Review: The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Two boys, alone in space.
After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship.
Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister.
In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.
Dear Eliot Schrefer,
I am very happy that I have read this book; I like books that make me think, but I don’t know if I will reread it. I have to say that I either get books by unknown-to-me authors because I loved the blurb or because something in the reviews grabbed me or a book friend recommended it. This one came up on the discussion list where I hang out and I did read couple of reviews.
I strongly disagree that this book is mislabeled as a romance. To me the romance here is a very integral part of the plot. It is of course very much a SF book as well, with developed, interesting settings, but I judge whether the romance is an integral part of the plot by trying to imagine whether the story will hold together or fall apart without the romance storyline. And to me it will fall apart. I suppose it will hold if the protagonists remain very, *very* close friends, but their connection, their love for each other has to be there IMO, or a lot of things just simply won’t happen.
Funnily enough, to me the romance is the least believable part of the plot, too. I mean, there are the two of them. In space. Unless they would really hate each other IMO they are bound to end up together just because they would feel too lonely otherwise. I guess I just did not see them having a real choice about it (no, nobody is forced to do anything here), I just meant that they did not have a choice in really picking a partner for themselves. I really liked both boys, don’t get me wrong, I am just not sure that in the normal circumstances they would have gotten that close.
Now, the best part of the plot for me was trying to figure out what was going on and it had been awhile since a book really made me wrack my brain. Don’t get me wrong, you see that *something is up* almost right away, but what exactly is up took me a while to figure out and actually I don’t think I did till the book revealed it to me.
And I cannot talk about this at all – AT ALL! It is very spoilerish, any reveal of anything in the SF storyline. What can I talk about? I really loved how the author played with the pacing here. Every next chapter of the book (six of them) is decreasing in length – first one was 175 pages on my kindle, then – 94 ( or was it 96), then 6 pages and it was all very deliberate. I don’t think precise pages numbers were deliberate, but chapters shortening in length gives you the impression that the book speeds up faster, faster, then it comes to a screeching halt. And a bit of an overdone soap opera conclusion. It definitely has a happy ending for a romantic storyline, but despite me going on and on about romance being very important I won’t call it Romance with the capital R.
At several points during the story, I really wondered just how the believable happy ending could be achieved – even when it was perfectly clear exactly what the author had in mind. At some points the book became just depressing. But there was one. I certainly preferred that than no happy ending, but I am not sure if I was too impressed with it. You will have to decide for yourself. B/B-