Title: Darker Space
Author: Lisa Henry
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Brady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, but he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.
Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.
But from out in the black, Kai-Ren is still watching and everything Brady and Cam think they’ve won, they stand to lose all over again.
Darker Space is the conclusion of Lisa Henry’s Dark Space series (or is it?). When Dark Space left off, both Brady and Cam had been returned to Defender 3 after being sent back by the Faceless. Their future is uncertain, but their relationship is strong. Darker Space picks up several months later. And while both Brady and Cam have been sent back to Earth,
I thoroughly enjoyed Darker Space. I first started reading science fiction when I was a teenager and I’ve always loved the genre. There’s so much you can do with it, and still tell the story of what it means to be human. What it means to survive your worst fears.
In Darker Space, both Brady and Cam not only have to face the Faceless again, but they are still being regularly interrogated by the military. It’s stressful. Brady still has nightmares from his time with the Faceless before. Not because of what they did to him, because they saved his life; but Brady runs on fear and adrenaline. He comes fro a very poor family and grew up in utter poverty. The way he has always seen things is that everyone is out to take advantage and to keep the lower classes in their place. And he’s not far wrong. There are a log of real assholes out there (in real life and in his world) that do just that. So he doesn’t trust. Cam is an exception only because of the mental connection they shared when Cam was first returned. That connection allowed him to see the real Cam. To hear his thoughts, to feel his feelings. And Cam helped him to discover things about himself that Brady never knew.
Cam does come from an affluent family and he’s had it pretty good. At least until he was taken by the Faceless and kept for four years. But even then, Cam’s nature is to do what needs to be done to survive. He is a ‘roll with the punches’ kind of guy. Where Brady is very reactionary, Cam is rational. They compliment each other quite well. Cam is able to calm Brady like no one else has ever been able to do. And Brady gives Cam a reason to fight.
And now that they are back on Earth, they are taking care of and raising Brady’s eight year old sister, Lucy. That family dynamic makes Brady a bit more jumpy. He feels very responsible for Lucy and will do anything for her. He is, however, reluctant to accept much help with her care from anyone except Cam. Cam’s parents do what they can, but Brady not only doesn’t trust, but he feels guilty that he can’t do everything himself. That he has to depend on anyone. Now now, Brady, raising a kid is best done collectively. You’re not an island. Ok?
In fact, my only real complaint about this book is that Lucy is a more prominent character than I would prefer a child to be. It works for the story, but Brady’s focus is too much on her at times. She’s a very perceptive child and she takes nearly everything in stride. Her role in this story is that of emissary. Her perceptiveness does border on creepy, at times, and it sometimes freaks Brady out a bit. She’s a child and he wants her to be a normal 8 year old. She’s not.
The thing I really loved about this story, though, is getting to live it inside Brady’s head. You really get a sense of everything he is thinking and feeling and, let me tell you, this boy has some issues. I found it easy to connect with him and understand him. I really get why he has trouble trusting and why he feels like he doesn’t deserve someone like Cam. How could a white knight like Cam really love a guy like Brady, who is clearly from the wrong side of the tracks? The answer, of course, is that Cam sees through all the bluster and sees who Brady really is.
And though this series focuses a bit on the Faceless and how they are our enemy, Darker Space illustrates that humanity’s worst enemy is really itself. The conclusion is a bit ominous. It’s left open enough that the author can continue it, if she chooses. So, although I read that this will be the last book, who can say? Maybe Brady will keep talking. But, if not, I’m actually happy with how it ended. It was very much a sci-fi kind of ending. And that’s all I’m saying.