Dark Space by Lisa Henry ~ Review by Optimist ♰King’s Wench♰

Dark space. What is it? Is it the unending nothingness of space? Is it the enormous Faceless ship that dwarfs the Earth’s defender outpost and blocks out allstarlight? Or is it that dark space that resides within all of us where all negative emotions lie in wait until the time is right to pounce and render us defenseless? Oops, I drifted off into existential land. My bad.
16174363Title:  Dark Space
Author:  Lisa Henry
Publisher:  Loose ID
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
From the Publisher
Brady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.
My View
Dark Space is a dystopian tale. Earth has been mostly destroyed by the Faceless. Still thinking this is a Facebook dig. Think about it. The Faceless:  millions or billions who wear masks and are led by a certain Kai-Ren who thinks humans are “lower than pond scum”. Remind you of anyone?
I am just saying.
Anyhoo, Earth has developed a defense system by setting up “Defender” ships in space and has reverted to conscription which lasts a minimum of 10 years. Brady Garrett was conscripted from Fourteen Beta (colony) at the age of 16. He grew up destitute with his little sister, Lucy, and his father, having lost his mother at a young age. He has a huge chip on his shoulders, has a bad attitude and leans toward pessimism. He’s mistrustful of many people and for the most part has an aversion for authority figures. Dark Space is told exclusively from Brady’s perspective and, if you haven’t figured it out already, Brady Garrett is a bit of a hot mess. He has no sense of self-preservation, he relies heavily on instinct,  he’s street wise, he speaks his mind often to his own detriment, he apparently has an expressive face which precludes him from ever telling a lie and getting away with it, but he’s loyal and he’s awfully sweet when you least expect it. In short, I liked him. I liked him a lot. He’s also “not gay” or so he keeps telling himself.

You’re not gay, my brain reminded me, but it wasn’t an objection, exactly. It was more of a question I couldn’t properly finish: Not gay, so why does he make me hard? Not gay, so why do I want him? Not gay, so why can’t I take my eyes off him?

Not gay, but I don’t care.

Cameron Rushton was taken by the Faceless four years ago and the propaganda machine has cast him as a war hero. I’ll say this, for a supposed “war hero” he isn’t treated very well by his country when he’s returned in a Matrix like Faceless pod of amniotic goo. Through a series of unfortunate, or fortunate however you look at them, events Brady and Cameron are quarantined together and begin to form an unusual connection.

This connection was my favorite part of Dark Space. Cam literally needs Brady. If they’re apart for too long Cam has a tendency to flatline which is interesting in and of itself, but then the added telepathic link sent it into the stratosphere. How weird would it be to be inside someone else’s head 24/7? To share dreams, nightmares, feelings, even basic autonomic functions like heart rate and respiration? So the question then becomes am I really feeling this or is the other person feeling it and I’m just feeling his feelings?
IKR?!?!? Freaky!
In addition to all that mind-bendingness there is a healthy dose of urgency. A sense of doom, if you will. Y’see Cam is a Lieutenant and a pilot while Brady is a lowly recruit studying to become a medic, so if the Faceless don’t destroy them all then the non-fraterization rules will separate them. Tendrils of distrust pervade their relationship in that Brady believes Cam may be a traitor. He’s definitely hiding something, but the question is how deadly is the secret?

Our gazes locked. We didn’t need words. Didn’t need telepathy either. The truth was right there in our faces. Could have been something, except it would be over before we knew it. It already hurt.

I’ll admit Dark Space has been consistently in my GR feed for the past several months and I’ve read most of the reviews-both good and not so good-and been firmly on the fence as to whether or not I would enjoy it. I’m happy to say I did. The imagery Ms. Henry evokes with the Faceless is excellent; decent world building. I loved the character development of Brady and, obviously, the relationship progression between Cam and Brady. I have to offer a personal thanks to Ms. Henry for “the game/20 minutes” scene. Meow. More of that if there’s ever a sequel, please. There is a little angst which I’m always down for though I did feel like it dragged in spots, not to the point of going on and on and on without driving the plot forward though.

“You’re my heartbeat, Brady.”


I’d highly recommend Dark Space to burgeoning science nerds like me.
Where to Buy
A copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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14 thoughts on “Dark Space by Lisa Henry ~ Review by Optimist ♰King’s Wench♰

  1. Fantastically fun review! I think this one has allowed a lot of people to try sci-fi and enjoy it, too.
    I love, love, love this book and Brady has my heart LOL. 🙂

  2. Great review. You really can’t go wrong with any Lisa Henry book. She’s a fantastic author – I don’t normally read much sci-fi but I loved this one.

    • Thanks Lisa! I have gone wrong with Lisa once before though but the last two have been really good. I’m glad I didn’t write her off after one bad one. 🙂

  3. Interesting allusion about the Faceless and Facebook; definitely a reason why I’ve resisted joining Facebook. Sounds like a good, dark and complex story.

    • Ooooo The Island was gooooooodddd. It gutted me though but I still loved it. Hope you like this one too.

  4. The Island made me so squeamish but it was so good. It put me through an emotional wringer so I’ve been wary about what to read from Lisa. But I love sci-fi and it’ll be fun to see what kind of story the author spins.

    • The Island was heavy on torture & this isn’t that heart-wrenching where you feel like you can’t go on. There are definitely some parts that are difficult but for the most part they happen off the page. It’s worth a read. If you hate it, you can come back & give me the finger. 😛

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