-romance exists between them, where it's increasingly obvious to the reader what Cara just cannot see (accept might be a better word).
Overall, The Space Between Worlds is fascinating with a slow-building intensity.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The Space Between Worlds releases on Aug 4. Preorder now (affiliate link)