Author: Kat Falls
Genre: YA Adventure
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 304 pages
Original Publishing Date: May 1st, 2010
Series: Dark Life #1
Where I got it: Audiobook form the e-library
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A thrilling futuristic adventure set deep undersea, Dark Life follows the settlers of the world's first subsea settlement as they defend their homesteads against a brazen band of outlaws.
Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.
The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family's homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws' attacks on government supply ships and settlements...
Main characters: 4/5
Ty was a fun main character. Point number one: he was male, which is always different and refreshing. Point two: he could be a little pigheaded sometimes but then would make you smile and make you so happy and feel warm and fuzzy. Point three: He was an adorable big brother. He definitely could have been developed further, but overall I was happy with Ty.
Secondary characters: 4/5
Gemma was a pretty awesome secondary character and love interest for Ty. There was a lot of hullaballoo about Gemma being the only young girl under the ocean, which became a little ridiculous (needless to say, somewhat problematic for gender relations), but when it counted, Gemma came through. She was determined, ambitious, kind, and sometimes a little thick-headed.
Zoe and Ty's parents were adorable. I loved Zoe and the bond that she had with her brother, and later with Gemma. I was also impressed with the characterization of Ty's parents, something that isn't very common in YA novels.
I was a little disappointed in a certain minor character who turned out to be bad. He was a little inflated and ridiculous, which made his "evilness" come off contrived and fake.
The main antagonist was far better however. I don't want to get into too much, to avoid spoilers, but I felt like he was well developed and had multiple motivations and a great deal of development.
Writing style: 4/5
Definitely intended for the slightly younger crowd (12-14ish), so sometimes the writing seemed a little juvenile. Overall though, it was exciting writing with a good mix of description and action. The pacing moved along well and I was entertained overall, with few lulls or boring parts. Falls was able to evoke an eerie underwater world that leaves readers fascinating and enthralled. The action scenes were excited and kept you on edge.
Huge props for world-building. After reading some sub-par undersea novels lately, I was pleasantly surprised by Falls' ability to create a darkly enchanting underwater world. The way the underwater creatures were described, the settler's farms and homes, even the scientific technology was all really well done.
As I mentioned in the writing style section, this novel was definitely intended for more middle grade readers. I could see this in the plot with some of the more whimsical (read: childish) plot sequences, particularly through the end where Ty's talent comes through to save the day.
Also, I was disappointed with the big twist. Again, I saw this one coming from miles away, although some of the details of how surprised me. Wish Falls had used a tiny bit more subtlety.
Sad that this is the first part of a sequel. What happened to all the standalones? As I mentioned earlier, I was a little disappointed in the twist because I definitely saw it coming, however the overall closing of the story was well wrapped up and worked well.
Best scene: The scene with Shade and Ty in Ty's house
Reminded Me Of: A far better version of Atlantia
Positives: Cute main characters, interesting plot, entertaining writing
Negatives: More character development would have been nice, some childish writing and plot elements, predictable twist
Cover: Not a huge fan of the font, but the illustrations are very evocative and give the atmosphere of the novel
Verdict: An interesting take on an underwater adventure with lots of fun worldbuilding!
Rating: 7.4 / 10 (4 stars)
Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!