Those Beyond the Wall

Books on Tape. (The Space Between Worlds, Bk. 2). Mar. 2024. 15:18 hrs. ISBN 9780593823842. $95. SF
Johnson’s sequel to The Space Between Worlds begins with a gruesome mystery that readers of the first book will immediately understand. Still, Scales, keeper of the peace in Ashtown, and her people don’t have that information. Scales is a character full of compassion and rage, which grew from her traumatic past and her relationship to a brutal emperor. As she works to solve the mystery, she must also contend with the inequities of life on either side of the wall, the precarious balance of power, and the family bonds. Her powerful voice is performed by Angel Pean, whose narration distinguishes ignited wrath and calculated violence just as clearly as it does weary tenderness. Through Scales’s voice, Pean guides listeners through her difficult journey. She keeps the tension high as new revelations upturn Scales’s understanding of the world, and she learns who of the large cast can truly be trusted. Several characters hold opposing beliefs about how to enact societal change, and Pean’s delivery communicates this tension. However, whether they represent fury or compromise, the importance of mental health care is a strong undercurrent throughout.
VERDICT This thrilling sequel exploring justice and change would enhance any audio sci-fi collection.
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