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Friday, 16 April 2010

Review: Dark Life

Author: Kat Falls
Release date: August 2010
Genre: Sci-fi Adventure / Underwater Western / Dystopia
Target audience: 10+

Summary from Goodreads:
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...
... threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.
Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.


Review:
Dark Life is a fascinating tale which has an old-school charm. It takes me back to a time when I used to watch Westerns at my grandparents' house. But there is nothing out-dated about this book, it is a novel set in the future after the collapse of the the world's infrastructure because of the rising oceans. Brave pioneers set out to build a life beneath the oceans and the story follows Ty, the child of two scientists who live beneath the waves and were the first Benthic Territory settlers. Ty was the first child born sub-sea level. He is as much a part of the ocean as any fish and he has grand plans to stake his claim on an area and make it his home. Unfortunately, there are dangerous outlaws raiding government ships and their actions are threatening the survival of the subsea settlers. It is all so good I have the desire to call them "filthy varmints" and don a cowboy hat. Yee ha!
 
The author has an extraordinary talent for transporting us to an underwater world which still holds so much mystery for humanity. We always hear scientists talking about exploration of planets, stars and galaxies but we still have not explored every inch of the astounding world beneath the water's surface. The amazing descriptions of the sea life in Dark Life really captivated me. As did, all the ingenius tools that the author invented for humans to be able to live below sea-level. The imaginative power of this book really blew me away.
 
The plot itself is relatively simple. In this way it does imitate the traditional western although I feel far from an expert to be able to comment more fully on this. It was certainly gripping although it lacked twists. The characterisation was another huge strength of this book but Ty is completely believable and a great perspective to read the story from. The other child characters are also interesting. Gemma was a great leading lady. She had bags of gusto and her wittisms made me chuckle. Ty's sister Zoe was a little bizarre with her obsession with scary ocean creatures but in a really good way. Hewitt had very understandable frustrations about living under the sea and I could emphathise easily with his loneliness.
 
The unusual descriptions and attention to oceanic detail were one of my favourite things about this book. It has a huge appeal for anyone remotely interested in sea life. Dark Life is also very complete in itself but I felt that there could have been more exploration of the dark gifts. This makes me think a sequel is in order.
 
Overall, a fascinating story which will take you to the far reach of the ocean floor. It will entertain you with its funny dialogue and have you rather enamoured of its hero. A great read which I definitely recommend!
 
Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for sending me a copy to review.

14 comments:

brizmus said...

This review as amazing, and I'm so glad you loved this. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem like the kind of book I would like. I almost feel suffocated just thinking about where it takes place.

The Book Bug said...

Wow review! I won a copy of this a while back which has failed to get off its butt and mail itself, but when I do get to read it I will keep you review in mind :)

prophecygirl said...

Great review Becky. I think this one is going to be big!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fascinating. Awesome review. I must add this to my TBR list.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review, Becky! I really loved this so I'm glad you really enjoyed it. And wasn't the world Kat Falls created amazing?!

LovesSam said...

Like Jenny said, I think this one is going to be really big, and I just love our cover. i am excited to immerse myself in this underwater world!

I Want To Read That said...

Sounds good - adding it to my to-buy list:) Thanks for the review:)

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Thanks for a fascinating review - it sounds like Kat Falls has created an amazing world and it's really great to hear all about this book.

Natasa said...

GREAT review! This one is already on my to-read list and you've just encouraged me to get it even more ASAP. It releases just two days after my birthday :D

Lauren said...

Fab review - I'm definitely with you on this one. It's super fun and the descriptions are beautiful. To be honest I didn't find it the most believable sci-fi ever, but I really *really* enjoyed suspending my disbelief. I also agree that a sequel would be most welcome!

Sarah said...

Fab review as always Becky! I loved the underwater world that Kat Falls created & would love to visit it LOL. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did :o) It did mention on the press release that she was working on a sequel but it didn't say any more than that - I hope we don't have to wait too long before we can read it!

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

I hadn't heard of this one before and now I've read two good reviews about it. Sounds really good and different from some other things out there.

Linna (21 ♡ pages) said...

Yay, more dystopian! And a very unique concept, too. I just think it's so mind-boggling how we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the oceans.Anyways, I'm super intrigued by this book :)

Ryan Woods said...

Excellent review Becky! Glad you enjoyed the book as much as me! Really looking forward to what she has to offer in the future!