Dead Silence by S.A Barnes

20 years ago, the Aurora, a luxury space vessel, went missing on its maiden voyage, carrying close to 700 people on board for a tour across the space. When the team lead of a comm web maintenance mission, Claire Kovalik, finds the lost ship, she has no idea that her decisions will unearth the horrors of the past.


I had no idea that I would come to enjoy reading Dead Silence as much as I did. I’m still taking baby steps towards the sci-fi realm, you see.

Copyright © 2022 Meera Nair

The first thing that drew me in is how it has been marketed – Titanic meets The Shining. As a newly initiated Stephen King fan, I knew I wouldn’t pass up on a book that has been compared to The Shining. And as I read this book, the faint resemblance was certainly there.

Dead Silence is a mild horror with a bit of gore and violence. The chapters alternate between the past and present, gaining momentum as more and more plot developments are revealed.

S. A Barnes’ writing is action-oriented, plunging her characters into the whirlwind of chaos that occurs when they enter the ghost ship. She does a great job of layering Claire’s life experience over the narrative, without making the storytelling too complex.

Her ability to create an atmosphere that is equal parts eerie and fascinating sold me on the whole promise of the novel. Here’s to hoping that she has more in store for us in the future!

From Claire being an unreliable narrator to the effect that the Aurora has on the minds of the crew, the author has imbued the book with several elements that keep you engrossed thoroughly.

You’d think that with all the space travel and sci-fi lingo, the impact of the storytelling may not be as effective. But from the moment we’re introduced to the Aurora, there are several spine-chilling scenes (WTF Claire! Who would look under the bed at night?!).

Seeing the world through Claire’s eyes makes you question everything you’re reading. There’s so much to her history that overshadows her present self. And the use of the memory loss trope adds to the suspense of it all.

Her character has been written as a team lead who is barely hanging on to her life. She has suffered great loss and the incident in her childhood has severely impacted her state of mind.

The crew don’t particularly get along, and Voller’s antagonistic role adds further tension to the plot progression.

There’s a very minor romance plot point written into the story. It didn’t feel natural to me, and I think even without it, the story would’ve read pretty much the same. The two relevant characters could’ve just as easily been colleagues or best friends.

Some aspects of the book may not be suitable for readers who are sensitive toward certain topics. And so, the trigger warnings required are for suicidal ideation, suicide, and childhood trauma.

The resolution of the mystery was unlike anything I’d thought of. I was prepared to believe something altogether different about what was going on on the Aurora. Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

All in all, the ambience, the story, and the execution make Dead Silence a fantastic read! It is easily one of my top favourite reads of 2022. Highly recommend it if you enjoy sci-fi or space mysteries.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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