Rameau’s Review Archive: Dark Space by Lisa Henry

Originally posted on Goodreads February 1st 2013.

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.

Dark SpaceDark Space by Lisa Henry

This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.

Are you interested in reading an M/M, scifi, military, mind connection, mostly character study book with creepy angels aliens?

That’s how I recommended this book in a tweet the day after I finished reading it. I threw after a warning about sibilant hisses galore but forgot to mention the rape triggers. I also might have persuaded someone by saying “you’ll like the ending” vaguely implying I was less than satisfied. And I was, but it didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying everything else.

Dark Space is set in an unknown future where humans fight a terrifying alien race called the Faceless. There are space stations that orbit the Sun (presumably) at the edges of our solar system and keep watch. These stations are manned—quite literally—only by human men because women are too precious to be put in danger like that. This was the world building detail that most annoyed me, but if the alternative was reading about poorly constructed female characters I’d suspend my disbelief for a short book any day.

Some of the world building details I liked were every single thing that made Brady Garrett the nineteen-year-old conscripted recruit three years into his ten year military service—fifteen should he choose to become an officer—trying to keep his head down, and out of trouble while helping out at the medical bay. I loved the idea of stark class differences, refugee camps, factories, and all the problems that were only implied instead of infodumped on the reader. That includes the alien race, which—as creepy as they were—was nothing compared to the Weeping Angels.

Cameron Rushton is an officer—three or seven years older than Brady depending on how you look at it—and a prisoner of war who has just been returned to home. Or as close to it as Defender Three, Brady’s space station, is. The doctors make a mistake and Brady becomes a temporary human pacemaker to the man who no one trusts. They’re locked together in a room and have to spend prolonged periods of time together adapting to this new situation. Their connection forces them to learn much about themselves and about each other.

Because it’s an M/M novel, sex is a big part of that learning process. And because I liked it, you can expect to read about dark themes, and horrible things being done to the characters.

The pacing is pretty much perfect. Whenever I started to think “that’s a bit much” the author would make shift that not only made sense within the story but also advanced the overall storyline. There weren’t any unnecessary scenes or exposition for the sake of exposition. The repetition that was there—like Brady thinking of his home and family—felt natural to the cycle of human psyche and the way humans think. We get stuck on something, move on, and come back to it when the time is right again. Brady also didn’t accept the mind melt connection unreservedly. He had doubts and he fought it, but he also learned to trust his own judgement about the connection.

And the heartrending goodbye… Well, I’ll let you read about that on your own.

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4 Responses to Rameau’s Review Archive: Dark Space by Lisa Henry

  1. I like sci-fi well enough to try this one, thank you!

  2. Blodeuedd says:

    I wonder about that good bye

  3. Weeping angels! Someone's been watching Doctor Who.Have you read the Administration series by Manna Francis? It's a m/m series set in a future dystopian society with very dark, morally ambiguous characters. I love it.

  4. *jumping up and down, rabbit fashion* Me, I read it, me, me professor, me!*returning to the reality*I liked it as well – not bad for a m/m dystopia!

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