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In the Dark Spaces

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In the Dark Spaces PDF, ePub eBook "What will happen when you don't come back?" A genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who's faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors. Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crow "What will happen when you don't come back?" A genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who's faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors. Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive. But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople's way of life, and the threats they face from humanity's exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. Should she stay as the only human among the Crows, knowing she'll never see her family again … or inevitably betray her new community if she wants to escape? This ground-breaking thriller is the latest YA novel to win the Ampersand Prize, a stand-out entry with a blindingly original voice: raw, strange and deeply sympathetic. With its vivid and immersive world-building, this electrifying debut is The Knife of Never Letting Go meets Homeland, for the next generation of sci-fi readers.

30 review for In the Dark Spaces

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (Diva Booknerd)

    In The Dark Spaces obscures the boundaries of morality, humans and Garuwa have created a hostile environment and interspecies conflict. It also explores colonisation and the mining of resources, a reference to the aggressive infringement on Indigenous land. An ingenious, introspective and remarkable young adult debut. Check out my full review here In The Dark Spaces on Diva Booknerd

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Cally Black's debut novel, In the Dark Spaces , won the 2015 Ampersand Prize. Tamara lives in secrecy on board a spaceship called Starweaver Layla, along with her baby cousin, Tamiki (nicknamed Gub). Her aunt Lazella smuggled them on board a year ago when she took a job working in the kitchen. No children are allowed so Tamara and Gub rarely speak, instead communicating in facial expressions, gestures and the occasional whisper. Tamara is desperate to grow so she can pass for a sixteen-year-old Cally Black's debut novel, In the Dark Spaces , won the 2015 Ampersand Prize. Tamara lives in secrecy on board a spaceship called Starweaver Layla, along with her baby cousin, Tamiki (nicknamed Gub). Her aunt Lazella smuggled them on board a year ago when she took a job working in the kitchen. No children are allowed so Tamara and Gub rarely speak, instead communicating in facial expressions, gestures and the occasional whisper. Tamara is desperate to grow so she can pass for a sixteen-year-old and earn a spot on the crew, so she spends Gub's nap times sneaking around the ship via the ducting and crawl spaces. I didn't know much about In the Dark Spaces before I started, but I always enjoy the Ampersand Prize winners so that was enough for me. I really liked going into this with little knowledge because I was absolutely blown away. I love contemporary reads and they will always be my go-to. While I do have a vivid imagination, my brain can be lazy and prefers to imagine scenarios that are familiar to me. If I read about a character walking along the street and hopping on a bus, I can easily picture that. But when I read fantasy or sci-fi, my brain protests. I read the description of a space ship, for example, and my brain complains "too hard!" In the case of I n the Dark Spaces , once the action took off, my brain was happy to go along for the ride. The story surprised me with its uniqueness and creativity. I really hadn't expected what arrives on the ship and I was both terrified and intrigued. Tamara's actions were understandable and admirable. She's a child who has longed for a home, somewhere to be safe. She's also loyal and brave, always wanting to do the right thing. I adored her. The scenes between Tamara and Gub were so beautiful, and also bittersweet. The action is fast-paced and thrilling. Once the story got going it did not stop and I was captivated by Tamara's journey. It was dark and sad, but also reflected all too closely our current world. In the Dark Spaces is an impressive, clever debut. The story is violent yet heartwarming, graphic yet sweet. The plot and pace will trap you, the characters will captivate you, and you'll be hooked all the way to the satisfying conclusion. Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for my copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tehani

    Geez that was good! We so rarely get smart, engaging, space-set science fiction for middle-grade / young adults where there are aliens and politics and economics and first contact no freaking romance! This is a brilliant book and I loved every bit of it. Cally Black (and her alter ego Bren MacDibble) has an amazing talent for worldbuilding and narrative that twine together with distinctive and unique characters to create something truly special. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gaby

    Such an addictive book, I loved it! Love how different it is, yet not difficult to follow.

  5. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: Kidnapping, murder, violence, death of a loved one, dismemberment I guess?? So here's the thing. I was REALLY excited to read this because I'd seen so many people I know and trust give it five stars. But I was also really apprehensive because the blurb tells you literally nothing and all I knew was that it was sci-fi and involved a kidnapping. And in the beginning, I was hooked. I mean, a girl who's a stowaway and who's looking after her baby cousin when their ship gets invaded? Trigger warnings: Kidnapping, murder, violence, death of a loved one, dismemberment I guess?? So here's the thing. I was REALLY excited to read this because I'd seen so many people I know and trust give it five stars. But I was also really apprehensive because the blurb tells you literally nothing and all I knew was that it was sci-fi and involved a kidnapping. And in the beginning, I was hooked. I mean, a girl who's a stowaway and who's looking after her baby cousin when their ship gets invaded? AMAZING. But then the kidnapping side of the story got underway and...to be perfectly honest? I felt like I was being hit over the head with what, on Snark Squad, we call The Anvil of Obvious Storytelling. The aliens were SO OBVIOUSLY symbolic of an Aboriginal/Maori population, from the names to the language patterns to the connection to country and partnership with their hive. Even the way they were described felt midway between a crow and a kiwi. And while I enjoyed the realisation that ultimately this is a story about colonialism and the way it impacts Indigenous populations, it just felt TOO heavy-handed. Add in the spaceship names - Layla, Jolene, Hey There Delilah, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Breakfast at Tiffanys etc etc - and I was about to bash my head against the wall because every time a new spaceship was introduced, I could feel my eye twitching in anticipation of what freaking hellfire song was going to end up lodged in my brain next. So yeah. This is probably a Me Thing rather than a Book Thing? But I...didn't love this. And every time I put it down, I contemplated DNFing it. Somehow, I persevered, but it was a close call.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Blake Polden

    Everyone read it. Read it now, and then pass it onto your friends. This was something else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Fabulous read, moving and memorable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tamsien West (Babbling Books)

    4.5 stars, fast paced YA sci-fi. Focused on friendship, family and kindness in an unkind world. Refreshing to read YA with no love story plot. Definitely a book that will appeal to a wide range on readers, from early teens up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    Solid world-building, fresh narrative voice, and a strong emotional core. Might review later.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zitong Ren

    This book managed to surprise me quite a fair bit. Some things that I say might be spoilerish, but I don’t know so read at your own risk(but I’m not turning spoilers on as I’ll keep it to a minimum. In the Dark Spaces is by the Australian author Cally Black in which this novel won the Ambersand prize and was long listed for the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. I will actually have the pleasure of going to one of her book talks soon of which I’m hyped for after reading this book. It was a little hard for me This book managed to surprise me quite a fair bit. Some things that I say might be spoilerish, but I don’t know so read at your own risk(but I’m not turning spoilers on as I’ll keep it to a minimum. In the Dark Spaces is by the Australian author Cally Black in which this novel won the Ambersand prize and was long listed for the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. I will actually have the pleasure of going to one of her book talks soon of which I’m hyped for after reading this book. It was a little hard for me to get into at first(say the first few dozen pages), which is my major grumble, though it may just be me, and although I knew that it was Sci-fi, it sort of didn’t feel it and while it is generally categorised as YA, it did feel more of a middle-grade book and in fact I think it would suit middle-grade readers if swear words did not bother them. What I really liked was that the Crow People(Garuwa) had their own complex system and language of which we actually get to learn a little but of which is incredibly creative and original giving us a little bit as the title of most chapters. It is incredibly refreshing to a a properly written YA book that is well written, and while the writing is not exact it poetry, it is very readable. The storyline itself was also enjoyable about this person wanting to rescue this little boy after they were separated after their ship got attacked by the Garuwa. Despite how scary with many of the characters looking like Vultures, I found myself really liking them and the way their characters seemed to act and it was just refreshing than poorly written action scene after poorly written action scene, or lots of instalove. This book in fact doesn’t actually have a romantic plot in it, which again is refreshing but rather more of friendship and family which is great. The ending itself is also satisfying enough that I am happy with, in that all things come to an end and that everything is resolved. 8/10 Here is a list of some of the Garuwa Language(Not all, you’ll have to read the book to find out the rest for yourself. Twa(water) Teenos wi kooloo(Beans and Algae) Toor(Go) Tewo Woen Ta(She is my Heart) Woul Toor(Come Out) Tso Dee(Did Good) Tootoopne Kwee Swal(Tootoopne knows everything) Swa Tu Tzaar(For the hive) Edit: Lowered from 5 to 4 stars on 26/6/2019 after thinking about it properly and realising it wasn’t actually legendary(though still good) and it might of been me going to attend a workshop.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elly

    It took me a while to get into this book, and a big part of that was my general aversion to Books That Happen In Space, but I was encouraged to continue by the strength of Black’s narrative voice which is so unique and consistent that even when I wasn’t necessarily enjoying the book I was impressed by the sheer quality of it. In the Dark Spaces is ultimately a post-colonisation narrative and while the ending felt quite idealised it worked well as a single volume story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    I read most of this on the train between Central and Springwood, and discretely cried pretty much the whole time. This book is powerful. This was my read for AusYABloggers January prompt 4: amongst the stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Summerson

    Wow! Not everyday I pick up a book like this and actually read it and then actually LIKE it! Not normally the genre I’d go for but gosh this surprised me! Really clever, well written and kept me wanting more!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kate Whitfield

    Gripping and sophisticated YA scifi. Loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeann (Happy Indulgence)

    An interesting exploration into an alien species learning to understand humans - through a young girl who has no choice but to learn how to survive with them. Getting inducted into the alien world was pretty strange, with the alien crow's way of life and their whistling language, but it all definitely serves a purpose. I struggled during this phase which happens after a solid beginning, however it did speed up towards the end. I loved how the plot centered on finding your place in the world, wher An interesting exploration into an alien species learning to understand humans - through a young girl who has no choice but to learn how to survive with them. Getting inducted into the alien world was pretty strange, with the alien crow's way of life and their whistling language, but it all definitely serves a purpose. I struggled during this phase which happens after a solid beginning, however it did speed up towards the end. I loved how the plot centered on finding your place in the world, whereever that may be. There are definitely a lot of lessons in morality, which I'll have to ponder upon. --- This review was originally published on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews! What would you do to survive an alien invasion? That’s the question that Tamara has to answer, as her ship gets invaded by terrifying crow-like aliens. Everyone she has known has died, except for Gub, her baby cousin. And she’ll do anything, including joining the other side, in order to reunite with him. As Tamara gets taken to the hive, and is tested by the alien species, there’s a lot of getting used to. The aliens have their own way of living – their needs are taken care of their hive, and they also form squads to protect each other. It was interesting how they were mostly female, therefore their language also reflected this. They communicate in a series of whistles and noises. I was impressed with how the alien race was developed and how you could even come to understand them. It was terrifying from Tamara’s point of view as a hostage. Any wrong move could end her life, but she manages to get by. This is where the book almost lost me – the whole alien induction was kind of weird, and I felt a certain sense of discomfort while reading it. It also takes up over half of the book, and I was relieved when it passed. Tamara, while young, is an incredibly resourceful character, as she can clearly think of her feet for the means of survival. It was incredibly seeing how quickly she learns to survive within uncharted territory, and how she built a friendship with particular aliens. In the Dark Spaces explores the different shades of morality due to survival. Being on the ‘wrong side’ of the alien invasion, Tamara is horrified as she is forced to help these aliens mercilessly slaughter humans. But on the other hand, she can also see it from their point of view – which makes her an invaluable survivor. Her ordeal will leave you thinking – would you do what she had to do in order to survive? In the Dark Spaces is a space exploration into humanity and morality, that closely reflects the effects of colonisation. It features an alien race that is terrifying, surprisingly nurturing, and also feels incredibly vivid. It does venture into darker territory, especially when it comes to survival, and it’s an unexpected book that will have you thinking long after the very last page.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Dark spaces This was such a different story especially for the YA genre, so simple yet so complex if you wanted to delve deeper. The story of the poverty of the working people, rich mining giants happy to push whoever they want out of the way to achieve their goal of making more money, an alien race who have had enough of said company stealing the minerals they consider theirs and that they need to survive. It seems that the aliens have it the right way in that they look after their hive, everyon Dark spaces This was such a different story especially for the YA genre, so simple yet so complex if you wanted to delve deeper. The story of the poverty of the working people, rich mining giants happy to push whoever they want out of the way to achieve their goal of making more money, an alien race who have had enough of said company stealing the minerals they consider theirs and that they need to survive. It seems that the aliens have it the right way in that they look after their hive, everyone gets fed, no one is lesser than anyone else and all are protected. For Tamara, a young girl who has lived her life with barely enough food and has had to stay hidden on a ship in space with only her baby cousin to keep her company during the day, the arrival and attack on her ship by the alien race the Garuwa a bird like species is the worst thing to ever happen. But as she gets to know these strange people and understand them, she wonders why both their species can't get along. Tamara is exceptionally brave and very clever without really realising it. This is a easy story to read that had me completely engaged throughout. I can definitely see the parallels of how our traditional land owners are treated by our large mining companies and how the distance between the rich and the poor is growing in our country.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda Edwards

    Swa tu tzaar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alison Evans

    Jeez this is great!!! Warm and gentle with the vastness of space sprawling everywhere. At its heart there is kindness and love and, just, it's so good!!!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    ImaginationFixation

    I was really unsure and reluctant to continue this book at the start but I ended up loving it! A really unique story that bring up interesting questions about morals and ethics and the sacrifices you make for those you love.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Great story that I'm sure many of my students will enjoy. Loved it

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Fantastic! A fresh, new story and one that will appeal to many readers especially as there is no romance or distracting love triangle in the narrative. A gripping adventure story within the sci-fi genre. The ending seemed to come too quickly.

  22. 5 out of 5

    NicoleHasRead

    Wow. So, so good. If I could have read this in one sitting, I would have, but the need for sleep got in the way. Review now up on www.nicolehasread.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Dazzlepants

    In the Dark Spaces is a contemporary sci-fi telling the story of Tamara, a teen stowaway on a freighter with her aunt and equally illegal toddler cousin. One day Tamara’s freighter is stormed and decimated by a species of Crowpeople, and Tamara is taken hostage. Tamara does everything in her power to learn from and assimilate with these Crowpeople because it means the difference between life and death. This was a really interesting concept! The Crowpeople are unlike anything else I’ve read in sc In the Dark Spaces is a contemporary sci-fi telling the story of Tamara, a teen stowaway on a freighter with her aunt and equally illegal toddler cousin. One day Tamara’s freighter is stormed and decimated by a species of Crowpeople, and Tamara is taken hostage. Tamara does everything in her power to learn from and assimilate with these Crowpeople because it means the difference between life and death. This was a really interesting concept! The Crowpeople are unlike anything else I’ve read in sci-fi before, and there was a lot of potential for building out their physiology, their world, their language, and their mythology. Unfortunately this was let down significantly by the writing style. While parts of the writing style can reasonably be attributed to the main character’s unique Indonesian-Australian dialect and inability to read and write, parts of it just felt juvenile and under-developed. None of the characters do anything with any sort of description - everybody just suddenly does something or suddenly appears. There’s no rich description of how people move, how people speak, or how they enter and exit a scene - they’re just there. I wanted to like this but it was reaaaaalllllllllly average. I wouldn’t mind reading more of Cally Black’s writing in future once her writing finds its feet, but this just didn’t do much for me. 2.5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sass

    In The Dark Spaces is a dark (pun not intended) and at times creepy space opera, but that darkness is perfectly offset by the brightness of hope, love and family that lies at its core.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maree Kimberley

    Wow! Cally Black's In the Dark Spaces is the most original young adult novel I've read in some time. A gripping read from start to finish, with a narrator who grabs your attention and your heart and doesn't let go, this is a sci-fi novel about family, love and so much more. One one level, In the Dark Spaces can be read as a fast-paced space action adventure story. There is a weird alien species, hard fought bloody battles (the author doesn't hold back on the violence) and plenty of "hold your bre Wow! Cally Black's In the Dark Spaces is the most original young adult novel I've read in some time. A gripping read from start to finish, with a narrator who grabs your attention and your heart and doesn't let go, this is a sci-fi novel about family, love and so much more. One one level, In the Dark Spaces can be read as a fast-paced space action adventure story. There is a weird alien species, hard fought bloody battles (the author doesn't hold back on the violence) and plenty of "hold your breath" moments. But the novel is so much more than this. The story Black weaves of the first person narrator, Tamara's, search for her family in a universe being torn apart by war also offers insights into colonialism, western society and an alternative society (which has many similarities with Indigenous societies). Tamara (or Weku as she is called by the Garuwu who take her) has spent her life hiding from a society that doesn't want her. She has learned to survive by hiding in the spaces she can find outside "accepted" society. But she's smart, with a gift for languages and the ability to adapt that gives her an advantage in her new, unwelcome circumstances. She witnesses awful things, she is forced to do things that terrify and sicken her and break her heart to do, but she is driven by the love she has for the one person in the world who means everything to her. In Tamara/Weku's fight to survive, the reader feels her strength and vulnerability. She is a character with depth and a unique voice who explores the deep ties of family and friendship with a nuanced touch. At a deeper level, the novel can be read as a blueprint for the failure of western societies to understand the Indigenous societies they have displaced in a relentless search for resources. This sounds bleak, and it is, but the novel does open up a way for a more harmonious future. This is a fantastic novel on all levels. However you choose to read it, as long as you're okay with some violence, you're sure to love In the Dark Spaces. Highly recommended for readers 14 years and above.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    There were lots of things I liked about this debut sci fi novel. Tamara is something of a rebel who is used to staying under the radar and she's tough enough not to to give up when she is captured by aliens who invade the space freighter that she's on. But I didn't empathise with her as much as I would have have liked. Maybe if we'd had a a few more chapters to get to know her and her family before the action really kicked off it would have been easier to see why she was totally devoted to her b There were lots of things I liked about this debut sci fi novel. Tamara is something of a rebel who is used to staying under the radar and she's tough enough not to to give up when she is captured by aliens who invade the space freighter that she's on. But I didn't empathise with her as much as I would have have liked. Maybe if we'd had a a few more chapters to get to know her and her family before the action really kicked off it would have been easier to see why she was totally devoted to her baby cousin and determined to find him. I did like the imagined world of the Garuwa and their hive, but felt the ending was a bit too tidy. Nevertheless still a good read for teen sci fi fans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mead

    I keep saying "Oh, I don't really like sci-fi, but I really loved this book!" At this point I have to conclude that I do, in fact, like sci-fi. And this is an excellent example - dark at times, but so interesting, and plenty of moral grey area.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    4.5 This book was absolutely nothing like what I thought it would be, and in the best way possible! Although I was a little confused in the beginning all the characters were beautifully created and I found myself trying to whistle in Garuwa along with Tamara/Weku! Loved it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I'm going to write up a full review later, but this book so full of love and desperation and emotion and it's utterly wonderful

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mistress Bast

    4 1/2 stars. There is a lot to love about this book. But the real stand out for me was the importance placed on language - Tamara evolves quite dramatically, and her evolution changes direction, as she gains more of the Crow language. Her interactions are at first very limited, and therefore she has a much more human understanding of the Crow-people. As she develops her language skills, she starts to develop an corresponding understanding of their culture. Likewise, she finds communicating human 4 1/2 stars. There is a lot to love about this book. But the real stand out for me was the importance placed on language - Tamara evolves quite dramatically, and her evolution changes direction, as she gains more of the Crow language. Her interactions are at first very limited, and therefore she has a much more human understanding of the Crow-people. As she develops her language skills, she starts to develop an corresponding understanding of their culture. Likewise, she finds communicating human culture difficult, particularly when there are no words from the Crow language to explain things. There is quite a bit of darkness in this story, which in many ways makes it feel more realistic, but it does mean I would hesitate to recommend it to readers at a year 7 level or below. Ultimately though the story offers quite a bit of hope.

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