Dark Life, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Ty has lived under the ocean for his entire life. Following global warming and the rise of the seas, his family joined an underwater community in hopes of living in the new frontier of the ocean floor.

But When Ty meets Gemma, a girl from "topside", who is searching the seas for her brother, she quickly makes his life very complicated.

Together Ty and Gemma face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town's rough underworld as they search for her missing brother.

But the deeper they dig, the more attention they attract, and soon Ty and Gemma find themselves being hunted by a gang of outlaws who roam the underwater territories causing havoc, and who seem to have eerie abilities.

But Ty has a secret of his own, living underwater for his entire life has meant he has also developed a "special" power.

Can he keep it a secret from Gemma and his family or is it time for him to finally tell everyone the truth?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9781847387615

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

I had been wanting to read this book forever. When I saw that the 2nd book in the series, Rip Tide, was due out soon I decided to pick this book up at my local library. It was a great read. It wasn't as complex of a story as I was hoping for but the characters were engaging and the world absolutely fascinating.Ty lives in an undersea colony. After earthquakes shattered continents and toppled them into the oceans humans have two choice: live on an overcrowded landmass or live in an experimental ocean colony. Ty is the first kid to be born and raised undersea; it seems that growing up under that much pressure does something to children's brains giving them strange powers called Dark Gifts. When Ty's home is threatened by the Seablight gang; the Commonwealth abandons the underwater colonies telling them to deal with the gang problem themselves. Then a girl shows up named Gemma; she is a Topsider searching for her brother. There is a lot more going on with the Seablight gang than anyone initially knows and Gemma may be tied to it all.This was a very good read. The writing style was a bit simpler than I was hoping for and definitely targets a Middle grade age group. Still, it was easy to read and engaging. I absolutely love the idea of humans trying to survive under the ocean. Falls put a lot of thought into how humans would survive under the ocean and came up with some great ideas. I also loved the idea behind the Dark Gifts and really hope we get to read more about that in future books.The book is done from Ty's point of view; as a reader we spend most of our time with Ty and Gemma. Both were very likable characters. It took me a bit to really get engaged with them though. Ty comes off as very stand-offish early on, Gemma as kind of a brat....but by the end of the book I really liked them and enjoyed reading about them. The characters around them aren't filled out very well. We do get to learn a lot about Ty's sister Zoe and she was also an intriguing character.I was kind of hoping that the main conflict in this book was over something really central to the dystopian set up; I was a bit disappointed that it ended up being a gang they were trying to track down. I guess I was hoping for something more far-reaching. As I reached the end of the book though I was happy to see that future books in this series promise to introduce more far-reaching issues and conflicts. This book was more like an introduction to this world than anything.The book wraps up neatly but it is clear that there will be future stories involving Ty and Gemma and the Seablight gang.While the book mainly focuses on building up this really cool undersea world for the readers there are some serious issues touched on. Overcrowding is discussed as is "racial" discrimination (the kids with the Dark Life are feared, and there is a lot of tension between the Dark Life dwellers and the Topsiders). You don't get to learn a lot about the broader world; the focus is kept pretty tight and just deals with the immediate area the characters live in.Overall I really enjoyed the world that is set up here and ended enjoying the characters too by the end of the book. I am eager to read about future undersea adventures and learn more about this world as a whole. I was hoping for a story that was a bit more complex and for something a bit more far-reaching; this book is mainly introducing the reader to this world and doesn't delve very deeply into how the world got that way or the deeper consequences of what is happening to the world as a whole. Still those were just my expectations coming in.The writing style is pretty simple and easy to read; it's appropriate for younger kids as well as older. Readers who love dystopians and are intrigued by the idea of humans living in the ocean should find this book an excellent read.

Review by

Summary:Dark Life takes place in an apocalyptic future time, when the ozone layer has been depleted and a large portion of the Earth is underwater. With space being limited, people resort to living either in crowded "stack cities", slathering their skin with zinc oil to protect them from the sun's harmful rays or going sub-sea.Ty, a fifteen year old boy, lives underwater in a settlement called Benthic Territory. A place where underwater pioneers farm the sea floor in exchange for a land deed. His parents, the scientists responsible for designing the territory were among the first settlers of the territory. Ty was the first child ever born sub-sea. He dreams of someday farming his own plot of land, which he can purchase on his eighteen birthday.Recently, however, the homesteaders have come under attack by the outlaws in the Sea Blithe Gang. A malicious gang attacking government supply ships who have now started invading homesteads. Ty's parents are becoming concerned living sub-sea may no longer by a safe place to raise a family. Plus, the government threatens to shutdown Benthic Territory, forcing the sea dwellers "topside" unless the gang is captured - dead or alive.Ty absolutely refuses to let a gang of outlaws step in the way of his dreams, he vows to bring these lawbreakers to justice, even if he has to do it alone or if it means risking his life. But then he meets Gemma, a beautiful young "topsider" on sort of a quest of her own. She is searching for her long lost brother. Together they embark on an undersea adventure which involves, mystery, outlaws, government cover-ups and unexpected discoveries you wont want to miss!Ramblings:BACKGROUNDThis is the debut novel for author Kat Falls, she came up with the idea by combining three things that her son loved to read about into one story – the ocean, Old West pioneers, and the X-Men. This is the first book in a series, of unknown length. The next book Rip Tide is due to be released in August 2011.SETTING, PACE AND & STYLEDark Life takes place in the future, in an underwater settlement called Benthic Territory. This book is action packed. In the first scene of the book the reader is already on the edge, as Ty enters a deserted submarine in order to escape a shark attack. Kat Falls has a light and easy to read writing style. She's very imaginative using fresh idioms, a sort of underwater "slang" throughout the book. Some examples are: whenever something is monumental, the character's use the phrase, "That's Glacial" or if someone is in trouble one may say, "What in the great ocean..." replacing, "What the heck..." A derogatory name calling might contain "chum sucking" as in "chum sucking outlaws." It was a very cute aspect of the story, something which really stood out.CHARACTERS AND PLOTTy, a fifteen year old male, born and raised sub-sea is the narrator and main character of this book. (Its rare to have a male narrator in a middle grade book.) His parents are scientists responsible for designing the underwater structures and homesteads. Ty is an adventurous, brave explorer who always seems to have trouble nipping at his heels.Gemma is a fifteen year old, orphaned at a young age. She is now a ward of the state, hopelessly looking for her brother so he can sign her emancipation order. Ty relents to helping her on this quest, even though it leads him into trouble more times than not. There are outlaws, a Sea Blithe Gang and a unfair government to contend with, making life sub-sea an extreme challenge for anyone. Especially when the leader of the gang, Shade possesses so many secrets of his own. Dark Life contains many twists and turns throughout the book, keeping any young reader interested and engaged. Recommendation: ON A PERSONAL NOTEI recommend this book to both adults and children over the age of 10 years old. It would be a great one to read aloud. I listened to this one as an audio book, myself. This story has a boy narrator so it would be the perfect book for boys to read as well as girls, especially since its chock full of adventure, mystery, suspense and action.RATING I am a scuba diver, so I could really both appreciate and visualize this world. Quite a lot of detailed research must have went into putting this book, especially on underwater fish and fauna. Adult readers will surely notice its written for a middle grade audience, but that doesn't mean it can't still be enjoyable. I love the way Kat Falls breathed life into the underwater community of Benthic Territory. The hero's were chivalrous, the story exciting, I enjoyed it from start to finish and was sad to see it end. My favorite character, hands down, was Ty's spunky younger sister Zoe. I hope to see more of her in the next book, Rip Tide due out in August.

Review by

I found this book at my school's book fair this year. The cover alone grabbed my attention. I read about the book and it sounded really interesting so I bought it. After that I couldn't put it down! This is one of the best science fiction books I have read in years. The world created by Kat Falls is very vivid and fascinating! The story was fast paced and the characters were interesting. I highly recommend this book and I am anticipating the sequel which will be released in August!

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