Book Reviews

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

Rating at a Glance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Darkness Outside us by Eliot Schrefer is an intense story of survival, trust, and facing the unknown. It ripped my heart out and then shoved it back into place with enough force to leave me an emotional wreck for a day after. At times humorous, other times bleak, but always heartfelt and human, this is a story of surviving against the odds, and finding love and letting it make you better then you were before.

What It’s About…

Centered around two young men from opposing nations sent on a rescue mission on one of Saturn’s moons, The Darkness Outside Us captures your interest and holds it consistently throughout the whole story. Ambrose Cusk wakes up on board the Coordinated Endeavor with a list of necessary repairs and a shipmate who refuses to interact with him. A free spirited and optimistic young man, Ambrose isn’t about to let his situation get the better of him; he’s been training his whole life to go to space, the opportunity finally arising when he’s tasked with going on a rescue mission to find his sister on one of Saturn’s moons. Determined to make the best with what he has, he makes overtures to his shipmate until the two finally meet and form a tentative alliance. But not everything is as it seems on the Endeavor; with a suspicious AI controlling their vessel, no memory of their launch, and evidence of someone else having been on board, it will take Ambrose and his shipmate, Kodiak, learning to trust one another enough to figure out what is actually happening on board their ship as they hurtle away from earth and all they know.

How I Felt About it…

It is hard to write about this book without spoiling anything about the story… and boy, there’s a lot to spoil. This honestly could have been marketed as an adult book were it not for the unnecessarily young characters. The themes are dark and oppressive, and there were a few times where I was left in tears at the hardships these two are forced to overcome. At times claustrophobic in it’s intensity, I had a hard time putting it down, my need to find out the fates of Kodiak and Ambrose overcoming the anxiety I felt with each page. The story was intelligently written, well paced, and interesting- posing questions about our humanity and how we stay in touch with it when so many of the things that have defined us are suddenly stripped away. I really enjoyed it, even if it hurt, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Schrefer’s work in the future.

You Should Read it if…

You enjoy stories about survival and beating the odds. While not necessarily for the faint of heart, it has a hopeful ending and the relationship that develops between Kodiak and Ambrose is so soft and good in the midst of all the terrible things they have to try and overcome.

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