Title: The Darkness Outside Us
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Published: June 1st, 2021 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, and HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When a distress signal is tripped by the first settler on distant Titan, the only two remaining countries on Earth work together to assemble a rescue mission, each sending a representative. Ambrose and Kodiak wake up on the Coordinated Endeavour, knowing that they are headed to Saturn to rescue Minerva, Ambrose’s sister, but neither of them has any memory of the launch itself. The ship’s AI is clearly holding back information, and when some harrowing discoveries come to light, the enemies will have to work together to figure out what the true purpose of this mission is.
This is a hard one to review, but I’ve done my best to make this spoiler free. I definitely enjoyed this book but I felt like the synopsis was a bit misleading in that the romance is only a very small portion of the story. This was mainly a story of surviving in space and was a mix of mystery and sci-fi. There is some information given as to how Earth ended up as this post-apocalyptic version of itself and while it’s certainly enough to understand the context of the story, it would have been nice to see more backstory for this and what exactly the conflict between Federation and Dimokratia was all about. The setting of the ship, however, was very well described and easy to visualize. As for the story itself, I loved the writing style and it was impossible to put down. It had some darker twists that I wasn’t expecting and did an excellent job of keeping the tension high, making for a captivating read.
Kodiak and Ambrose were both great protagonists and it was particularly interesting to see how each of them reacted to the uncertain situation they had been dropped into. The story is narrated entirely from Ambrose’s perspective but Kodiak has an equally, if not more, critical role so it would have been better to have alternating POVs and hear what he might have been thinking throughout. I was expecting to see a more developed romance between the two though.
About 95% of this book focussed entirely on Kodiak and Ambrose’s journey and once they do make it to their destination, the story is wrapped up in a handful of pages, only giving us glimpses of this new planet and hints of what the future might hold for the duo. It would have been nice to spend some more time exploring the planet as the ending felt very abrupt.
All in all, this is definitely one of the more unique YA novels I’ve come across and I think it is one that would appeal to fans of sci-fi regardless of age as the only thing I felt made it YA was the age of the protagonists. Overall, save for the ending, this was an amazing read and one I would highly recommend!
The Darkness Outside Us releases on June 1st, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!