Those Beyond the Wall

Del Rey: Ballantine. (The Space Between Worlds, Bk. 2). Mar. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780593497500. $28.99. SF
Scales is a mechanic and enforcer in Ashtown, working under the powerful, deadly Emperor to help keep balance in their desert town. When a close friend dies horrifically in front of Scales, she is tasked with finding out the truth about their violent death—especially when there was no murderer in sight. When it is discovered that more deaths have occurred, both in Ash and in the walled and wealthy Wiley City, Scales must work with two frustrating men—her Emperor-compliant partner Cross and annoyingly brilliant scientist Adam—to discover what is killing people. As the truth is uncovered, so is the buried past that Scales has tried to overcome, one of blood and secrets. Yet more secrets and more blood will be spilled, and the answers could destroy their world. This book packs an emotional punch, as brutality lies next to the thin edge of caring, wrapped up in friendship and rage, and love will not stop hearts from shattering.
VERDICT Set 10 years after The Space Between Worlds, this novel provides a new protagonist, returning characters, and a multiverse of paths for all of them. Johnson’s tense sci-fi thriller is exciting and immersive.
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