Brady Garrett is back on Earth. He’s living with his partner Cam and they’re raising his sister Lucy together. Life is better than some feral reffo from Kopa has any right to hope, and Brady knows it. He’s even grateful for it, most of the time. He loves Cam, even though he’s afraid that he’s not good enough for him, and he’s still having nightmares about the alien Faceless.
Cameron Rushton loved being a pilot once, and he still feels the pull of the starlight. He’s building a life with Brady now, and with Lucy. Life is good, even if it’s not without its complications. Both Brady and Cam are dealing with the endless cycle of interviews, tests, and questions that the military hierarchy hopes will reveal the secrets of the aliens who could very easily destroy humanity. They have each other though, and together they’re making it work.
I really appreciate it when an author can write a series of books in which each book builds upon the last, but each is its own distinct chapter in the characters’ lives. That’s exactly what Henry has done with both books in the Dark Space series. Darker Space continues the story of Brady and Cam’s life together since reuniting with Lucy and resuming their military service, on Earth. While Brady had a possibility of advancement when in space, back on Earth he’s been relegated to janitorial work and as much as he hates it, he comforts himself with Cam and Lucy – the only things in his life worth fighting for. But when residual effects from Cam and Brady’s time with the Faceless begin to reappear, the men are left wondering WHO they will be fighting against.
Henry has a wonderful way with words in Darker Space. With the story being told from Brady’s point of view, his introspective nature sucked me into his mindset. I felt Brady’s fears, his frustrations, and his anger at the military officials, the Faceless, and the universe. Even more, I felt his love for Cam and Lucy. And all of this was magnified when the mental connection between him and Cam was reestablished and expanded. While Brady reiterates in the story time and time again that he was never meant to be a hero, as the story unfolds, we find that he was far more of a hero than anyone ever realized – except for Cam and Lucy, because Brady would always be their hero. We learn that Brady was perfect in his imperfections and Cam and Lucy weren’t the only ones to recognize him for who he was.
There is a LOT that goes down in this installment and I’m trying my best not to reveal any major spoilers. I do have to reveal that after a series of events, Cam and Brady find themselves back on the Defender Three along with a cadre of other officers. While Brady’s self-doubt regularly leads to him feeling worthless, it is his experience as an enlisted man (basically drafted into service) that helps save most of his companions’ lives once things go bad on the ship. When forced to face his biggest fear, Brady also realizes that the fear of losing Cam and Lucy far outweighs all other fears he had – making him numb to them. Cam and the other officers might have been fighters, but Brady was a survivor and he learned just how far he would go to survive for those he loved. Because of this, I felt we saw a huge amount of character growth and development on his part. Although we don’t get the story from Cam’s perspective, we still get to see some of the events play out from his point of view through his and Brady’s connection. I actually loved how Henry made that connection work to give us events from more than Brady’s perspective – even if they were still filtered through his awareness. I LOVED the scene in which Brady flips off Doc and actually laughed out loud. But the best part, the very best part, is that while Darker Space is a whole story that concludes this chapter in Brady and Cam’s lives, Henry leaves the ending open for the next chapter – not a cliffhanger, but rather a whetting of the appetite.