Pitch Dark

Pitch Dark

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space. Laura belongs to a sh...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Pitch Dark
Author:Courtney Alameda
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Pitch Dark Reviews

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    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.

    The narrative of

    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.

    The narrative of

    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.

    On the other hand, my favorite thing about Tuck was easily his pop culture refs. I make no attempts to hide my

    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!

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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

    . 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.

    Finally, I want to touch on the only other thing that didn’t catch my eye much in

    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.

  • Jack +Books & Bourbon+

    Leave it up to a movie junkie to keep wanting to call this book

    . And though they are both creature features set in space, they are decidedly NOT the same thing. I don’t know how this one wasn’t on my radar, as I really enjoyed Courtney Alameda’s urban fantasy/horror mashup

    . But thankfully, my book buddy Crazy4Books came to my rescue and listed this one as a good buddy read candidate, thereby correcting my oversight. And she was correct…this did make for a good buddy read!

    And

    Leave it up to a movie junkie to keep wanting to call this book

    . And though they are both creature features set in space, they are decidedly NOT the same thing. I don’t know how this one wasn’t on my radar, as I really enjoyed Courtney Alameda’s urban fantasy/horror mashup

    . But thankfully, my book buddy Crazy4Books came to my rescue and listed this one as a good buddy read candidate, thereby correcting my oversight. And she was correct…this did make for a good buddy read!

    And if you want to read her great review, including points that I totally missed/forgot in my review, you can follow the link below.

    Ostensibly a young adult novel,

    reminds me quite a bit of the

    video games. Non-military personnel up against mutated creatures in the deepest recesses of space…with much gore and violence. And let me tell you…I’m a sucker for tales like this. The

    games gave me goosebumps due to their immersion and environment, and while I don’t get nervous or scared from a book, Ms. Alameda can certainly write tense and spooky situations with definite skill. I definitely hesitated to call

    a YA book, and the same applies to

    . It’s oppressive, it’s violent, and no details are skipped when it comes to the carnage that Tuck and crew experience.

    Like all my reviews, I will keep spoilers to an absolute minimum. If it’s not mentioned in the book synopsis, then I’ll do my level best to not mention it here.

    So, aside from bloody space monster carnage, what does

    throw at us? Well, we get two protagonist POV’s, a bit of philosophy about human nature and if we are only ever going to be more than a destructive species, and a little bit of teen romance. And it all works. I’m not usually a fan of romance in my books, if only because it generally feels forced or unnecessary. But here it is effective, with a natural flow that makes sense with our characters. And it’s not all doe-eyed nonsense where they fall after two seconds. It actually grows and progresses like it should. As for the ruminations on human nature, it’s mostly just to help set the scene for some of the character’s motivations. Still, it’s interesting that we as a species mostly only seem to wonder about the monstrous side of human nature when we are facing off against actual monsters.

    As for our characters, we get Tuck, a crewmember on the John Muir, and Laura, a crewmember on the Conquistador. And initially, their stories couldn’t be any more different from each other. But…to give away much more than that would venture into spoiler territory. The synopsis actually shies away from what’s really going on, which is for the best. Makes it seem almost like a Montague and Capulet scenario, but that’s really not the case.

    It’s hard to say which character I liked better…maybe because the first person perspective makes it a little more difficult to separate the personalities. That’s not to say that they don’t have distinguishing qualities, because they do. Tuck is a brooding loner, Laura is adventurous and outgoing. While Tuck has a natural disposition towards gloom and defeat, Laura is optimistic and hopeful. But regardless of their differences, the two have a natural rapport and complement each other very well. Once they got their initial meeting out of the way, I was pretty well invested in their struggles (together and individually). They definitely make an effective team.

    I could definitely commiserate with Tuck and his emotional disconnection at times, as I’ve been that young man (a long time ago). I think Ms. Alameda has a good handle on what makes a young man tick, and was able to channel this effectively into a believable “everyman”. The fact that Tuck loves, and quotes, 20th century films just endeared him to me even more. Cuz, I’m that guy, so I like it when I meet another one of my tribe.

    But while she does well with Tuck, she absolutely knocked it out of the park with Laura. She’s impulsive and still figuring out the labyrinth of adult relationships, but despite her youth, she is the most capable person in the book. And though she’s had some terrible things happen to her, she’s never a victim. She owns her mistakes, and then immediately looks for a way to make things better. And not just better for her, but for everyone. I’ve said it in other reviews, and I’ll echo it here: I’m loving that more and more authors are bringing strong independent women to the fore to carry these stories. Where other books have severely mishandled female characters (cough cough

    series) many of the books I’ve read lately have eschewed that pitfall and given us truly independent and self-assured women.

    But while both main characters are cheer worthy, the supporting characters are a mixed bag. While we do get to see some of the other relationships Laura has cultivated, we get almost nothing for Tuck, who remains pretty much a cypher for the whole tale. Given the events that transpire on the John Muir ship, I actually expected there to be more comradery and personality with the crew…but that never really manifested. When we do get supporting characters, they are generally well written, if just not present enough. And maybe that’s just another hardship with a first person tale, as so much happens internally that everything external suffers a bit.

    On the antagonist side of the house, we have two varieties. There’s the human antagonists, who range from meh to pretty effective villains…and we have the monsters. And boy are they dangerous. And pretty interesting too. After reading a lot of sci-fi (and a fair bit of horror), it’s hard to find something new or exciting. And while some of the concepts at play with the monsters aren’t brand new, they are written in such a way here that they feel fresh. The monsters are deadly, and our heroes are not immune.

    If there’s one place that Courtney Alameda really excels, outside of good ideas and a well-paced read, it’s with setting a scene. She has tension down to a science, and I loved that our heroes were never really out of harm’s way. And they aren’t miraculously injury-proof as well. They get hurt. A lot. I like my human characters to be, well, human, and both of our protagonists are written in realistic ways. And the dangerous situations they find themselves in give them pause. These aren’t mercenaries or soldiers, they are young people who are in a crazy situation, but know they have to help make it less crazy. A spaceship can be a highly effective setting for a horror tale (Alien anyone?), and Ms. Alameda squeezes every ounce of dread and terror from the setting. I hope she writes more scary Sci-Fi stories down the road, as she’s definitely got a knack for it.

    So those are the pro's...but what about the cons?

    One of my main hardships with

    was the excessive witty banter. It’s not that I have a problem with witty banter necessarily, as I certainly don’t. But there are times when witty banter is appropriate, natural, and expected. And when used at those times, it’s great. But no, the problem here is that there’s several moments in the book where it’s completely out of place. There’s one part of the book near the end when two people who barely know each other are slinging one-liners and off-the-cuff puns at each other while in the middle of several life-or-death struggles. One off-hand comment I could see happening, but to carry on a whole pun-ishing (see what I did there?) conversation while literally fighting for your life just felt false. Especially when one of those characters has spent years living virtually silently. But somehow, in the middle of a situation that requires utmost concentration, these two characters are actively trying to come up with funny puns, even while being scared to death. It just didn’t work, and served only to diminish the drama and effectively pull me from that part of the tale.

    The book is also written in a rather casual way, full of figurative language, with plenty of similes and metaphors to enrich the storytelling. And it generally works, except that it’s slightly overdone. I think that’s one of the main drawbacks to first-person storytelling…it seems very easy to fall back on similes to help convey detail. Again, for the most part it works, but one gets the impression that both of the leads only ever think in figurative language. Which, hell, maybe they do, and I’m just the weird one.

    I’d say my only real other point of contention is the motivations of one of the factions within Laura’s crew. Their ship has been doing deep-space recovery for years, but there’s a small contingent of the crew looking to sabotage the whole operation. And they’ve had years where Laura’s ship has been running to and fro where they could have caused all sorts of problems or even completely destroyed the ship. But…they just waited until their ship met up with Tuck’s ship? His ship isn’t the first one that Laura’s crew has come across, but this time the sabotage crew really means it? It’s obvious from their actions that self-preservation isn’t an issue…so why the casual reluctance to actually sabotage the mission so many years in? It just seemed…odd. But, I suppose, if the sabotage crew HAD done their job effectively, there wouldn’t have been a book. So…points to Gryffindor?

    Pop culture aficionados take heed…

    has quite a bit of banter (as well as a few one-offs cleverly hidden) that references our modern movie and music landscape. And while it never achieves

    levels of pop-culture references, this book comes awfully close. Seems like Ms. Alameda and I watch and recall all the same movies, as none of the references flew over my head. It’s nice to be on the inside of the inside jokes for a change.

    So I liked

    quite a bit. I even liked it better than

    , which I definitely enjoyed. And it would have been easy for Courtney Alameda to stick with another urban horror book, so kudos to her for branching out and going a different direction entirely.

  • Stacee

    I enjoyed Courtney’s other book and I was all over that synopsis, so I was pretty excited to get to it.

    I liked Laura and Tuck well enough. They’re both sassy and sarcastic and smart. They had some great banter and I wish they would have been together more in the story. There were some other interesting characters, but I didn’t feel like we got to know much of them.

    Plot wise, I was lost for a good portion of the book. All of the ships and space and mechanics confused me and at times it felt lik

    I enjoyed Courtney’s other book and I was all over that synopsis, so I was pretty excited to get to it.

    I liked Laura and Tuck well enough. They’re both sassy and sarcastic and smart. They had some great banter and I wish they would have been together more in the story. There were some other interesting characters, but I didn’t feel like we got to know much of them.

    Plot wise, I was lost for a good portion of the book. All of the ships and space and mechanics confused me and at times it felt like I was missing something I should have known. However, I loved all of the alien action. They were creepy and that entire aspect of the story was fantastic.

    Overall, it was an interesting idea and a quick read with a satisfying ending. There were a lot of things I liked, yet I wasn’t ever captivated. If there’s a sequel, I’ll definitely be reading.

    **Huge thanks to Feiwel and Friends for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Justine

    3.5 stars

    Overall I enjoyed this. The best thing for me was definitely the awesome Latina main character, Laura Cruz, who just brings it in so many ways. I also quite liked the male character, Tuck, particularly the way he obviously appreciated Laura's strength and never felt threatened by it.

    Where I felt the story was lacking and what I wanted more of was some greater worldbuilding, particularly at the outset. The story literally starts right away at a rapid pace and never lets up. While I cert

    3.5 stars

    Overall I enjoyed this. The best thing for me was definitely the awesome Latina main character, Laura Cruz, who just brings it in so many ways. I also quite liked the male character, Tuck, particularly the way he obviously appreciated Laura's strength and never felt threatened by it.

    Where I felt the story was lacking and what I wanted more of was some greater worldbuilding, particularly at the outset. The story literally starts right away at a rapid pace and never lets up. While I certainly appreciate the high level of tension and adrenaline rush the author is going for, there are also quite a lot of complexities to this imagined future that are only hinted at that I would have really liked to know more about. The worldbuilding is dropped in bits and pieces throughout the story, but since everything is so fast paced, I didn't feel like there was a chance for enough bits to add up to as satisfying a whole as I would have liked.

    But that's a matter of personal taste, and for me, it was balanced out by other things which made for an entertaining read.

  • K.

    Trigger warnings: violence, gore, blood, death, death of a friend, death of a parent (in the past).

    So here's the thing: I read the blurb of this and was like "Space ships + monsters + pending doom? THIS IS GOING TO BE LIKE ILLUMINAE!!!". Also, I lost my mind over this cover - the stars, the skull (which is *very* Silence in the Library), the sound wave? It's glorious.

    And probably I built it up too much in my mind, buuuuut I did not love this. It was almost like it was trying to do too much? Do

    Trigger warnings: violence, gore, blood, death, death of a friend, death of a parent (in the past).

    So here's the thing: I read the blurb of this and was like "Space ships + monsters + pending doom? THIS IS GOING TO BE LIKE ILLUMINAE!!!". Also, I lost my mind over this cover - the stars, the skull (which is *very* Silence in the Library), the sound wave? It's glorious.

    And probably I built it up too much in my mind, buuuuut I did not love this. It was almost like it was trying to do too much? Don't get me wrong, I really liked our two protagonists, and I loved the concept of monsters that kill with sound. I loved how diverse it was, and I did like the writing.

    But. We had a hacker plot. We had a spaceship full of monsters. We had a technology-caused industrial sabotage plot. We had a spaceship-transporting-Yosemite-National-Park plot. We had a romance. We had a we-have-to-save-the-spaceships-or-we'll-all-die. There was just...a LOT going on.

    I think I loved the stuff where Tuck was running through the tunnels trying to escape from the monsters more than anything else. Add in a somewhat abrupt ending and...I just didn't love it, tbh. Womp.

  • Kim M

    When a terrorist organization crashes Laura Cruz’s ship into the

    —a 400-year-old vessel designed to preserve natural resources from Earth during the crisis that drove humans from the planet—she finds herself having to face former-human monsters who kill by screaming, having to flee an unknown hacker who always knows where she is, and having to evade the wealthy family who use technology to try to control her. She happens to run into Tuck Morgan, an original crew member of the

    When a terrorist organization crashes Laura Cruz’s ship into the

    —a 400-year-old vessel designed to preserve natural resources from Earth during the crisis that drove humans from the planet—she finds herself having to face former-human monsters who kill by screaming, having to flee an unknown hacker who always knows where she is, and having to evade the wealthy family who use technology to try to control her. She happens to run into Tuck Morgan, an original crew member of the

    who has recently awakened from a multi-century stasis, and together they fight to save the severely damaged ship, its natural resources, and the surviving members of both crews.

    I’m giving this book

    . It may not be as popular as some of the other YA books that have been released this year, but honestly, I think it’s higher quality than a lot of them. With the exception of the fact that they put Yosemite National Park on a spaceship (yeah, you heard right, YOSEMITE IS ON A SPACESHIP—BLUE SKIES AND ALL), there aren’t a lot of eyeroll-inducing aspects to the premise. This book has many strengths, many weaknesses, but overall, it’s a pretty good book.

    :

    (1)

    . Everyone—Tuck especially—has a strong voice, and for the most part, nothing feels stilted. The dialogue is natural and people’s personalities come through.

    (2)

    . From the dialogue alone, I have a good idea of how each of the characters is. My only complaint is that, since so much of the book is spent silently running through tunnels or fighting monsters or almost dying in other ways,

    . Characterization through dialogue is great and important, but it’s not the only aspect important to a personality. I want to see the characters interact with each other more and for there to be a variety of high- and low-intensity character- and relationship-building scenes. (We get some more of this toward the end, but I just really want more.)

    (3)

    . The Latinx population does not get featured much in American literature, so it was refreshing to read a book where a Latina main character kicks some butt while letting her culture and heritage shine through. Also, the inclusion of Spanish words is fun.

    (4)

    , especially toward the beginning. The first few encounters with the “mourners” are gripping. The rule is established:

    . Naturally, this rule leads to some highly suspenseful scenes structured in just the right way to make your heart beat quicker. However, once I was well into the book, the novelty of the mourners wore off, and due to

    , I just didn’t think they were creepy anymore. It’s like the author forgot that they were supposed to be scary and changed them from creepy terrifying monsters into minor annoyances.

    (5)

    . Humans destroyed the Earth, and now they’re trying to colonize other planets. Rather than allow humanity to forge a path of destruction throughout the entire universe, Pitch Dark wants them stopped and destroyed. So like, they’re totally evil. But they’re also… kind of right?

    :

    (1)

    . To me, at least. I don’t know what it is; maybe the fact that not much time is passing and so there’s not time for much to happen besides the main plot of saving the ship? I definitely enjoyed a lot of scenes at the beginning, but it was a slow go for me. The scenes I liked were awesome, but the in-between stuff was a little boring?

    (2)

    . I mean, I know traumatic situations can bring people together. But when two people have known each other for like two minutes and they’re already thinking about how much they care about each other I just kinda roll my eyes. I have no problem with Tuck and Laura, but their interest in each other always feels forced upon them by the author to me.

    (3)

    . The mourners are cool (at least at the beginning), Pitch Dark is cool, but the Smithson family feels like such a random addition. Like, the story would hardly change without them existing. In theory, I like the idea of having opposition from so many sides, but all the sides need to contribute in order for it to work. As it is, the Smithsons just try to control Laura,

    . Eluding the control of the subjugator is far too easy, and they’re SO obvious about it that I don’t know why no one has discovered it before.

    (4)

    . It could be a really cool addition—a piece of parasitic technology that forces you to obey your oppressors and prevents you from revealing its presence to anyone—but it literally didn’t do

    .

    , whether by finding loopholes or using sheer willpower (um, okay?). I mean, come on. If this awesome device is secretly trapped under Laura’s skin,

    . I want Laura to actually do something terrible, to perhaps be seen by witnesses and be a real fugitive. (Yeah, she technically already is a fugitive, but it doesn’t really feel like it because it’s never a serious issue.) Or she could do horrible stuff in secret and have no way to warn anyone. Just, SOMETHING. Something besides Sebastian SUPER OBVIOUSLY telling her to walk on her injured and bloody feet in front of people and Laura awkwardly obeying. (Like, dude, like, how come no one has figured this out yet? HE’S SO OBVIOUS.) Also,

    .

    So there it is. This book does plenty of things well, has plenty of flaws, and is overall a pretty good book. I really hope more people pick it up.

  • Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    _____________

    Back in the springtime of my youth, when I still had time for hobbies outside of reading like video games, I was a rather big gamer. I played them all, and still have a pretty sizable collection of games that my book collection has of course far surpassed. One of my favorite gaming series was Dead Space, which was a pulse-pounding, terrifying and atmospheric sci-fi horror game set aboard a space station in the throes of an unsto

    _____________

    Back in the springtime of my youth, when I still had time for hobbies outside of reading like video games, I was a rather big gamer. I played them all, and still have a pretty sizable collection of games that my book collection has of course far surpassed. One of my favorite gaming series was Dead Space, which was a pulse-pounding, terrifying and atmospheric sci-fi horror game set aboard a space station in the throes of an unstoppable danger consuming the passengers trapped within its walls.

    Coming across this book at the bookstore was a lot like coming across Dead Space again. Even the premise is quite similar to the premise of the games:

    As a fan of horror and sci-fi blends in general, I know I'd appreciate this book for what it was. I just can't help feeling like it could have been something more, had it been given a bit more of a chance to develop.

    If you love stories that have constant action, you'll likely really enjoy this. The story begins with a bang immediately in chapter one, and is just relentless from that point on. The plot movement never lets up until the end.

    It's entertaining for sure, but there were some downsides to the story within all that momentum that I can't overlook.

    There are a number of plot holes caused by the fact that the story never takes the time to slow down and provide explanations. For example:

    Explaining the hows or whys of anything seem to fall by the wayside in favor of furthering the action and body horror scenes.

    She is definitely the most fleshed out of all the characters in the book. Tuck is a little less impressive than Laura, given that he's basically just a walking pop-culture quote dispensary. I kind of cringed reading all the references to 80s movies and Doctor Who though. Teens might love it, but they felt out of place given the situation the characters were placed in.

    Laura's storyline is the only one with any real gravitas, as it attempts to tackle what racism in the future might look like - what evils it might lead to as she is subjected to a different sort of body horror entirely when placed under the control of a body manipulating device called a Subjugator. This device gives her boyfriend and his affluent (and white) family complete control over her body, mind and voice.

    Especially as Laura never utilizes moments when she's free of its control to her advantage.

    Lastly, this book commits one of my least favorite cardinal YA sins: when teenage characters refuse to involve adult characters even when the situation is so dangerous that it calls for it.

    The stakes are literally life and death every moment in this story, yet Tuck and Laura take it upon themselves to save the day.

    I understand that it's young adult, but in a situation like the ones these characters were placed in, to have more than half the cast just sit back and let the two teenage characters handle things feels inherently false.

    This is not a bad read. I thought it was entertaining for what it was. It feels like a novelization straight out of the Dead Space universe. For fans of action packed stories, or sci-fi horror, you will find something you like here. I just think it could have been more than it was.

  • Ellen Gail

    I didn't know I could want something so much.

    ? Or I guess February 2018 now? I will wait for you book. We will be together.

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    Wait...I thought this was coming out this month...what do you mean this isn't coming out until February 2018? NO!!!!!!

    ---

    Alright, I was reluctant before, but now with the full synopsis coupled with this absolutely eerie, yet lovely cover, I am on board!

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.