Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult / Horror
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 shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.
Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.
In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.
Courtney Alameda's Pitch Dark is a standalone, young adult, horror novel told in alternating narratives by Tuck Morgan and Laura Cruz. Pitch Dark tells the story of a lost spaceship (USS John Muir) that left Earth some 400 years ago thanks to a mass evacuation from Earth and other factors I'll not spoil for you. The Muir, loaded with all sorts of amazing stuff, drifted in space for 400 years before its inhabitants, like Tuck, were awakened by a faulty AI who runs the ship.
22 months later, Tuck and other survivors attempt to right their dying ship, and stay alive by diving deep into areas over taken by pretty dangerous monsters. Tuck is also one of the curators onboard responsible the overall maintenance and whatever else needs to be done to keep the ship alive. That means facing mutant creatures called griefers who use harmonic resonance to find their prey, and the Mourners who were once humans. With no hope of being rescued, it becomes a life or death struggle to get where you need to be.
Meanwhile, onboard (SS Panam) nearby, Laura Cruz is from a shipraiding family of archaeologists who are attempting to recover lost treasures from Earth. One of their discoveries is the Muir which may hold the answer to saving existing colonies. She desperately works to rid herself of the very thing that threatens her free will so she can warn her family of the dangers on board, when a hacker overrides her attempts and crashes their ship into the John Muir causing a cross between the past, Tuck, and the future, Laura.
Tuck and Laura couldn't be more different. Tuck loves to use pop culture references from the 80's, including Doctor Who, while Laura has immersed herself in the latest technology while looking forward to a career as an archaeologist on her own merits, not just her family's. Tuck has major issues, and therefore uses comedy and sarcasm as a crutch. He truly believes he has nothing to lose. Laura is impulsive, adventurous, brilliant, and strong willed. Put the two characters together and you have a dynamic duo, who, by the way, never once asked any of the adults, including Laura's parents, for help when kimchee was hitting the fan and things looked their bleakest.
I found the ending to be lacking. Sorry, but that's just the way I feel. I don't like preaching novels, and the author definitely tried to use the ending to send a message about something or the other that I totally ignored until I got to the final page. I also found the lack of secondary characters onboard the Muir to be shocking. Yes, Tuck is a loner. Yes, he does have issues with good reasons if you actually read the book. But, there are those who actually could have stepped in and helped had he just asked. Why didn't Tuck tell Laura's parents what was happening to Laura and who was to blame? These things lowered my overall rating.