Cally Black's first young adult novel won the Ampersand Prize. It wasn't the first novel she'd written, and it wasn't the first draft that made it through to the printers. She's been working on writing for a long time. Cally Black's universe is filled with stories from her childhood on hill country sheep stations to youthful backpacking adventures to more recent motorbike rides across the USA, but it's stories set in future worlds that fascinate her most. And while she loves science and technology and the way they shape our future, what really grabs her attention is the people, especially those left on the fringes of society. Cally works in education and lives in Melbourne with her family and a slightly nutty dog.
'If you're looking for a dark, utterly compelling story that will
have you reading at all hours, everywhere, get Cally Black's In
the Dark Spaces (Hardie Grant), winner of the Ampersand Prize.
Don't miss this book.'
- Frances Atkinson, The Age
'An ingenious, introspective and remarkable young adult debut.'
- Diva Booknerd
'In the Dark Spaces poses an interesting moral question - just who are the monsters? And it allows the reader to make their own decision in that regard. There are dark and disturbing moments here, but there is light as well. There is no end of drama and excitement here. The story is fast-paced and full of action, and even in its quieter moments is fraught with tension.'
'If you read just one sci-fi fantasy this year, make it In the Dark Spaces. It took my breath away on so many levels. Not only was I immersed in a new world where terrifying alien invaders become wise philosophers, I was also forced to face unimaginable questions. What would I be prepared to live for? What would I die for without hesitation?
What would you do if you were stolen from the only world you knew and the one reason that might keep you clinging to life was left behind?
A girl in her early teens watches as everyone in her home is murdered en masse. Then she faces an on-the-spot decision: blend in with the invaders or die.
She chooses to blend in.
With a missing baby cousin as her only motivation to keep going, she does things she would never normally sanction. She carries guilt so heavy she can barely move beneath it and finally she has to face the truth. Her allegiances have changed.
At first I thought In the Dark Spaces was a thriller, then I was convinced it was a tale of survival. After a while I decided it was a saga of loyalty. In truth, it's all of these and so much more. No wonder Cally Black won the Ampersand Prize with this genre-smashing hostage drama. Cally is a master story-teller. She plays with your heart and your mind and weaves a net you won't want to escape: all in a good way.
Buckle up and be prepared to lose a few hours on the In the Dark Spaces rollercoaster. It will leave you hungry for more.'
- Kids' Book Review
'Cally Black's In The Dark Spaces is an immersive sci-fi thriller that features some incredible aliens and insightful thoughts on human nature. While it's full of action and danger, the heart of the story revolves around family, morality, communication, and love in all its forms.
Exposition is scarce, but this works in the book's favour. At first, it's difficult to work out what's going on, but by the time the aliens show up, the reader is working things out at the same time that the protagonist is.
Unlike most sci-fi, these aliens don't speak English for simplicity's sake. Their language is made up of whistles and other bird-like sounds, and not all of their words have a direct translation. Black has carefully crafted her novel to create an intelligent species that is different from humans in their culture and values, yet are still believable as aliens. The novel creates a rich and immersive world that feels familiar and foreign all at once.
In The Dark Spaces has as much capacity to shock as it does to warm hearts. The violence and terror that Tamara experiences only makes her moments of tenderness even stronger. As a young girl living a life of secrecy and risk, the only thing that ties her to the world is her family. Her love for her blood family is what keeps her alive, but finding new families amongst aliens and humans alike force her to make difficult decisions that make us question what we think we know about wrong and right.
Tamara's passion and loyalty drive this pulse-quickening novel, her need to survive overpowered by her need to save her loved ones. She isn't an endlessly optimistic protagonist - she doesn't see the good in everyone, but if good presents itself to her, she will stand by it.
In The Dark Spaces poses deeply provoking questions about where our allegiances lie and how we treat people who act differently to us. It challenges the selfishness of human nature but also shows humanity's depth of compassion and the curiosity that helps us understand others.'
- Tahlia, Squishy Minnie
In the Dark Spaces poses an interesting moral question - just who are the monsters? And it allows the reader to make their own decision in that regard. There are dark and disturbing moments here, but there is light as well.
There is no end of drama and excitement here. The story is fast paced and full of action, and even in its quieter moments is fraught with tension. * http://www.nicolehasread.com/ *