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The Darkness Outside Us Review

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

Two boys are on a spaceship together, assisted by a hyper intelligent AI responding to a distress call from a woman on Titan. But is that the true purpose of their mission?


Queer, young adult, science fiction


Two boys, alone in space.

After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing his own sister.

In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.


I received a free e-arc from Netgalley to review. This book is not what I thought at all. It’s thousands of times better. When deciding to request this, I saw it was about queers in space. What’s not to love? But incredibly, this was so much better than that.

I can’t say much of the plot because it’ll give it away, but there’s an enormous twist around halfway through. This is way beyond a YA romance, it features deep philosophy in a very genuine way. It made me analyze the purpose of life in a way I hadn’t before, about the point if it is inevitable if everything decays in the end. It makes you question the point of work and of present conflicts. It made me wonder if life is worth living for the sake of itself or not. It’s also a powerful love story, showing all the ways circumstances can change how a relationship goes, and the things that remain the same.

It’s much more adult than I had thought, and it’s better for it. This is a truly impressive novel, one I’d like to own, and one of the rare books that makes me tear up. THIS was a masterpiece.

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