Cover Image: The Darkness Outside Us

The Darkness Outside Us

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars

This was much more sci-fi than romance, and I really enjoyed that. The plot is complex and interesting and had no trouble holding my attention for 400-something pages.

We start with the MC waking up from a coma onboard the spaceship he's taking to Saturn on a rescue mission, with no memory of anything that's happened since the launch. His only source of information is the ship's AI, who seems to be holding back on which memory gaps it's willing to fill in... and off we go on a sci-fi adventure and mystery rolled into one.

The ramifications of what we discover are extremely thought-provoking, and I loved the different ways the MCs each processed and reacted to that information. This was my absolute favorite part of the book, but I can't really say much without major spoilers, and this is definitely not a book you want to be spoiled for! The fun comes from discovering each new piece of the puzzle along with the MCs.

I did love the MC's opposite yet complementary personalities and how that slowly built into a pretty epic romance amid the background of this warped sci-fi adventure.

My only complaint is that we spend so much time on their journey that there weren't a lot of pages left to explore the destination. We do get answers and action once they get there, and the book gives us plenty of glimpses into their future to feel satisfying, it's just that the ship, by its very nature, can only contain so much variety of circumstances vs. the endless potential of an unexplored planet. 

And I would have loooooved more planet time. Especially to wrap up the romance. It doesn't get much play at the end, which was disappointing. Both the romance and the ship time could have trimmed some in the earlier/middle passages to get more planet time. Not that it feels padded while reading those passages; just in retrospect as a greedy reader who loves survival stories :)

As it is, I should still probably give this a higher rating if I'm being completely objective, but this is where being a 40-year-old reading YA sci-fi comes into play. I have consumed oodles and oodles of sc-fi fiction -- books/tv/movies -- in the last 20 years, and while this is definitely a very fresh, intriguing contribution, it's still YA. 

When I got to the end, I couldn't help but think how awesome it would be to read this same plot written for adults. I mean that as a major compliment, though. This is truly excellent YA, written for the older and more discerning YA audience, and which I would definitely recommend for anyone who likes both YA and sci-fi -- this is just me acknowledging that I would probably be rating it even higher if I were anyone's definition of a Young Adult.

And now I need to see what else this author has written...
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I appreciated the author's intent with the book and enjoyed the overall plot and pacing of the story. Unfortunately for me, I am a really character driven reader who wants to see really developed and fleshed out characters and that just didn't happen. Some of the dialogue felt a little forced for me as well. If you're looking for a fun LGBTQ romance with a little bit of space mystery, you'll probably enjoy this book.
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Unfortunately, I wasn't vibing with the writing of this book or the decision to have lengthy parts instead of chapters.
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I was drawn in by the They Both Die at the End comp. This book was just as devastating and wonderful in its own way. Difficult to read at some points (emotionally) but so worth it.
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Absolutely loved this! Its kind of a These Broken Stars-They Both Die at the End-The Loneliest Girl in the Universe mash-up and I am HERE FOR IT. It was the perfect mix of sci-fi thriller romance and by the end my heart was bursting.
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Review posted on GoodReads (January, 3, 2021) 
Review Linked. 

3.75/5 stars! Rounded up to 4 stars! 

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books for sending me an E-ARC for an honest review. 

I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book! It was such an interesting read. I will do a spoiler review when this book releases, but until then, here are my non-spoilers thoughts! 

I think that my favorite thing about this book was the romance and the plot. This book has so many different twists and turns and I could not stop reading it. There were so many moments where I would shout or jump up in shock and surprise and excitement because of the plot. The best way to describe this book is a LGBTQ+ interpretation of the movie 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY! If you love space missions, science-fiction, AI's and really interesting writing, then I really recommend this book! 

Thanks for reading! 
Caden
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If you're looking for a fun gays in space romp, this book is not the one for you. If you're looking for a twisty mystery in space with gays in love, then this is for you.

Ambrose and Kodiak are gay. And in space. Humanity has done fucked up and the Earth is ruined. These two young men (both are 17ish in the novel) are off to a one of the moons of Saturn to retrieve a previous space cadet. They're also looking to see if humanity will be able to colonize space. Along the way, they realize that not everything is as it seems. These two need to put aside their differences (they're from two different countries) and figure out what's going on.

This was definitely a decent read. The author does a great job of setting up the plot and pacing it nicely. While I was able to call a few of the plot twists along the way (tropes are tropes for a reason), there was one or two that I wasn't expecting and was pleasantly surprised. I did call one of the biggest plot twists about 50 pages in though, so that was mildly disappointing.

While the characters weren't exceptionally well-developed, the author actually has a reason for that that I can (mostly) accept. I love how the fact that these protagonists are gay is not the focus of the novel. There's no huge gay freak out; they're in love and they're fine with that (in fact, they jump to having sex rather quickly. And then have a frank discussion on sex that I'm still not sure how I feel about). I do wish there had been a little more character development/relationship development in the story, but what is presented works well enough.

And I think that's how I feel about the book. There's nothing overwhelmingly great. Everything works well enough, but there's no major wow factor for me.
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Ok, so I'm not a big reader of sci-fi, but ever since reading 'Legendborn,' by Tracy Deonn, a few months back I have been wanting to step out of my book comfort zone and have been finding myself drawn to so many different genres. I saw the cover for Eliot's book 'The Darkness Outside Us' on Twitter and Netgalley and immediately fell in love with it and then after reading the blurb I was intrigued and knew I had to give it a go.

Within a matter of chapters I loved this book and couldn't put it down. It took me just a little minute to get into it in regards to understanding all the space terms and things around the space craft but once I got acquainted with this incredible world and the Coordinated Endeavor, I was hooked. 

I honestly can't say too much about this story because I really don't want to give any spoilers but it is a page turner for sure. I gasped a few times and their were a few moments where I was sad and gripping my Kindle because I had become incredibly attached to the characters. You will have to read it to find out what happens to them, eeek, my lips are sealed. 

I adored the adventure and thought it was absolutely fascinating and so creative. I was just sucked into this world and was right there with the characters in trying to figure the mission out. The characters of Ambrose and Kodiak were so much fun to get to know. I loved their personalities and how they evolved throughout the book and how they had to learn to get a long. Ambrose was more of the confident one and I loved his humour, but we get to see his vulnerable side and caring nature too. Kodiak was more stoic because of his upbringing, but we get to see him too relax his walls and open up as the story moves forward. I just loved the two of them and their bond so much. 

'The Darkness Outside Us' is a captivating read and such a beautiful story about creating your own destiny. It looks at love and how we can build strong and magical relationships if we really work hard at them and choose each other. Furthermore, it made me think about breaking down walls and looking past the ideals that society had created for us all. I think it holds the message of fighting these ideals and living the life that you want to live by creating the world that you want to live in, which was one of my favourite things about this book. 

I think Eliot created a bold, beautiful and interesting world and I'm really happy that Netgalley granted my request as I'm thrilled to have read it! 

This is definitely one to add to your TBR pile if you of course love Sci-Fi, but also if you love adventure, space and romance.
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Ambrose and Kodiak wake up aboard a space ship, the Endeavor, heading to save Ambrose's sister stranded on the moon Titan.  They come from different worlds.  Earth has been divided into the Federation and the Dimokratia, each sending a representative on the mission.  Post-Cold War Earth seems to be left in turmoil but Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together to accomplish their mission.  However, they'll learn to depend on each other as they question the truth of their mission.  With the help of an advanced AI system, appropriately named OS (Operating System), Ambrose and Kodiak ready the ship for arrival.

This book takes readers on an emotional journey flying through space to the outer edges of the universe.  Ambrose narrates the story in first person and there are times it would be nice to hear what Kodiak is thinking.  Both characters are complex and develop more deeply over the course of the novel.  They develop a respect and love for each other that is the foundation of the plot.  As readers, we get to witness the love between Ambrose and Kodiak grow, literally isolated in the vacuum of space.  Their tension and conflict are hard to avoid when they only have the space ship in which to escape.  It would have been nice to get more information about the historical context that shaped the division between the Federation and Dimokratia.  It's a fascinating back-story that could be explored further.  

There are definitely some plot twists and and ending that happened abruptly, but was in alignment with the overall plot structure.  It's hard to talk about it without giving away any spoilers!  If you are a fan of stories about space travel (like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Beth Revis's Across the Universe series), then I highly recommend this novel.  The world is detailed and filled with facts about time, space, and the expanse of the universe.
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