Scholastic, May 2010
Apocalyptic future, societies living on the ocean floor, crazy out-laws, oh doesn't that sound excellent. The whole idea of society living on the ocean floor seems new and original for YA, and it's all wrapped up into a dysoptia, how perfect.
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.Let's get the bad out of the way first: I had a hard time getting in the story. I really liked the premise and the characters especially Gemma, but for some reason I wasn't dying to find out what would happen to them. There was a lot suspense and the "villain" character was awesome, so I'm not sure what prevented me from absolutely loving this book. The main issue, I think was I came into the novel thinking YA, older characters, and the characters are fairly young and the story felt very very Middle Grade, which I really didn't expect. Maybe that's really the only basis for my issues with the book.
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. From Goodreads site
On to the good: have I said how much I love the idea of society on the ocean floor?! The underwater world Falls has created was amazing; I especially loved all the detail given about how the homes function, how the people "farm" and raise animals. It all seemed perfectly logical, nothing too far-fetched. I could easily picture every part of Ty's world.
And Ty himself is an excellent middle grade boy character; he's adventurous, brave, nervous around girls, a little awkward, devoted to his family. Young boys will totally relate to him especially since he always feels so different. And Gemma, his female sidekick is funny, smart, stubborn, brave; girls and boys will like her and relate to her struggle to find her brother and a sense of family. The rest of the cast is excellent created as well, especially the various "villains;" all of whom are more than just bad-guys out to destroy society.
Excellent Middle Grade dystopia adventure story. I think I would have really loved it if I hadn't been so stuck on assuming it was older YA.
Add to your to-read pile