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

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, but 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.

Every time I read a book by Lisa Henry I remind myself I have to read more books by Lisa Henry.

And I always fail in my purpose.

Because I always end up reading one book per year, and at this pace I will never finish her repertoire.

Which is a pity.

I was a little scared when I found out Dark Space would have a sequel. The first book stands by itself and doesn’t need a sequel. I also feared this book would stretch out the story a little too much until it broke by simple wear and tear. I was afraid the main characters would no longer have the magic they had had and that it would somehow stain the precious memories I hold of the book.

I have the pleasure of announcing I was wrong.

I have to tell you why I went on reading M/M. The first book is not a mystery. Someone gives a good opinion about a homosexual book or you go for it yourself out of simple curiosity. The heart of the matter is not the first book but why you decided to continue. I decided to continue because I felt I never got to know the male character in the heterosexual relationship. The heroine was usually the only POV you could see, and that was ok. But what about him? Why was he so mercurial and secretive and hermetic and apparently made of stone and full of masculinity and bullshit? Don’t men have insecurities and fears and doubts and longings, too? Why are they so two-dimensional and heroic and always save the day with no real conflicts beneath and no weakness to be seen?

When I read that first M/M book, it was a revelation.

Girls used to tell me they read heterosexual books because they wanted to feel identified with the heroine, they wanted to be the heroine. But I never did. Some aspects, yes, but I wasn’t her and didn’t want to be. I feel identified with the emotion, not with the character himself. That’s what I look for in my readings, I try to chase the emotion and sometimes I find it and I can write poems about real happiness.

And I’ve found it all in spades in M/M. Being inside a man’s head and getting to know him through and through. Or so I hope. And feeling identified with the emotion at the same time. Oh yes! That’s magic to me.

I loved being in Brady’s head.

His never-ending anger and hate towards everything and everybody in the universe hasn’t faded with time. In fact it gnaws at him at every chance destiny manages to play a dirty trick on him. This evolves into all this vulnerability he doesn’t know how to handle that threatens to drag him into a bottomless pit: all his doubts, his fears, his longings, the beliefs that he is not enough no matter how hard he tries. He’s not enough for Cam, his everything, and he’s not enough for Lucy, his light. The consequent apathy this creates leads, finally, to belligerence and sarcasm, and is a coping mechanism that usually gets him into trouble. Which is generally referred to as “anger management issues” or “insubordination issues”.

I was utterly enchanted by him.

And Cam as well. Cam sees through all this baggage and bullshit and sees pure beauty. A rough diamond nobody cared enough (or simple couldn’t) to smooth out in order for it to shine in all its splendor. But Cam saw it in the black, the place where Brady is at his worst. The black that threatens to shallow it all. The black where the Faceless come from.

Cam loves the black. Brady is afraid of the black. But somehow, they understand each other, and they're right together. Above all when it’s them both against the universe. The rest of the time, Brady is not that sure. The world gets in the way and he is thrown off balance, back to square one.

Their bond is still stronger, in spite of all the doubts and the, apparently, useless attempts to follow a “normal” life. Even though they are no longer in each other’s heads, they are connected. Until they are truly connected. This can only mean one thing: the Faceless are coming back. And that creeps Brady out. But he comes to the conclusion that, as long as he has Cam and Lucy safe and at his side, there is really nothing more he can ask for.

If I had to sum up the book in a few words I’d finish soon. But the events per se weren’t that important.

Because this book is more about the inside than about the outside. It’s ironic that the inner thoughts and emotions are the main part of the plot when we are talking about a sci-fi book, with spaceships and the vast universe and all that paraphernalia. I love it when in a book there is the least possible interference. If I have to choose between a action-packed book and an intimate one, I’d choose the latter. Within certain limits, I’m not asking for philosophical Kant, either. I revel in being inside somebody’s head and heart, more than witnessing the events that maneuver the characters.

However, here I loved to pieces the events that take place. When the Faceless get closer and closer, when Lucy plays an essential role, when Kai-Ren’s amazement and curiosity pushes him into a position that raises questions and wonders and makes you see everything in a different light. When Brady evolves and changes and shows what he’s truly made of. Of starlight and braveness and love.

I only wanted to melt and blend into the book, just to be in sync with Cam and Brady’s hearts. In more than one sense of the word. And I still want to.

“they shall be ash, but ash that is aware
dust they shall be, but dust in love”

Love Constant Beyond Death - Francisco de Quevedo

***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***

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1 comment:

  1. Most awesomest review Sheziss! This is now at the top of my pile.