Marc reviews ‘Dark Space’ (Dark Space 1) by Lisa Henry (Published by Loose Id on December 4th 2012)
I heard so many of my friends rave about this book that I simply couldn’t resist the temptation anymore and had to find out what all the fuss was about. A book that people still talk about and frequently recommend even after more than a year after its release ought to be a special read. Since my friends know me so well that following their recommendations I rarely even read a book that I would rate less than 8 pots of gold, I just trusted them and bought this book as paperback. One of my first in this genre (And… welll…. the cover might have convinced me as well 😛
Brady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.
Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.
Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.
Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.
Cover: The cover of this book has always intrigued me. It looks hot, with attractive models that actually fit the characters in the book. But more, it looks gritty. Even being hot and gorgeous there is a darkness there, a seriousness, tension. The space station looms in the background, showing this is Science Fiction and I felt the cover as a whole does a great job of getting the feeling of the book across. The paperback version is worth every penny and I love looking at this cover!
Title: Dark Space. A short, direct title, but there are many layers to it. Even at its most obvious meaning, it creates a feeling of claustrophobia and peril that this novel builds upon. 🙂
Story: Okay, so I don’t just want to rehash the synopsis of this story. If you want to read it above, it is very catchy and will make you want to read the book. I actually didn’t read the blurb though and loved not having a clue about what would happen. I soley relied on insurances from friends that I had to read it and have tried to focus this review on what this book is about for me and why it is such a special read.
This story isn’t just called ‘Dark Space’; it might be a Science Fiction story where humanity has ‘taken to the stars’, but the characters are very much trapped in a Space Station. They are all alone in the deathly silence and desolation of Space, alone in the darkness, with something they cannot prevent or defend against looming over them.
A prisoner of war returns in an alien statis pod and after years of imprisonment, he brings information that can either safe or doom them all. It is interesting that no one really trusts him and as a reader it is hard to decide what to think, but it is clear very soon that while it might be important on a personal level whether he speaks the truth or lies, showing whether trust or distrust towards him is justified, in the big picture it doesn’t matter.
There is something gloomy about the idea that whatever the truth, no one has any power to change a thing. Whatever will happen, happens. Of course, readers will want to know what happens and it brings a constant tension and threat into the story, but there is no big plan they can work on, no big space battle that will happen, they are powerless to their uncertain future.
Basically, they are sitting ducks in a space station, surrounded by nothing but Dark Space, very effective in setting the atmosphere, but not distracting from what this novel is about. For me, it is about the two main characters in a very human drama set in Space.
Now, of course there are Science Fiction aspects to everything and they are brilliant and let readers feel they are not in Kansas anymore. I loved the alien strangeness of some of the things described and they not only added to the feeling of the book, but helped to drive the plot.
However, the story is about two humans forced together by strange circumstances. Both have experienced great trauma and abuse in their lives and have very different ways of dealing with them and seeing the world. Here I think it is important to mention that some of that abuse is remembered/ experienced within the pages of the story and there is non-consent that may trigger some people – though not between the main protagonists.
The story is gritty and dark, readers can see how some characters choose again and again to make wrong/bad/difficult decisions, act in malicious, mean or harmful ways and there seems to be a lot of darkness and little light. However, the developing relationship between the main characters is a ray of light, hope.
Their relationship is everything but easy and consistent. Can they trust each other, can they even trust their own feelings around each other? They have to figure out who they are and what they are to each other. As they stumbe through the darkness, I rooted for them every step of the way.
Sympathetic characters with very human faults in a gritty and realistic future. The uncertainty of what would come next had me at the edge of my seat, the revelations of what happened before broke my heart for the characters.
This is a special story I will never be able to forget and it instantly entered my top ten list, when I finished. As I recently learned there will be a sequel, I am psyched and can’t wait for it and I hope I can get you to read it as well, because if there is ever one of my recommendations you should give a try, it is this one. It is dark, complex, well-written but with hope and love and a lot of hot sex that is so good that it turned a straight man gay 😛
STRONGLY recommended!!! (10/10 Pots of Gold)
About the Author:
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with a long-suffering partner, too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.