Review Blog

Jun 11 2018

In the dark spaces by Cally Black

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018. ISBN 9781760128647
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Survival, Space travel, Aliens. Ampersand Prize winner. Aurealis Award for young adults winner 2017. CBCA Book of the Year for older readers shortlist. Also shortlisted for many other awards, "In the Dark Spaces" is an emotional, heart wrenching and unforgettable story that will linger in the reader's mind and will be one that a reader may well return to because of its poignant heroine Tamara, her little cousin Gub and the strange alien people, the terrifying Crowpeople who are determined that their way of life will not be disturbed by the miners on the space craft that have entered their territory.
Tamara is determined to get to be 16 when she can legitimately try and get a job in space. Meanwhile her aunt is hiding her and her little cousin Gub on board, and both have to be silent so that they won't be found. When the Crowpeople attack and kill everyone on board, Tamara leads them away from Gub and because she can imitate the sounds of their language and is highly intelligent, she manages to stay alive, but is faced with the awful choice of having to betray her own race in order to stay alive.
Within its themes of class, economics, mining and indigenous rights, the novel races along leaving the reader with heart in mouth as Tamara struggles to stay alive and longs for her little cousin. Refreshingly there is no romance in "In the Dark Spaces", rather the author examines the need to belong to a family and the deep love that one young girl can have for her cousin.
I can't wait to read what Black writes next. Her voice is lyrical and original and "In the dark spaces" deserves the accolades that it has received.
Pat Pledger

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