Title: Dark Life
Author: Kat Falls
Genre: Juvi, YA, Dystopian, slight romance, action, adventure
Perfect for: readers across the board-- younger YA readers and older YA readers! (first book in series)
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Taken from Goodreads, "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."
You know the awesome feeling you get when you pick up a book thinking you'll read it to kill a little time, only to then look up and see you've spent half the day sucked into a fantastically, addictive story? That was my experience with 'Dark Life' by Kat Falls. It was recommended that I take a look at the debut novel. I put it off, as juvi fiction is somewhat hit or miss for me and the cover wasn't as appetizing to my palette as I would have liked, but after reading it, I must say, 'Dark Life' rocked.
As far as cons go, the few I found were pretty minuscule. While the dystopian world is described well, small details about the characters took a while to be mentioned. For example, I didn't know for sure how old the characters were until two-thirds of the way into 'Dark Life' when Ty mentioned how far he was away from getting his own bit of land. I had assumed that they were around 15 because of the voice, but it was a bit annoying not knowing! Another reader I spoke to was unsure of the gender of Ty, the main male character, until a few chapters in. Little details like gender and age can be forgotten so easily, so I understand, but it did bother me a bit!
While this isn't all together a con, the ending of the novel did feel a bit rushed. I think that came from the fact that so much happened in 'Dark Life' that the slow down was bound to feel abrupt. The ending wasn't bad by any means, it was just quicker than I would have liked.
Now, on to the good stuff-- and there was plenty! I loved the world Falls set up. It was one of the more unique dystopian worlds I've read. It seems that YA is full of novels set in underground tunnels or dark city streets, but I haven't read one set in an underwater environment like Falls created. She created a world that was simple to understand, but was pretty complex at the same time.
The story played out like a movie, which might be the reason Disney picked up the film rights prior to the books release. 'Dark Life' is definitely a novel that can be described as an action/adventure. It didn't lag and just when you thought you'd figured something out, something new happened! The story should entertain middle grade readers, as well as older YA readers.
For those romance readers, there was a very small bit of romance in the novel. Most of the 'romantic' bits were very first love/school yard romance-esc. The story was more concentrated on the action and the slight (very slight) bit of romance there was never crossed into 'teen only' territory!
The best thing about this novel? Even though it has a sequel, 'Rip Tide', it has a complete beginning, middle, and end. You're not left on a huge cliff hanger, like many series that have come out in the last year. It could have even been a standalone, if Falls had wanted it to be!
If you haven't read 'Dark Life', I suggest giving it a try. I think you'll like it! Both 'Dark Life' and 'Rip Tide' are available everywhere books are sold! 'Dark Life' gets 4 out of 5 stars!