Author: Kat Falls
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books (UK) | Scholastic Press (US)
Publication Date: May 2010 (UK & US)
Paperback: 297 Pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Review Copy
Reviewed by: Laura
RATING: 7/10 – Very good, would definitely recommend
Dive deep into the vivid underwater world of Dark Life!
The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor: the Dark Life.
Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea. When outlaws attack his homestead, he finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life. Secrets that threaten to destroy everything.
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the future when the world has been consumed by the oceans. People live in cramped high rise blocks on the limited land available, lucky to have two rooms per family. But there are some that choose a very different life entirely and decide to live the ‘darklife’ and make their homes at the bottom of the sea.
Now, if you like me think that living at the bottom of the sea means a life in oppressive submarines, think again. Kat Wells’ under sea world is magical and vividly drawn. With homes built from jellyfish style structures, liquid gel that means people can dive without the risk of decompression sickness, electricity and entire farms and rural wildlife surviving in this new world, as well as dangerous deep sea creatures. It really is fabulously clever.
Ty has lived on the ocean’s floor all his life. At fifteen, he was the first child to be born and live his entire life under the sea. But there are rumours that this new life damages children, giving them a ‘darkgift’, a new supernatural ability. Which has made topsiders suspicious of darklifers and other people reticent to try this new life for themselves.
Then, during a dive Ty meets Gemma. Gemma is a gutsy topsider searching for her missing brother. But the more Ty and Gemma begin to investigate and look for Gemma’s brother, the more they begin to realise things are really not what they seem in this new world.
This book has a nice element of drama to it. With an underwater outlaw group raiding homesteads and submarines, a small murder mystery, as well as the dangers of the deep. It’s actually a really absorbing read.
As Ty is fifteen, I would say that this book is on the younger side of YA. But it’s pitched really well, with just a small romantic element. Ty is grown up and brave for his age, and a really engaging main character. As this is slightly on the younger side, I probably would not have picked this book up ordinarily if it had not been sent to me for review, which would have been a real shame, because I really enjoyed it. But more than anything I just loved the deep sea world.
A great book with a spectacular world setting that will appeal to adults both young and old. This is one of those books I would love to see translated into film, because of its cinematic quality.
Book #19 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011