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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Darkness Outside Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    Holy crap was this book mismarketed. Based on the cover and the description, I assumed this was going to be some kind of YA finnpoe/stucky ripoff space romance. I'm not going to talk too much about the plot because it's worth reading with as little upfront info as possible, but believe me when I say the romance is basically the least important aspect of this book. This is a twisty survival drama, a harrowing story about life and death and the meaning of humanity, and it is to its detriment that it Holy crap was this book mismarketed. Based on the cover and the description, I assumed this was going to be some kind of YA finnpoe/stucky ripoff space romance. I'm not going to talk too much about the plot because it's worth reading with as little upfront info as possible, but believe me when I say the romance is basically the least important aspect of this book. This is a twisty survival drama, a harrowing story about life and death and the meaning of humanity, and it is to its detriment that it was sold as YA. I could see this book getting traction among adult sci-fi audiences and I hope it finds those folks, but it has no relationship to YA except for the fact that the protagonists are, for no real reason, 17. We're past the historical moment (aka until like 2015) when all genre fiction had to be YA or face immediate oblivion. I wish Tor.com or literally anyone in the funky-yet-mainstream speculative fiction space had picked this up, because that would have been a better home for it. I was really affected by this book and I've been telling people to read it, but I'm absolutely mystified by the marketing and the choices made around it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Lanz

    The Darkness Outside Us was the most breathtaking sci-fi I’ve read all year. An unexpectedly introspective tale balancing humour and unimaginable grief—pain with great payoff. The protagonists—Ambrose and Kodiak—stole my heart from the get-go with their affable banter; this was an experience beyond words (and one I’d kill to see adapted into a movie!) ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ Minerva Cusk was the first human sent out to colonize Saturn’s moon, Titan. When she sends out a distress signa The Darkness Outside Us was the most breathtaking sci-fi I’ve read all year. An unexpectedly introspective tale balancing humour and unimaginable grief—pain with great payoff. The protagonists—Ambrose and Kodiak—stole my heart from the get-go with their affable banter; this was an experience beyond words (and one I’d kill to see adapted into a movie!) ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ Minerva Cusk was the first human sent out to colonize Saturn’s moon, Titan. When she sends out a distress signal, her brother Ambrose is the astronaut chosen to rescue her. Soon after, Ambrose wakes from a coma on a sentient ship, with no memory of the launch. He thought he was alone on this mission, but AI tells him there is another person onboard—a man by the name of Kodiak, who is strangely opposed to unlocking his half of the ship for company. It soon becomes clear that if either astronaut hopes to survive, they must put their differences aside and work together to uncover the dark secrets behind their mission. ────── {⋆★⋆} ────── Two men from warring countries isolated together in space... that sounded like an incredible premise—one I was beyond eager to read about. Ambrose was the perfect protagonist to narrate this book, with a wonderful sense of humour that cushioned the severity the plot. I loved experiencing his massive heart slowly chipping away at Kodiak’s closed-off demeanor. Their romance sprinkled throughout the story made my heart melt; Ambrose and Kodiak’s circumstances of true loneliness only served to amplify how much they cared for each other. I wanted to give them both a big hug. The Darkness Outside Us is comprised of numerous awe-inducing moments. Testament to the great writing, I could picture almost everything in vivid detail; several action sequences took my breath away due to the characters’ raw emotions, as well as the shocking plot twists. I cried on several occasions because of how much Ambrose and Kodiak went through; their journey will have readers pondering important questions drawn back to our reality. The impact this story had on me is immeasurable! Science fiction has always been my favourite genre (space operas in particular). That being said, there was something about the way Eliot Schrefer established the sense of complete isolation in space that I kept marvelling at. It was so easy to resonate with Ambrose’s feelings of loneliness, fear, and awe while he gazed at the vast nothingness beyond his spacecraft’s windows. There were times I paused in astonishment as I imagined being with the characters, in the centre of endless stars and galaxies. This is (somehow?) marketed as a YA romance. In my opinion, it is not YA, nor is it centrally a romance. I know The Darkness Outside Us would be tremendously well-received in the adult sci-fi community, so I pray it finds the right readers! This is a fairly new book, and one I hope becomes popular. If the synopsis sounds even remotely interesting to you, I implore you to give this a chance; my review doesn’t do it justice, but I’m almost certain you’ll enjoy it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was so good and so much more than it's been marketed as. Sure this has a romance, but it is such an engaging, dangerous, and intriguing story about two boys in space who have to figure out how to survive together. I could not put this book down and I was freaking out with every turn of the page. I didn't know what was going on or how they were going to survive by the end. The romance was adorable and I really loved how it progressed throughout the story. I really can't say much else without This was so good and so much more than it's been marketed as. Sure this has a romance, but it is such an engaging, dangerous, and intriguing story about two boys in space who have to figure out how to survive together. I could not put this book down and I was freaking out with every turn of the page. I didn't know what was going on or how they were going to survive by the end. The romance was adorable and I really loved how it progressed throughout the story. I really can't say much else without spoiling a lot of the book, so I'll just leave it at that. If you're a fan of the Illuminae Files, I would highly recommend picking this up!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ;3

    4.5 there is so much to unpack here,,,it’s truly a crime that this book seems to be marketed as some cutesy space romcom with gays bc nahhhhh this shit was bonkers. it made me paranoid at 3 in the morning. i don’t even think it should be classified as YA. anyway. was not expecting this to be so deeply philosophical and introspective. i don’t even have anything snarky to say. kinda feel empty and strange about existence now lmao

  5. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing other than the fact that this book had ✨gays in space✨ but. oh my goodness. I am so glad that was all I knew because this book was such a thrilling, evocative, and wild ride that had me literally YELLING. I loved this book so much. - Follows Ambrose, who wakes up aboard the Coordinated Endeavour tasked with flying to the moon Titan to rescue his sister - but has no memory of the launch. When he discovers that he's not alone on the ship, the two boy I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing other than the fact that this book had ✨gays in space✨ but. oh my goodness. I am so glad that was all I knew because this book was such a thrilling, evocative, and wild ride that had me literally YELLING. I loved this book so much. - Follows Ambrose, who wakes up aboard the Coordinated Endeavour tasked with flying to the moon Titan to rescue his sister - but has no memory of the launch. When he discovers that he's not alone on the ship, the two boys must work together to survive the journey - and learn that love may be the only way to stay alive. - This book destroyed me. I think I experienced a lifetime of emotions in this book - grief, hope, terror, hopelessness, love... everything. I can't believe this book had me go from absolute cold from terror to crying my eyes out because of [redacted]. - I don't want to spoil this book, but I loved what the story explores: What does it mean to live? What does it mean to love? How do we define our existences? - This book is also queer as heck, but I loved the chemistry between Ambrose and Kodiak. The space gays really did deliver - and more. Content warning: death, graphic depiction of injury, off-text and implied sex

  6. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Rep: pan mc, gay li It’s been a long while since I reviewed a book that wasn’t an ARC, but I had too many thoughts to get out about The Darkness Outside Us to let it be. So here we are. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I’ll put that out there before I start properly reviewing it. Yes, the first 40% or so was a little rocky, but once the end of part one hit, I was fully invested. It’s less a romance (as implied by the blurb. Honestly, publishing needs to get its act together on marketing), and Rep: pan mc, gay li It’s been a long while since I reviewed a book that wasn’t an ARC, but I had too many thoughts to get out about The Darkness Outside Us to let it be. So here we are. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I’ll put that out there before I start properly reviewing it. Yes, the first 40% or so was a little rocky, but once the end of part one hit, I was fully invested. It’s less a romance (as implied by the blurb. Honestly, publishing needs to get its act together on marketing), and more a space thriller, and one of those ones that’ll make you go oh fuck at points. None of that was where my issues lay though. I’m splitting this review into three parts: the worldbuilding, the plot, and the characters/relationship. These are probably going in decreasing importance for how they affected my rating, i.e. the worldbuilding was the big one, and the characters were pretty much negligible in comparison. But all of them contributed to the 3.5 star rating. The worldbuilding. First up is how I felt about the futuristic world that was being built up. I think it’s fair to say this is probably the reason I found the first 40% rocky, since a lot of the worldbuilding was expanded on then. As the book wore on, and the mystery came into play, there was less and less focus on it, probably contributing to my increased enjoyment. That being said. The primary thing you notice about the worldbuilding is the pseudo-Cold War society. On the one hand, you have the Féderation, Ambrose’s society, and on the other, the Dimokratía, where Kodiak comes from. The former is pseudo-USA, a society presented as progressive and forward-thinking, utopian and capitalist. The latter is pseudo-Russia, focused heavily on physical prowess—potential spacefarers go through a lot of physical tasks aimed at weeding out the weak (unlike the Féderation, who assess through exams)—and framed as backwards and bigoted, misogynistic because men are the only spacefarers and old-fashioned for using labels to describe sexuality (I mention this specifically because I’ll bring it up again later). And it’s not like these countries aren’t meant to be specifically associated with their real world counterparts. There’s a brief attempt at confronting imperialist USA—a comment about how the Féderation’s war crimes in the Philippines aren’t “cold war bullshit”—but it’s immediately countered by “but the Dimokratía have also committed war crimes”. And that’s it. Never mentioned again. I thought at the start, that perhaps the main character’s naivete (and judgement) was merely a product of having been brought up in the Féderation, that it would later get confronted and torn apart. But it never did. Instead, all this worldbuilding faded into the background as the mystery took precedence. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the wrong way to go, of course. The story is about the mystery, about two individuals who hate each other, isolated in space and forced to work together. I get that. But why would you introduce that worldbuilding if you’re not going to confront it at all? Because throughout it all—and even despite the reveals—the Féderation are good, the Dimokratía are bad. It was, on the whole, unnuanced in that respect. I think this is well-illustrated when the topic of labels for sexuality is brought up. Firstly, I have no real issue with futuristic books simply choosing not to use labels—I think linguistically it makes little sense, but I’ll shrug that off because there are plenty of contemporary ones which do the same. What I disliked here was the framing of their continued use as “backwards”, equated with a society that was still misogynistic and homophobic (although Kodiak never gives Ambrose reason to believe he is homophobic, so the number of times Ambrose accused him of homophobia, even while Kodiak was talking about relationships with men? A little weird, but I digress). I think this is mostly because, to me reading in 2021, we still live in a society where claiming those labels is an act of pride and/or resistance. So the sneery tone this book took, about those who continued to use them (albeit a long way in the future), didn’t sit right. The plot. Regarding the plot, this will be pretty brief, but let me start with the positives. The mystery was very well done. From the end of the first part onwards, the tension was high, the plot twists mostly caught you off guard (I did partly guess one, but I think that was more me spitballing, not because it was blindingly obvious), and I got very involved in reading it to find out what would happen next. And that kept me engaged until the end, despite the slight petering out of tension once it was clear what was going on (although given the plot that could hardly be helped). I would say though, because of the need to repeat parts like it did (I’m trying to describe this in a non-spoilery way), it seemed to move along in a way that affected the character and relationship development. It’s almost like it needed to cut part one down, and have a few more parts where they don’t yet know what’s going on, just to build more suspense. And to delay the relationship forming. And this also brings me to point three. The characters/relationship. As I said, this is probably a consequence of the way the plot was structured. Because the first part at least had to span a fair while to set everything up, the relationship development seemed to happen quite abruptly. I think this is probably because of the fact there were so many small timeskips, but they weren’t done in a way that was necessarily obvious. So it went from something like Kodiak refusing to eat meals with Ambrose, to suddenly he’s eating them and having conversations. Tie into that the fact there were a few times where the narrative said something like, Kodiak doesn’t talk much, or Kodiak is standoffish, and then the next thing Kodiak does is entirely contradictory? Again though, I do think this was just a product of the plot pacing. And as I said at the start, I’m going through points in an order where they progressively less impacted my rating, so this one, right down here, is pretty low. Overall, though, as I said up top, I did enjoy this book. It had a slow start, yes, but once I got into it I was properly engaged by it. I do think, however, like many others on here, that this could have stood to be not a YA book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    this cover and sentient spaceships? my poor wallet Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram this cover and sentient spaceships? my poor wallet Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  8. 5 out of 5

    rania | rania’s rambling reads

    I can’t say a lot about this book except that it went in a direction I was least expecting. When you first read the synopsis you think “oh this is going to be a wholesome and emotional sci-fi contemporary read” it’s not. Yes, it’s emotional and completely heartbreaking but it’s more sci-fi than romance which honestly I’m not mad about. This book will be confusing. You’ll want to DNF it in the first few pages because you won’t understand anything. And then when you reach halfway you’re going to b I can’t say a lot about this book except that it went in a direction I was least expecting. When you first read the synopsis you think “oh this is going to be a wholesome and emotional sci-fi contemporary read” it’s not. Yes, it’s emotional and completely heartbreaking but it’s more sci-fi than romance which honestly I’m not mad about. This book will be confusing. You’ll want to DNF it in the first few pages because you won’t understand anything. And then when you reach halfway you’re going to be even more confused. But the moment it all starts to make sense and line up in your head, is when you truly understand the message this book is trying to give out. It would have been a five star read if not for the wonky pacing. It’s all over the place and the writing style changes in a few places which took me a while to get used to but I eventually ended up enjoying it a lot. I want to say so much more but I want to avoid spoilers although if you’ve read it you can always message me if you want to talk about it. The characters were another thing I really loved about this book. AIs were portrayed quite differently in this book than usual and I really liked that. The plot twists were just so unexpected and in a way it reminded me so much of The Ones We’re Meant to Find even though it’s completely different. I know that made no sense but if you liked that book, you’ll have a really great time with this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    dezzy

    4.5 stars. OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK WAS SO (unexpectedly) INTENSE !!!!!! highkey sent me into multiple existential crises,, i can never look at outer space the same way again 🥲 even though i predicted one of the major plot points lmaoooo (wow maybe i actually have some brain cells after all 😌), i was still absolutely MINDBLOWN and reeling in shock for most of the book 😭😭like wtf there were actually some pretty messed up things that happened here and i'm just. SLDKFJDSLKJF oh my goodness aahhhhhhh :')) 4.5 stars. OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK WAS SO (unexpectedly) INTENSE !!!!!! highkey sent me into multiple existential crises,, i can never look at outer space the same way again 🥲 even though i predicted one of the major plot points lmaoooo (wow maybe i actually have some brain cells after all 😌), i was still absolutely MINDBLOWN and reeling in shock for most of the book 😭😭like wtf there were actually some pretty messed up things that happened here and i'm just. SLDKFJDSLKJF oh my goodness aahhhhhhh :')) and can i just say, i loved Ambrose as a main character and narrator of this book, he deserves the world (literally) i can't even say much about this book without spoiling it because. damn. the synopsis really doesn't even begin to cover what The Darkness Outside Us is about 😳 (honestly, i feel like it was mismarketed - it's really not as lighthearted as the synopsis makes it seem.....) this book is compared to They Both Die at the End and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and although i haven't read TBDATE, i'd say that's a pretty accurate comparison. but lmaooooo between this book and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (which i have read).......damn. i am actually COMPLETELY terrified of outer space now 😩 not that i was planning on ever going there but slkdjfsd i'd probably categorize this book as a sci-fi thriller because it felt so eerie and creepy and suspenseful, and definitely went to some pretty dark places 🥲 also this is labeled as YA, but for most of the book, i genuinely thought this was adult bc the characters did not act like teenagers :') [edit: after reading some reviews of this book, i can see that a lot of people agree that this book should be labeled as adult sci-fi!] overall, this book was out of this world.......ok ok i'll stop. i could NOT put this book down bc i simply had to know what was gonna happen next - this was such an addicting read!! yay for a sci-fi book that didn't make me feel stupid bc i actually understood what was going on and had fun in the process hehe 🤩

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    Wordpress Blog | Twitter When I started this book, I thought that I was going to end of DNFing it. I do have a problem with anticipated books in that they end up disappointing me, and Ambrose was such a Holden Caulfield I found him difficult to cope with. BUT. This story is worth sticking with, because after 30% it really picks up and delivered one of the most incredible, hopeful and beautiful endings I have ever read. Ambrose and Kodiak are a great couple, they challenge each other and each other Wordpress Blog | Twitter When I started this book, I thought that I was going to end of DNFing it. I do have a problem with anticipated books in that they end up disappointing me, and Ambrose was such a Holden Caulfield I found him difficult to cope with. BUT. This story is worth sticking with, because after 30% it really picks up and delivered one of the most incredible, hopeful and beautiful endings I have ever read. Ambrose and Kodiak are a great couple, they challenge each other and each other's beliefs, while trying to learn from each other and simply trying to survive on a batsht crazy spaceship with an AI that sounds like Ambrose's mother, hurtling through space in search of Ambrose's sister. I enjoyed following them as they found ways to hide from the Ship, discovering what it's hiding. This story is brutal, bloody and utterly bonkers. I have a huge love of the "someone ends up in space and mysterious stuff is happening" trope and this truly delivers, it had me guessing every possible outcome including that maybe they simply never left Earth and the truth was stranger than I ever could have imagined, putting our characters in mortal peril time and time again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joyfully Jay

    A Joyfully Jay review. 5 stars Eliot Schrefer offers a stunning tale set far into the future and featuring two young adults struggling to make sense of their mission as described by the OS guiding their ship. Instead of chapters, the book is separated into six parts of unequal length. The first half of the book details how Ambrose wakes on the ship soon after launch and how gradually he builds bridges with Kodiak, the “only game in town.” As the story develops, the reader follows along as Ambrose A Joyfully Jay review. 5 stars Eliot Schrefer offers a stunning tale set far into the future and featuring two young adults struggling to make sense of their mission as described by the OS guiding their ship. Instead of chapters, the book is separated into six parts of unequal length. The first half of the book details how Ambrose wakes on the ship soon after launch and how gradually he builds bridges with Kodiak, the “only game in town.” As the story develops, the reader follows along as Ambrose and Kodiak uncover one mystery after another: whose blood is inside the engine room? Where are the external radio signals coming from? Why can the OS predict solar flares that knock out communication with mission control, but not life-threatening levels of radiation? The real mystery of the mission Ambrose and Kodiak have been sent on gets delightfully set up in the first part. Read Elizabeth’s review in its entirety here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Eliot Schrefer's The Darkness Outside Us is truly an exceptional novel. It defies genre in the best of ways. It is a space adventure, a love story, and an exploration of human identity. It is a meditation on death and on the meaning death lends to life. It is transcendent. From the story of two boys in space, Mr Schrefer's novel grows to encompass much of the great expanse of human experience. It is both epic and intimate; audaciously speculative and achingly familiar. The Darkness Outside Us re Eliot Schrefer's The Darkness Outside Us is truly an exceptional novel. It defies genre in the best of ways. It is a space adventure, a love story, and an exploration of human identity. It is a meditation on death and on the meaning death lends to life. It is transcendent. From the story of two boys in space, Mr Schrefer's novel grows to encompass much of the great expanse of human experience. It is both epic and intimate; audaciously speculative and achingly familiar. The Darkness Outside Us reaches out to the depths of space and the future of humanity, all the while illuminating the smallest, secret spaces of the human heart.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    What did I just read?!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    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 adv 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... **This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley**

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    From PW: "Two teen boys from warring countries embark on a rescue mission to save a stranded astronaut. As evidence accumulates that the ship itself might be an enemy, they race against time to uncover the truth of their existence—and learn that their love for each other might be the only way they'll survive." From PW: "Two teen boys from warring countries embark on a rescue mission to save a stranded astronaut. As evidence accumulates that the ship itself might be an enemy, they race against time to uncover the truth of their existence—and learn that their love for each other might be the only way they'll survive."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I read 'The Darkness Outside Us' because one of my best friends recommended it so Tiff and I are doing a quick readalong over on our group. (Feel free to join us and our Discord server!! Link in group) I DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO BECOME MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2021! 'The Darkness Outside Us' is on the surface a YA space love story. But underneath, it's a harrowing story of survival; not just physically but mentally too. I loved that this delved into the mental side of surviving a long ass time alone in spac I read 'The Darkness Outside Us' because one of my best friends recommended it so Tiff and I are doing a quick readalong over on our group. (Feel free to join us and our Discord server!! Link in group) I DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO BECOME MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2021! 'The Darkness Outside Us' is on the surface a YA space love story. But underneath, it's a harrowing story of survival; not just physically but mentally too. I loved that this delved into the mental side of surviving a long ass time alone in space. It's usually glossed over or there's more people to help stimulate conversation. I loved that it tackled difficult topics head-on and didn't shy away from being gritty. Also, can we take a moment for our beautiful boys? I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I thought that Ambrose was the perfect narrator of the two. He's fun, flirty, but can be serious when he needs to be. Ambrose is shown to be an unreliable narrator several times, in several ways. And that makes it so much more fun. Kodiak is the lesser known of the two, obviously as it's Ambrose's POV, but he also distances himself from Ambrose in multiple ways at multiple times. He's closed off, but cute and cuddly when you get to know him. Ambrose and Kodiak have been compared to Lance and Keith (from Voltron Legendary Defender) respectively and I can't say I agree or disagree. I think they share many qualities with their counterparts, but I can't say that they were exactly like them. I think Keith was even more stubborn and closed off (if possible) and more emo than Kodiak, and Lance is much more outgoing and annoying (sorry Lance) than Ambrose. There were a few moments where it felt very Klance but I liked this as a separate entity from VLD. As for plot, HOLY SHIT IT WAS SO GOOD. It was perfectly twisty and shocking and expertly paced. It was absolute perfection. I can't describe much without giving too much away BUT IF YOU'RE LIKE ME AND LIKE TO READ AHEAD, DO. NOT. DO. IT. It's so much better to go into it blind and learn along with the boys their fate. Overall, if you LOVED the Illuminae files and want a similar feeling, this is perfect for you. If you loved Project Hail Mary but wanted it to be a bit less math and science-y, this is perfect for you. If you loved To Sleep in a Sea of Stars but wanted less pages, this is perfect for you. If you love mysteries and want to try sci-fi, this is perfect for you. I cannot recommend this enough. So. Good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    kauany

    WHAT A RIDE REALLY I really started this book because gay in space? yes, but it's MUCH MORE. I would spoil the whole experience by talking about any factor in this book, you better read totally blind about it. i really don't think it's for everyone but if you like sci-fi and suffer you will probably love WHAT A RIDE REALLY I really started this book because gay in space? yes, but it's MUCH MORE. I would spoil the whole experience by talking about any factor in this book, you better read totally blind about it. i really don't think it's for everyone but if you like sci-fi and suffer you will probably love

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dumbledore11214

    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. 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. Review: I am very happy that I have read this book, I like the books that make me think, but I don't know if I will reread it . I have to say that I either get the book by the unknown to me author because I loved the blurb or because something in the reviews grabbed me or a book friend recommended it. This one came up on the discussion list where I hang out and I did read couple of reviews. I strongly disagree that this book is mislabeled as romance. To me romance here is a very integral part of the plot. It is of course very much a SF book as well, with developed, interesting settings, but I judge whether the romance is an integral part of the plot by trying to imagine whether the story will hold or fall apart without romance storyline . And to me it will fall apart. I suppose it will hold if the protagonists remain very , *very* close friends, but their connection, their love for each other has to be there IMO, or a lot of things just simply won't happen. Funnily enough, to me the romance is the least believable part of the plot too. I mean, there are two of them . In space. Unless they would really hate each other IMO they are bound to end up together just because they would feel too lonely otherwise. I guess I just did not see them having a real choice here ( no, nobody is forced to do anything here), I just meant that they did not have a choice in really picking the partner for themselves. I really liked both boys , don't get me wrong, I am just not sure that in the normal circumstances they would have gotten that close. Now, the best part of the plot for me was trying to figure out what was going on and it had been awhile since the book really made me wracking my brain . Don't get me wrong, you see that *something is up* almost right away, but what exactly is up took me a whole while to figure out and actually I don't think I did till the book revealed it to me. And I cannot talk about this at all, AT ALL! It is very spoilerish, any reveal of anything in SF storyline. What can I talk about ? I really loved how the author played with the pacing here. Every next chapter of the book ( six of them) is decreasing in length - first one was 175 pages on my kindle, then - 94 ( or was it 96), then 6 pages and it was all very deliberate. I don't think precise pages numbers were deliberate, but chapters shortening in length gives you the impression that the book speeds up faster, faster , then it comes to a screeching halt. And a bit overdone soap opera conclusion. It definitely has a happy ending for a romantic storyline, but despite me going on and on about romance being very important I won't call it Romance with the capital R. At several points during the story I really wondered just how the believable happy ending could be achieved - even when it was perfectly clear what exactly author had in mind, at some points the book became just depressing . But there was one. I certainly preferred that than no happy ending, but I am not sure if I was too impressed with it . You will have to decide for yourself .

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pavlina Read more sleep less blog

    Omg so excited about it!!      Omg so excited about it!!     

  20. 4 out of 5

    akacya ♡̷̷ˎˊ

    Ambrose and Kodiak are stuck together in a spaceship. They have been sent on a mission to save Ambrose’s sister, which is fine…until things on the ship start to not add up, and they quickly grow suspicious. Okay, I know I don’t read sci-fis that often, but I can say with confidence this is one of the best ones out there. I’m not a tech person, but I appreciated the amount of thought put into this novel in that department, and how it was explained well enough that I was never confused about anythi Ambrose and Kodiak are stuck together in a spaceship. They have been sent on a mission to save Ambrose’s sister, which is fine…until things on the ship start to not add up, and they quickly grow suspicious. Okay, I know I don’t read sci-fis that often, but I can say with confidence this is one of the best ones out there. I’m not a tech person, but I appreciated the amount of thought put into this novel in that department, and how it was explained well enough that I was never confused about anything in that regard. Also, the romance between Ambrose and Kodiak was so good! I recommend this to any sci-fi lover.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    'And they were spacefarers! Oh my god they were spacefarers...' This book left me feeling like someone opened the airlock in my chest and sent my heart careening into the void of space, freezing and boiling and macerating it all at the same time. The Darkness Outside Us follows Ambrose and Kodiak, two young men from rival countries on Earth, on a mission through the solar system to rescue Ambrose's sister who sent a distress signal after being the first human to settle on Saturn's moon Titan. It 'And they were spacefarers! Oh my god they were spacefarers...' This book left me feeling like someone opened the airlock in my chest and sent my heart careening into the void of space, freezing and boiling and macerating it all at the same time. The Darkness Outside Us follows Ambrose and Kodiak, two young men from rival countries on Earth, on a mission through the solar system to rescue Ambrose's sister who sent a distress signal after being the first human to settle on Saturn's moon Titan. It swiftly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems, though, in this sci-fi/horror/romance/locked room mystery. The more the plot thickened (and boy does it get thick) the more my mind was whirring as it tried to figure out just what was happening. I never stopped thinking or theorising, even when I put the book down. I was trying to decipher what was going on and predict what might happen next when I was washing dishes or vacuuming. Before I finished reading it, I knew it would become one of those books I wished I could forget so I could read it over again, fresh and new, but I also know it's one I'll enjoy immensely when I pick it up again, noticing all the little details I missed before. The Darkness Outside Us also comments poignantly on the deepest of human needs, whether they be for love or intimacy, or darker parts of the psyche like the desire to leave a legacy after death, or the desperation to do whatever it takes to ensure our species survives. Well after I'd finished it, this book stuck with me. I had about nine (9) existential crises because of this. It serves as a potent reminder that we really are just a rock floating through space. So why shouldn't we treat each other with kindness and choose to love whenever possible? (Tl;dr space boys that are enemies to work partners to lovers to enemies to work partners to lovers to enemies to work partners to—) 4.5 stars, absolutely want everyone to read this! Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC (my first one ever!) in exchange for this review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    5 stars I love it when a book surprises me! This one actually seemed to consume me when I was reading it, especially starting at about the halfway mark. I highly recommend this if you like sci-fi, especially sci-fi with an m/m love story mixed in.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Lately, I’m not enjoying YA books as much as I used to, but I will never say no to queer sci-fi YA.

  24. 4 out of 5

    BookChampions

    Attention Nebula and Hugo Award nominators! This new YA novel from Eliot Schrefer definity deserves some acknowledgement for its scifi goodness. I've been reading Nebula award winning stories here-and-there lately, and I feel confident that *The Darkness Outside Us* belongs among them. It is probably one of my favourite reads of 2021 because of the blend of its deep space atmosphere and a gripping plot with fantastic plot surprises. I do love the cover---and it makes me wonder just how cool an an Attention Nebula and Hugo Award nominators! This new YA novel from Eliot Schrefer definity deserves some acknowledgement for its scifi goodness. I've been reading Nebula award winning stories here-and-there lately, and I feel confident that *The Darkness Outside Us* belongs among them. It is probably one of my favourite reads of 2021 because of the blend of its deep space atmosphere and a gripping plot with fantastic plot surprises. I do love the cover---and it makes me wonder just how cool an animated version of this novel in that style would be---but it seems that some reviewers believe it overemphasizes the romance element and that's only one small facet of what's going on here. For one, the well-crafted ambience does justice to the greatest of space stories but in a YA package---and although not a horror novel, for stretches of it I couldn't help but think of the isolation of Ridley Scott's *Alien*, one of my all-time fave films. The novel is still at turns terrifying and unsettling, as its two characters face disappointment, rally around hope, and wrestle with shock and awe. The denouement is satisfying and expansive, as great sci-fi always is. I am newer to sci-fi than many other genres, but it is one I'm gaining real enthusiasm for. I believe *The Darkness Outside Us*---seriously a great title---will especially please genre fans with questions about what is reality? and what is humanity? That said, the book also feels authentic in the budding attraction and romance. Schrefer introduces two male characters from future human societies in which gender and sexuality has evolved in different ways. I wanted to know more about how they came to be and why he chose *these* two characters in particular, especially Kodiak, to be his heroes and love interests. I would definitely be interested in reading a prequel novel or novella if the author ever felt compelled to go there! *The Darkness Outside Us* is very likely the most fun I had reading this year. It hit my sweet spot of queer characters, well-done genre elements (a couple that took my breath away), lovely writing, and an expansive world tinged with mystery and thrills. Oh, and of course, at the heart of it all, love.

  25. 4 out of 5

    DK

    *I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review* The Darkness Outside Us is my favorite young adult book of 2021, so far, and now one of my all time faves! It made me sob at 3 in the morning, gave me tender feels, and left me absolutely blown away. The book hangover today is intense. This is a mind-bending sci-fi story about two teen boys foisted together on a high-stakes rescue mission and it delivers heart-pounding action, heartbreaking feels, and an underlying mystery that w *I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review* The Darkness Outside Us is my favorite young adult book of 2021, so far, and now one of my all time faves! It made me sob at 3 in the morning, gave me tender feels, and left me absolutely blown away. The book hangover today is intense. This is a mind-bending sci-fi story about two teen boys foisted together on a high-stakes rescue mission and it delivers heart-pounding action, heartbreaking feels, and an underlying mystery that will blow your mind. I'm not a STEM person but I love sci-fi and was able to follow along with the story despite not really understanding the science. The relationship between Ambrose and Kodiak, the two spacefarers from enemy countries, is at the heart of the story. I loved that they don't have an instant connection and that they have to work to overcome their differences (both personality-wise and ideologically). Ambrose was genetically engineered to be the best of the best (literally: his male genetic donor is Alexander the Great) and has lived a life of wealth and privilege; Kodiak grew up an orphan and was subjected to brutal training with very little nurturing. They struggle to communicate, work together, and trust, but when they do they form an intense and unshakeable bond. As for the plot, it's one of the best I've read and I can't say more because of spoilers but trust me, it's incredible! The Darkness Outside Us, while steeped in sci-fi conventions, is ultimately a story about human nature and relationships, and it's rich and powerful. I can't wait to read it again!

  26. 5 out of 5

    John

    4 1/2 stars. This was so much better than what I was expecting and truly a Sci-fi story persons of any age could enjoy. The cover really threw me off. I don’t want to talk about plot because it would easily be spoiled.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grüffeline

    4.5 🌟 This was amazing! Rtc

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    This book is in my bookshelf waiting for me to read it 😔

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ris Sasaki

    I feel betrayed. Every single person that I follow on Goodreads said that this book was AMAZING. The epitome of YA scifi. Which is kinda true, even if the story started to be a little repetitive (and I can understand the reason behind that), it was a solid book. BUT NOBODY TOLD IN THOSE REVIEWS HOW FUCKING DEPRESSING THIS BOOK WAS. This book deals with loneliness, betrayal, being stuck in fucking space with nowhere to go, found family and so much more. But unfortunately the hype and all the 5 st I feel betrayed. Every single person that I follow on Goodreads said that this book was AMAZING. The epitome of YA scifi. Which is kinda true, even if the story started to be a little repetitive (and I can understand the reason behind that), it was a solid book. BUT NOBODY TOLD IN THOSE REVIEWS HOW FUCKING DEPRESSING THIS BOOK WAS. This book deals with loneliness, betrayal, being stuck in fucking space with nowhere to go, found family and so much more. But unfortunately the hype and all the 5 stars deceived me once again and I just felt really fucking depressed and slightly underwhelmed. And that ending.... those last pages were cringy. I'm sorry but I felt like I was watching a soap opera finale. It was an okay book and if you like scifi definitely give it a shot because there's a huge possibility that you're going to like it way more than I did. I just hated how this book made me feel (shitty af) and that hinged my enjoyment and likeness that I felt towards this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa | melisthereader

    Honestly, I didn't think this book would make me cry. On multiple occasions. I love it and both hate it. *still crying* Honestly, I didn't think this book would make me cry. On multiple occasions. I love it and both hate it. *still crying*

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