Review: The Thirteenth World by A.N. Willis

Series: The Corridor #2

the thirteenth world -AN willisTime is running out for Stel Alaster.

The Corridor, the only portal between First and Second Earth, is failing and the barriers between all twelve worlds are thinning.

Using her unique ability to travel through the multiverse, Stel sets out to save the Corridor . . . and ends up discovering a mysterious new world.

In the sequel to The Corridor, will the thirteenth world hold the key to the Corridor’s secrets?

Or will the portal implode and take every last universe down with it?

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Thank you Alloy Entertainment for this copy in exchange for an honest review

**The Thirteenth World comes out on September 29th!**

It began a few weeks after the cliffhanger of The Corridor left us. And my, could I say that the cliffhanger had me itching to get my hands on this sequel so much faster??

Anyway, I have a lot less complaints about this one. For once, the sequel may have surpassed its predecessor, which is rather high praise coming from me.

From book one, you would know that all is NOT happy and well on First Earth where Stel and most of her friends were from. The Corridor is acting up and is even MORE unstable than before, if that’s possible. And now? She was separated from everyone she loved and her portal wasn’t working. Talk about jumping into serious stuff immediately.

If you read my review for The Corridor, you’d know just how much I wanted to punch a ton of the characters. My despise for Dr. Tabor, aka the worst family friend EVER, literally made me wanna lock her up somewhere to get a taste of her own medicine. She did not win any points with me, as I suppose that wasn’t the plan.

However, to my surprise, my huge dislike for Stel’s brother Justin has actually faded. I know, I know. He redeemed himself in my eyes, although I truly hadn’t wanted that to happen after all he did. His character really grew and I could understand a little on why he did what he did. I’ll let you judge for yourself whether he was worth redeeming.

Justin may have outgrew his asshole-ness, and so it also seemed that Stel’s old bestie Lissa didn’t suck as much either. She was truly helpful when it came to controlling Overprotective Brother Syndrome, and I guess what she did at the end of The Corridor was somewhat redeeming too.

“My brother had been shocked into silence when Cohl and I came home earlier…Unfortunately, the silence hadn’t lasted long.
‘He’s too old for you. Plus, I don’t like his attitude. And that
‘You sound like an old man right now…Can we please not have this conversation? I’m leaving in twenty minutes.’…
Lissa took one look at me and my brother, and swooped in between us. ‘Justin! I was hoping to find you. I need your help, um…lifting something very heavy.’
‘Oh?’ Justin gave me another glare, but his attention was rapidly moving to Lissa’s.
‘Yep. Very, very heavy. I know you’re the
only guy around here who could lift it.’
Justin pushed back his shoulders, and crossed his arms. Which just so happened to make his biceps bulge. ‘I’ll take care of it for you.'”

I don’t know what it was about this book, but everyone that was pure AWFUL last time around was just….nicer? I guess the potential destruction of your life as you knew it could do that to you…

Stel’s identity crisis in this novel was hugely focused. What is she? Why could she do what she could do? And now everyone was counting on her to save the entire multiverse. Talk about big responsibilities.

She faced a lot of conflict about where she came from, and her actual birth heritage. Plus, did people see her for who she was, or just that girl with the super-portal-making powers? Was that all she summed up to now? It was nice to see some depth to the story, beyond the sci-fi/dystopian feel of the plot.

Likewise, The Thirteenth World wasn’t just great on character growth, but also more action-packed. Come on, the whole multiverse is coming to chaos and potential implosion of all the worlds. That’s crazy stuff. Sure, the astrophysics or pseudo-physics (I wouldn’t know if half of that stuff was true or made sense…) flew beyond me, but it sure was fascinating to hear how their ragtag group was gonna prevent such chaotic consequences from happening.

And more WORLDS! Who wouldn’t love visiting another world that oddly seemed like yours but isn’t? It’s just a shame that the world-building took a backseat in this sequel as there was more focus on the Corridor and fixing it. I would’ve loved to have known a little more backstory into one of the new Earths that was visited here.

And before you all berate me for this long review without talking about it….I will admit that Cohl has grown on me too. See? What IS with this book and redeeming characters? I didn’t feel the chemistry there with him in the last book. Hello? He was a TOTAL ASSHOLE to Stel in the beginning. Rude, much? And then you tell me you grew feelings for her? Uh, NOT buying it.

Anyway, that was in the past. Their romance and the predicament of being from two different universes really stresses the LONG in long-distance romance. I loved that beyond having those dopey “I-love-you-and-I-miss-you” kinda conversations, there was a level of friendship that felt lacking previously.

“Cohl said, ‘We’ll have to try somewhere else. One of the other Earths we’ve never visited. What do you think?’
‘I think your plan is perfect. And that you’re amazing.’
‘Anything else? Don’t stop now, this is just getting good.’
I inhaled deeply. ‘You smell pretty nice, too. Don’t let it go to your head.’
‘Too late.'”

Their love felt more real too. And in one scene, the writing was superbly touching. And so true. It described how real love should be like, and in that moment, I knew their love had won me over (’cause the writing didn’t make me wanna gag instead).

“We stayed there in the kitchen until almost midnight. We didn’t talk, didn’t even kiss, just held each other…..We’d said the words – that we loved each other – but that wasn’t really how I knew it was real. It was in the pauses, in this quiet moment when words had failed us. A touch, a look…It was the fierce ache around my heart, the stiffness in my lungs. It was being together until the very last priceless second.”

I’m assuming this is the last book of the series, although I had initially thought it’d be a trilogy. I will say that it won’t let you down. It wrapped things up nicely, but not too nicely like a stiff present. My only disappointment is that there won’t be any more exploration of the other 12 worlds. *secretly hopes for a spin-off book…*

Overall Recommendation:
The Thirteenth World definitely holds more grit and action, now that all the introductions to this slightly-futuristic-yet-not-too-far-off-into-the-future kinda world has been made. A ton of characters that I previously hated with a passion has surprisingly redeemed themselves without making me want to gauge out my eyes for reading it. And beyond character growth, it still held intrigue when dealing with multiverses, potential implosion of the worlds and, of course, the intricate workings of portal travelling. I think it summed up all the questions you ever asked and more. Definitely give it a shot.

Note: All quotes taken from this arc are subject to change

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