destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]'s Reviews > Pitch Dark

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
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really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, young-adult, horror

Even the gods have abandoned us out here.

If you follow my reviews, you know I’m a big horror fan, but what you might not already know is what a sucker I am for horror/sci-fi genre-blending and spooky stories set in outer space. Courtney Alameda is known for her horror writing, but she interlaces the terror aspects with the sci-fi, futuristic, technology side stunningly.

We were supposed to wake up saved, or not wake up at all. That was the deal we made with fate.

→ Tuck ←
The narrative of Pitch Dark alternates perspectives between two protagonists – one from the “past”, and one from the “future”. Our first introduction is to our “past” character, Tuck, who has been in cryo-sleep for a few hundred years, only to awaken to a spaceship full of corpses and monstrosities. He’s hopeless, angry, and hurting, but has such a good heart – a quintessential “teddy bear” character, at your service. Unfortunately, despite how lovable he can be, Tuck never felt three-dimensional to me, and his lack of intricate development was a huge drawback.

“The madman with a box?” I ask. “Bad Wolf? We have a lot of running to do?” They both look at me as if I’m the one who’s lost my damn mind. “All righty then. Allons-y.”

→ pop culture references ←
On the other hand, my favorite thing about Tuck was easily his pop culture refs. I make no attempts to hide my usual annoyance with these sorts of things, because they frequently come out forced and unnatural, but Tuck’s are done phenomenally and are so cute. The above-quoted Doctor Who reference was easily my favorite, but most of all, I adored how frustrated he got when people didn’t catch his references! (I relate so much.)

To all the girls who write their own histories, who resist men telling them to “stop,” and save themselves in the end, this one’s for you.

→ Laura ←
Our “future” perspective comes from Laura Cruz. She’s a teen Latinx girl with archaeologists for parents, and she is positively brilliant and fierce. She takes nobody’s mess and is determined to take care of herself at all costs, relying on no one to save her. If you enjoy hard-headed, angry, capable heroines, Laura’s your girl. I appreciated her so much, and my favorite thing about her was the social commentary she was able to provide on the current state of society.

I’d like to say that in the last few centuries, humanity’s grown past these compulsions in a moral sense, that we’ve become better. Nobler. Wiser. But we haven’t.

→ racism ←
As a woman of color, Laura explains that a few centuries haven’t been enough time to rid the entire human race of its bigotry. There’s been so much reproduction between races, it has caused a sort of ethnic mesh in most of society, to the point where fully “white” individuals only keep their white skin by going to great lengths to avoid any biracial reproductivity. Because of how deliberate being a white person in Laura’s world is, most individuals assume that entirely white individuals are simply clinging to Nazi-like ideals of the past. This was a really refreshing take on the idea of a world in white cultural and racial diversity is normalized, but was also a truly interesting theoretical prediction for the future of our world.

“That’s the folly of the human heart. We make macro decisions based on micro motivations.”

→ social commentaries ←
Besides the discussion of racism, there’s a lot of observation of how we treat the planet, as we are informed that the reason humans left Earth in Tuck’s time was to escape the mess they’d made of it and the fact that the planet had been utterly drained of resources. Even the creatures on Tuck’s ship are explained to have been created not by some zombie virus or magical mutation, but by the after-effects in breathing and drinking in too much pollution from the Earth era.

They’re not aliens or zombies, just our own mistake.

→ fear factor ←
I know a lot of my followers are hesitant to pick up horror stories, so I wanted to go ahead and let you guys who aren’t horror fans know that, in my opinion, this is an extremely approachable read for individuals who don’t typically enjoy horror. It’s so heavy on the sci-fi aspect that it doesn’t read like your usual horror story, but there are some gruesome descriptions of mutated creatures, so if your stomach is easily unsettled, you may want to proceed with caution.

This book is inspired by the Aliens film franchise, and I would say that it felt very similar to those in terms of the level of horror and “grossness” achieved. If you enjoy those films, I think you would enjoy this story, too. This would be a good time to warn you that there is a scene in this book that comes with major warnings for trypophobia. As someone who has a mild case of trypophobia, the description in that scene was really nauseating and I had to skim past it, but it does give you a bit of warning before it goes into detail.

I wonder what I’d do with such a lonely boy, one who carries a broken heart in his chest and pretends it beats the same as everyone else’s.

→ romance ←
Finally, I want to touch on the only other thing that didn’t catch my eye much in Pitch Dark: the blossoming relationship between Tuck and Laura. You see it coming a mile away, but towards the end, I felt like it became oddly forced. They were a great pair for each other and the chemistry was there from the start, so I thought it’d be a home run, but at the end, I almost felt like, “Wait, that’s all?” I don’t want to give any sorts of spoilers, but I’ll just say that the romance was the main reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5.

All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the final product. Thank you so much to Feiwel & Friends for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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Reading Progress

September 18, 2017 – Shelved
September 18, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 16, 2018 – Shelved as: sci-fi
January 16, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 16, 2018 – Shelved as: horror
January 19, 2018 – Started Reading
January 21, 2018 –
January 22, 2018 –
January 27, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Ananova (new)

Ananova I really liked this review. I love this authors work. The only thing that kind of made me -_- was the racism aspect. As far as it being “refreshing” to hear that people of the future who are white are only white due to wanting to cling to racist ideals. Not to get into that kind of debate here...but that shouldn’t be a “refreshing” thing. Whites have always existed (as far as modern humanity had been around, I realize the first people ever weren’t “white”) and there isn’t a reason to think it wouldn’t always BE around.

If a white person said, “the future was mostly white, because the future belonged to_________ (take any aspect where whites are a majority in society, such as wealth or educational achievements) which is refreshing” I would also be really upset with that. No one should feel bad for being ANY race.

I also don’t feel like you intended for it to sound the way it might look either...but it’s just that I always imagined a distant future would exist in an era where humans weren’t even looked at by what race they were (which I think is a huge huge flaw in this book actually) and the only thing that’ll keep that from being reality one day, is when people use race as any kind of identity instead of humanity.

Please don’t be offended. I’m actually Native American, Hispanic, & German so I guess I’m kind of an example of what Laura speaks of...but I’d rather be thought of as a “person” not a “(insert color) person”

Still loved your review overall!!

destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Ananova wrote: "I really liked this review. I love this authors work. The only thing that kind of made me -_- was the racism aspect. As far as it being “refreshing” to hear that people of the future who are white ..."

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic, but I do appreciate your input! It's always nice to see another perspective on a topic. :) Thank you!

Angela C It was helpful to hear your take on whether people who aren't typically fans of horror will like this book. I'd been really interested in reading Pitch Dark but was nervous that it would be too creepy for me, so I'm relieved to hear that I might be able to handle it. My library is due to get a copy any day now, so I'll make sure to place a hold!

destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Angela wrote: "It was helpful to hear your take on whether people who aren't typically fans of horror will like this book. I'd been really interested in reading Pitch Dark but was nervous that it would be too cre..."

Thank you, Angela! I definitely feel like it would be approachable for someone who doesn't typically read a lot of horror. I really hope you enjoy it! :)

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