REVIEW: The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

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 is 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.

Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+ content, Well-written, mystery

The thing about good books is that when I sit down to write a review I can become stumped about what to give away in the review. “The Darkness Outside Us” by Eliot Schrefer is one of those books that I absolutely loved and I’m afraid to give away too much because I don’t want to ruin the plot. This is a book that is best discovered as you read it.

So, Ambrose wakes up on board a spaceship that is hurtling towards his sister. Minerva was sent to be the first settler on Titan and is in trouble. Ambrose has been sent to answer her mayday call. He’s prepared his whole life for a mission just like that… and he’s ready. His sister is the only one of his many siblings that he’s close to. The problem is that when Ambrose first wakes up there are a lot of things that don’t make sense.

First of all, the ship’s operating system has the voice of his mother – a bit disconcerting to say the least. There’s one other person on the Coordinated Endeavour and that is a representative of the Federation. The enemy countries may have had to work together to get the ship off the ground but that doesn’t seem to mean that his shipmate is going to be friendly. In fact, it’s days before Ambrose can even persuade Kodiak to open the door to his half of the ship.

As time passes, the Ship’s operating system gives the two crew members maintenance tasks and things seem to become a bit more strange. It’s almost like someone has been on the ship before the two current crew woke up. Sometimes, the operating system says very strange things… and Ambrose still finds he has no memory of anything that happened past the launch of the Endeavour.

Ambrose is a great character. He’s been genetically engineered to be perfect for his role – right down to having a bit of genetic material from Alexander the Great. He’s outspoken, clever, thoughtful, and emotional… and determined to rescue his sister. In fact, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Minerva and rescue her. On the other hand, Kodiak is the opposite in so many ways. He was raised as an orphan to be independent and focused on nothing but what he was ordered to do. He’s had little opportunity to form bonds with people and it shows when the two shipmates finally meet face to face.

This book is told through Ambrose’s POV and is interspersed with some video/voice records. As far as I’m concerned… it’s brilliant. I would love to see it as a movie!

This is the point at which I’m not going to give away any more detail. I really want to encourage people to read this book knowing as little as possible going in. This book is marketed as though it’s a YA romance but I would say it’s SO much more than that. At its core, this book is about life! What does life really mean to us? How much control do we have over our path? What is worth fighting for? What is worth living for? It may seem as though I’m overstating it a bit, but I’m really not. This book explores life … at its basic level and then all of the complex things in between.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) character is nauseous, character vomits, character has amnesia, character is injured, blood, descriptions of dead bodies, death of partner, character has constant exposure to radiation and the symptoms/illnesses that result from that, death of family member, character has psychotic break on page, electrocution.


Goodreads || Author || Publisher

I received an ARC of The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review.

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