Book Review : Dark Life (Dark Life, #1) by Kat Falls

Dark Life (Dark Life, #1)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Scholastic, Inc.
Available on Amazon | Boomerang Books | *The Book Depository
Dark Life is set in the near future when global warming has caused the oceans to rise and reduced America to half its former size. 16-year-old Ty and his family live on an ocean floor homestead. When outlaws attack the pioneer settlement, Ty teams up with a girl from the "Topside" who's come sub-sea to search for her brother. Together they face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town's rough underworld to discover the secret behind the outlaws' eerie abilities called Dark Gifts.

I couldn't fathom why I took so long to reach (read) this book - it has been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for so long. I'm so glad I finally read it, because it's superb! Dark Life is set in a futuristic world where the rising sea-levels have sunken most of the lands and scientists and pioneers are starting to test the possibilities of living under the sea. Of course, most people still prefer to live on land, even though they are forced to cramp with each other due to the limited spaces.

Ty is a great character. He has an irrefutable love for the sea and its inhabitants. Growing up subsea, he loves to explore every crook and cranny of the sea and enjoys a good adventure of escaping a school of aggressive green lantern sharks. Unlike any other hormonal teenage boy, his thoughts of Gemma, a girl he encountered on board of an abandoned sub, is without ill-thoughts, if you know what I mean. Being a morally upright person, Ty has an inborn sense of justice which does not sway even though the circumstances are complicated.

Gemma is someone you'd like at first sight, but you'll then learn that she is actually rash and compulsive. She never thinks about the consequences to her actions as her sole mission is to find her brother, and she is willing to do anything to achieve her goal. However, she is a nice and likeable character - she is always raising her hand to offer her help (though most of the time she isn't much of a help). Gemma and Ty make the perfect couple. Ty, with his quick-thinking and cautious nature, balances out Gemma's recklessness. He is always there to back her up when she gets into trouble.

The story is fast-paced and action-packed. In every chapter, you're introduced to something new, be it a fact about the sea or its inhabitants, a concept of how the underwater homesteads function or a twist in the plot. You'll never get bored of it. Instead, you'll find yourself wanting more and more!

It is obvious that the author has done some research for this book as she is able to name certain sea creatures that only exists in the deep blue sea. By this, I mean creatures that can only be found deep under the sea, such as the bioluminiscent anglerfish. Also, the author introduces to us a refreshing concept of living under the sea within jellyfish-like homesteads while breathing in liquified oxygen known as Liquigen so that the lungs can still function while one is swimming in the high-pressured depths of the sea.

The concept of Dark Gifts is quite fascinating. I'm not going to say more about this, lest I accidentally reveal spoilers, but I mean it when I say it's awesome. The ending of the story is something that I'd not expected and never saw coming, which is definitely a good sign. The author manages to tie up loose ends at the end of the story and gives me the pleasure of seeing the story ending with a conclusion.

Dark Life presents readers with a magical place where the sounds, colors and smells will invade your sense and grip your heart. It made me fall in love with an amazing new world under the sea; it taught me to appreciate the natural beauty of marine life. You'll never regret reading this book!

Rating: 5
Kat Falls
Kat Falls lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband, theater director Robert Falls, their three children and a whole slew of pets. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an undergrad and went on to receive an MFA in screenwriting from Northwestern University.

Kat came up with the idea for her debut novel, Dark Life (Scholastic Press, May 2010), during a writing exercise. Knowing that her 11-year-old son loved reading about the ocean, Wild West pioneers and, of course, the X-Men, she combined his interests and created a story premise that kept her up nights plotting and world-building.

Watch the DARK LIFE trailer!

4 creative remarks:

Sandy said...

A friend of mine saw the sequel to this book and picked it up the same day and then she ordered the first book so she could read them in order xD. It has a very pretty cover and it sounds like my kind of read, I love the ocean but I wonder if the setting would unsettle me like books set in space ships do hmm.

Heather said...

This sounds like an incredible, unique concept. I'm sold. Definitely checking it out.

Aik said...

@Sandy: I think that's the reason why I waited for so long before I finally pick up this book. I was worried that I might not like it. But the story itself proves me wrong. I still don't feel like reading books set in outer space or in spaceships, though.

@Heather: Yes, it is a wise thing to do. However, please note that this book is targeted at middle grade readers. Which is also why I feel surprised that I actually loved it. Does that mean I'm still a kid at heart? :)

Anonymous said...

my school made me read this book lame! its boring im ending this stupid book and reading Tokoyo Heist.