Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

What a creepy and atmospheric story! Pitch Dark is a fast-paced and frightening story; I was completely sucked in on the first page and captivated until the very end.

About the Book

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends  |  Release Date: February 20, 2018  |  Pages: 378
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction  |  Format: Hardcover  |  Source: Purchased

Pitch Dark coverFrom Courtney Alameda, the author of Shutter, this thrilling, sci-fi horror and space adventure will be sure to stay with readers long after the last pages.

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

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My Review

“Blackness, a sort of darkness we didn’t have on Earth. A perfect pitch dark. A complete absence of light. Void-like. Terrible.”

What a creepy and atmospheric story! Pitch Dark is a fast-paced and frightening story; I was completely sucked in on the first page and captivated until the very end. There are so many different layers of complexity here and Alameda crafted a really good book. My friend Destiny recommended this book to me months ago after I read and fell in love with Contagion by Erin Bowman, and when I saw it available on BookOutlet for $6 back in September I had to get it. She gets an A+ for this book recommendation, if you enjoyed Contagion or other horror/sci-fi mashups then this book is for you!

“Being alive isn’t the same thing as living.”

It’s 2435 and what is left of humanity has taken to the stars after destroying Earth. Humanity has seen a lot of change since going off into space, but much of the monstrous parts of humanity – bigotry, racism – remain. An underlying theme of the book is whether or not humanity is worth saving, and what it means to be worthy of redemption.

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The narrative is told in the alternating perspectives of Tuck and Laura, juxtaposing the past and present that helps to bring to life Alameda’s social commentary.

💖 Tuck is from 2087 and is a crewmember on the John Muir. The ship and crew were part of the Exodus fleet from Earth after the planet’s resources were depleted. He loves pop culture references and is incredibly caring.

💖 Laura is from the “present” time of 2435 and is a crewmember on the Conquistador, a marauding ship. She is the Latina daughter of archaeologists that specialize in locating and preserving artifacts from the Earth era. She’s a genius when it comes to technology and is incredibly strong. She doesn’t need a man to save her; she will rescue herself.

The book opens with Tuck waking up from being in cryo-sleep for almost 400 years alone to a bunch of empty pods and horrific creatures. The terror unfolds as he and the other human survivors adjust to their new reality aboard the John Muir.

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

Fate brings these two teens together and it is up to them to work together to save all of humanity… no small feat with monsters around every corner. I really enjoyed reading Tuck and Laura’s banter as they forged a fast friendship (like you do during life and death situations).

Alameda did an excellent job building the anxiety and fear the characters feel, and the creatures are described disturbingly well. This book delivers on the horror. I was completely immersed in the story. The horror of the immediate story and situation was captivating, but where I did wish to see more of the sabotage angle explained. For me, it did feel like the overall world and history built outside of the immediate horrors aboard the John Muir were left largely unresolved. This isn’t a bad thing: the book came to a resolution, but I was invested and intrigued in the Pitch Dark framing and would have liked to see more of that.

We get to see a lot of Laura’s crew and relationships, but I didn’t really see much camaraderie between Tuck’s crewmates. The side effect of this for me was that Tuck felt more like a plot device to bring the history into the story than a fully fledged character. I think this may ultimately be why the romance didn’t work for me, Tuck’s interests seemed out of place.

“Blackness, a sort of darkness we didn’t have on Earth. A perfect pitch dark. A complete absence of light. Void-like. Terrible.”

I absolutely LOVED the diverse representation in this book! My heart grew two sizes when I hit the second chapter and read words in Spanish. Growing up in Southern California (essentially right by the Mexican border), the language has always been a part of my vocabulary. Coupled with the fact that Laura is strong and brilliant, this book has positive Latinx representation and it is absolutely refreshing! I want more!

Overall this is an excellent and fast-paced horror story! The writing style flows well and this is an excellent combination of the horror and sci-fi genres. The technology included is really interesting but doesn’t overtake the narrative either. If you like infection/mutation science fiction stories, I definitely recommend this book to you!

REPRESENTATION: diverse characters, Latinx main character (Laura)
CONTENT WARNINGS: racism (challenged), violence


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

25 Comments

  1. Lindsi

    November 27, 2018 at 11:01 PM

    I don’t know if this one would be a good fit for me since horror terrifies me, but I’m glad it worked for you! It sounds like a solid read with enjoyable characters. Also, I’m loving your wintery mountains — lovely!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 28, 2018 at 4:46 PM

      This is definitely something I wouldn’t recommend for you then, it is pretty terrifying (which I loved)! Thank you so much, the winter mountains may be here forever because I love them so much.

      1. Lindsi

        November 28, 2018 at 8:36 PM

        I have a very vivid imagination, so horror movies and books translate into the worst dreams. I watched a scary movie once and had unrelated nightmares for a month, haha.

        Also, I made all of the review icons on my blog! I also made them available for public use, and they’re free. I wanted to do something nice for the blogging community, and decided to be crafty! There’s a tab at the top of my page with more information, and it also lists all of the tags so you can copy them for your personal use. <3

        Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          December 2, 2018 at 3:21 PM

          I totally get why you wouldn’t want to read scary stuff, my imagination mostly doesn’t get me into trouble and (thankfully for nightmares) I don’t really remember my dreams.

          I will have to check them out, thanks for letting me know!

  2. Norrie

    November 28, 2018 at 6:15 AM

    Damn, this sounds pretty cool!
    Those quotes made me shiver 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 28, 2018 at 4:46 PM

      Norrie this book was so good! SO GOOD. I really enjoyed it a bunch!

  3. Beth Tabler

    November 28, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    This sounds way cool!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 28, 2018 at 4:48 PM

      It was such a neat book and I really loved how Alameda wove in social commentary, it was really masterful.

  4. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    November 28, 2018 at 2:42 PM

    Yaaaaaaaaaaay, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 28, 2018 at 4:49 PM

      Thank you so much for recommending it to me, and I can’t wait to read Shutter!

  5. November’s Blogsphere Highlights #2 (2018) | BiblioNyan

    November 30, 2018 at 4:02 AM

    […] Kaleena presents us with an excellent review for a science-fiction book, Pitch Dark, that is equally spine-tingly as it is marvellously […]

  6. sammers65

    November 30, 2018 at 7:36 AM

    So this is going on my TBR and there is nothing you can say or do about it.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 2, 2018 at 3:25 PM

      GOOD! I think you will really enjoy it, so please scream at me when you finally get around to reading it!

  7. November in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    December 2, 2018 at 9:29 AM

    […] Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda: I was completely sucked in on the first page and captivated until the very end. There are so many different layers of complexity here and Alameda crafted a really good book. The writing style flows well and this is an excellent combination of the horror and sci-fi genres. The technology included is really interesting but doesn’t overtake the narrative either. If you like infection/mutation science fiction stories, I definitely recommend this book to you! 📖 Read my full review of Pitch Dark here. […]

  8. Mission Complete: exit through the book store

    December 3, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    […] Courtney Alameda – Pitch Dark | Reader Voracious […]

  9. Award: Mystery Blogger Award #3

    December 13, 2018 at 4:01 AM

    […] Nominees: Kat @ Novels & Waffles Priyasha @ Books and Co. Lexie @ Reading By Starlight Kaya @ A Fictional Bookworm Ivy @ Ivy’s Well Used Library Card The Nerdy Book Fairy Jen @ mommablogsalot Nia @ Shades 0f Paper Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books Kaleena @ Reader Voracious […]

  10. Library Loot #10: Science-Fiction Horror & Psychological Thrillers! | BiblioNyan

    December 21, 2018 at 6:02 PM

    […] Dark is a book that wasn’t even on my radar until I read this fantastic review by Kaleena. I love science-fiction horror, but I don’t read enough it, especially not YA (it’s harder to […]

  11. My Favorite 2018 Reads – Reader Voracious Blog

    January 1, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    […] 💀 Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda is a book that Destiny recommended to me after I fell in love with Contagion. I picked it up when I saw it on BookOutlet and purposefully didn’t read any reviews for it, reading it this November. I was blown away by the narrative and atmosphere, and absolutely loved the philosophical underlying theme of whether or not humanity is worth saving and what it means to be worthy of redemption. I was immersed into the story and Alameda builds the horror so that this fast-paced read has you on the edge of your seat. The diversity in this book, especially reading Spanish, is fantastic and I definitely recommend reading the Afterword when finished to see where Alameda got her inspiration for this story. | 📖 Read my full review […]

  12. Shutter by Courtney Alameda – Reader Voracious Blog

    March 28, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    […] for pulling together the lore and worldbuilding in her stories. While I enjoyed her sophomore novel Pitch Dark a bit more than this debut, it is obvious from that Alameda is incredibly talented. If you enjoy […]

  13. Phantom Paper

    March 29, 2019 at 3:43 AM

    How did I miss this review?? Gosh, this story is so exciting! Sounds a lot like Contagion(which I’ve GOT to start on some day soon!) I don’t like horror but this kind I think I can handle. Fantastic review!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      April 16, 2019 at 6:07 PM

      It’s funny you mention Contagion, because I actually read this book at Destiny’s recommendation after FALLING IN LOVE with that book! If you wind up enjoying Contagion, you will probably enjoy this one — it’s a really good comparison title.

      1. Phantom Paper

        April 27, 2019 at 11:41 AM

        Hahaha 😄 Oh, I shall keep this on my radar!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          May 13, 2019 at 7:33 PM

          GOOD IT IS EXCELLENT OKAY

          1. Phantom Paper

            May 13, 2019 at 11:55 PM

            Hahahahaha 😂

  14. Phantom Paper

    March 29, 2019 at 3:44 AM

    Bummer though that Tuck felt like a plot device. Kind of breaks the suspension of disbelief.

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