In the Dark Spaces
"What will happen when you don't come back?" The latest winner of the Ampersand Prize is 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.

In the Dark Spaces Details

TitleIn the Dark Spaces
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherHardie Grant Egmont
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Young Adult, Space, Thriller

In the Dark Spaces Review

  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Blake Polden
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone read it. Read it now, and then pass it onto your friends. This was something else.
  • Kate Whitfield
    January 1, 1970
    Gripping and sophisticated YA scifi. Loved it.
  • Alison Evans
    January 1, 1970
    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!!!!
  • NicoleHasRead
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Sass
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Maree Kimberley
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Mistress Bast
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Lucinda Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    Swa tu tzaar
  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Haylee Collins
    January 1, 1970
    Talk about genre-smashing. In the Dark Spaces is SO DAMN GOOD. I couldn't put it down and read it in less than a day and it made my eyes cry and my heart swell but also it's a terrifying hostage drama set in deep space with lots of excellent violence and death. Look, it SHOULD be turned into a movie one day, but for now it's a wonderfully compelling book so make sure it's a book you get your paws on.
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  • Laura Trenham
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so weird. I really struggled with it because it was just so so weird. The idea of Crows people abducting a teenage girl was not what i was expecting (i thought it was a contemporary fiction novel, not fantasy as the blurb doesn't give much away). I didn't really enjoy it that much but for a debut novel, it probably wasn't that bad. I did like the character development and the raw emotions that were evident from Tamara but the storyline and plot were just weird. Also the resolution This book was so weird. I really struggled with it because it was just so so weird. The idea of Crows people abducting a teenage girl was not what i was expecting (i thought it was a contemporary fiction novel, not fantasy as the blurb doesn't give much away). I didn't really enjoy it that much but for a debut novel, it probably wasn't that bad. I did like the character development and the raw emotions that were evident from Tamara but the storyline and plot were just weird. Also the resolution at the conclusion just seemed to happen, there was no real fights or anything. While i enjoyed the connection between Tamara and her cousin, that was about it.
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