Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review: Darker Space (Dark Space #2) by Lisa Henry

Darker Space (Dark Space, #2)
From the blurb: 

Brady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, and he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.

Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.

But from out in the black, Kai-Ren is still watching and everything Brady and Cam think they’ve won, they stand to lose all over again.

Rosa's rating:


**Contains spoilers from the first book Dark Space**

I just finished Darker Space and I want to tell EVERYONE that I am so freakin' happy with that ending. That's the ending I was looking for in the last book. I think. That's my biggest regret about this book, I really wish I'd reread Dark Space before starting this one. I love that book, it really made an impression, but I still have trouble remembering the details. And that bugs the SHIT out of me.

But moving on. I was a little worried I wasn't going to like the book in the beginning. Brady is a bad place emotionally. I'm in a bad place emotionally. That's not always a great mix. But in this case I feel like it just increased my understanding of him and what he's going through.

Brady grew up poor and hungry and abused. He had a shit life. To quote Brady himself, he "had been raised with nothing but fear and anger and no hope for anything different...." He loved his father and his little sister. He loves intensely and hates intensely. Life has taught him to fight and scrap for anything he cares about.
"Always fought," I whispered. "Always kept kicking even when I was down."
The problem is he doesn't know how or when to stop fighting. At the beginning of the book he's having problems settling into a more peaceful life. He's scared shitless his boyfriend, Cam, and his sister, Lucy, will be taken from him or leave or disappear if they’re not right in front of him. He's scared shitless of everything he knows can go wrong.

On one hand I totally identified with Brady, I empathized, but I also wanted to shake him--just a leetle--and tell him to...I don't know, be positive? Rise above? Take a chance on happiness? Yada yada yada? Okay, if I'd said that to him I'm 99.9999% sure I would've gotten Brady's favorite body part (his middle finger) in response. And I really wouldn't blame him at all. What are simple words found in a million self-help books (do they have those in the future?) in the face of his experience?

It also doesn't help Brady that the military was constantly pulling him and Cam aside and questioning them and testing them about The Faceless. It was just another reminder of everything that did go wrong and could go wrong in the future.

And that's the thing about people like Brady, "pessimists" (just to use a really simplistic term) -- they're not wrong. They may emotionally exhaust themselves and everyone around them but they are actually, really right a lot of the time.

And Brady is right to fear the return of The Faceless. Whether they’re exactly what he fears or not, their reappearance will bring danger to those he loves most. SHIT GOES DOWN PEOPLE. But, you know, spoilers.

The thing is...The Faceless. Again, I can't remember if this was a main theme in the first book (probably), but The Faceless and "the black" of endless space that Brady so fears -- for me those things represent the fear of the unknown. The fears we all have of every shit thing that could ever happen to us. Our loved ones dying. Getting fired or let go from a job and not being able to support ourselves or our family. People leaving. Wars. Our own death. From the tiniest to the biggest worry--all the shit we can't control, can't predict and don't even have a name for.

Brady has attempted to fight that shit his whole life. Sometimes he gets somewhere and sometimes he's just punching at walls (literally). The point of this book is getting Brady to say fuck that shit, fuck the unknown. Also to recognize that the unknown is sometimes a lot less scary than the known. It's the humans--and Brady himself much of the time--who really attempt to fuck Brady over in this book. And in the last one, now that I'm thinking about it. Like the Pogo comic strip said, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Okay, definitely rambling here -- I don't know if any of that makes any sense. Or if it sounds like a middle school paper on the Myth of Sisyphus with a lot more swearing. What I learned from Lisa Henry's Darker Space by Rosa, really.

Whatever, fuck it. On the hand we have Brady's boyfriend, Cam. I love Cam--I love him for loving Brady. I think Cam came back from 4 years of living with the unemotional Faceless and was immediately trapped with this punk ass kid, Brady, who feels everything so intensely. I think he loves that in Brady, his fighting spirit.

He's a little too perfect though. In this book and the last I kept waiting for him to freak out -- it would only be normal, right? But maybe he doesn't have to because Brady freaks out enough for 3 people. He's also the flip side of Brady: while Brady rages against the unfairness of it all, Cam has faith things will work out. It's not that he's naively optimistic; it's that he acknowledges that they might all be fucked but they might as well face it calmly.
In the boiling maelstrom of the universe, he was my calm.
He and Brady are the perfect matched set, though I sometimes wonder how their relationship would work in our reality.

Luckily, it's a book so I don't have to worry about that.

Again, I am just so happy with this book. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a full five stars is the beginning. But it's definitely one of my favorites of 2015.

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Thanks for reading my review!

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