Title: In The Dark Spaces
Author: Cally Black
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publication Date: August 1st
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“What will happen when you don’t come back?”
The latest winner of the Ampersand Prize is a genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who’s faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors.
Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive.
But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople’s way of life, and the threats they face from humanity’s exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. Should she stay as the only human among the Crows, knowing she’ll never see her family again … or inevitably betray her new community if she wants to escape?
This ground-breaking thriller is the latest YA novel to win the Ampersand Prize, a stand-out entry with a blindingly original voice: raw, strange and deeply sympathetic. With its vivid and immersive world-building, this electrifying debut is The Knife of Never Letting Go meets Homeland, for the next generation of sci-fi readers.
I want to first thank Hardie Grant Egmont for sending this my way to review! All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
I found this novel to be interesting and the beginning was engaging. I found it intriguing how the main character, Tamara, and her cousin had to live in silence on the ship, how they were not allowed to be loud otherwise they’d be discovered. The whole story definitely picked up at the alien invasion of the ship. However, throughout the whole novel, my interest for it fluctuated because the events were not intriguing and there weren’t many unexpected plot twists, I actually don’t remember if there were any.
I didn’t end up liking Tamara, although I did try to. Her voice was just too childish for me and everything about her seemed to annoy me – the way she acted and how she spoke, none of it connected to me. I didn’t like how fear seemed to drive her – but her love for her younger cousin was admirable and made me not completely hate her.
I enjoyed the exploration of an alien culture and how Tamara soon came to understand them, not completely but enough to hold a conversation with them. The alien’s way of communicating was different and intriguing and I liked that, Cally Black did a great job in helping Tamara learn to understand the aliens.
I also enjoyed meeting different characters, and although I didn’t take a liking to Tamara, I did enjoy how she got along with them. She seemed to get along with anyone that was willing to talk to her – a trait which is commendable. The loyalty her alien “sister” (sorry, I forget their names) had to her was strong and beautiful… and let’s say I teared up at one point.
I like the idea of a hive caring for us and protecting us from people who could potentially harm us. The alien’s hive did just that and I found it quite intriguing. In The Dark Spaces also explored our humanity, and what becomes of it when we are afraid. And let’s just say, humanity is not humane at all at that said point. It’s really said how one human would harm another just to get what they want.
Anywho, overall, I did enjoy this novel. It was quick and easy to read and had a lot of space elements, therefore, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi. I just found this novel wasn’t for me because I couldn’t connect to the main character and the plot wasn’t memorable. The time at which I read it, I had seen heaps of good reviews for it and the synopsis sounded amazing, but I think the hype for it made me have too many high expectations, leading to my disappointment.
Have you read this one? Are you planning to? What are your favourite sci-fi reads?