Jenny's Reviews > Dark Life

Dark Life by Kat Falls
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's review
May 31, 2012

did not like it
Read in May, 2012

DARK LIFE isn't a worthwhile book for young adults when so many better ones are in print. I suspect that bookstore hype or school contract sales sold this one. Where's the character development, as in the "Harry Potter" novels and THE HOBBIT, which I just re-read? The characters in DARK LIFE are very poorly developed and, even worse, there's nothing but superficial lust between the two who are supposed to be attracted. (I thought of "'Valley Girl' meets Kevin Costner's 'Mariner'", but even they were more interesting than Ty and Gemma.) Where's any real menace? The cliff hanger chapter endings were predictable and grew boring. The good guys always survive (too easily), the real bad guy was an obvious Dr Frankenstein cliche, the bureaucrats predictably bumbling. Even the collapsed underwater house was quickly rebuilt and re-stocked. There is no real suspense. Ho-hum.

A reviewer wrote, correctly, that the book is not a dystopia. It should be taken off that genre list. It's not even good sci-fi, but rather a silly teenage romance novel between two highly forgettable characters we never get to know, with a grade B Western movie plot. To anyone looking for outstanding dystopias, read Octavia Butler's PARABLE OF THE SOWER and two other classics, George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD. The DARK LIFE societies may be cramped up on land, some folks may live underwater, but the two protagonists and many of the others act like dumb-bunny mall-hounds with petty rebellions and sulks. And look at their names and descriptions! The survivors are supposed to be from the East Coast of the U.S., from America's melting pot of urban ethnicity, yet most seem to be surfer types, blue-eyed Caucasians, with Anglo names. Unbelievable.

Finally, the author is a plot thief. It's not just Westerns and teen romances. Gemma's creche upbringing is from BRAVE NEW WORLD, pursuing her brother from innumerable B movies. The tavern scene is straight out of the original STAR WARS. The bad guy turned good guy is another STAR WARS cliche, good old formerly Mr. Evil Guy Darth Vader, who turns out to be related to Luke, and after that who cares how many people he menaced and killed? For shame! The rest of it's a combination of Max Allen Collins' WATERWORLD and Diane Duane's DEEP WIZARDRY. Both of those are fine fantasy novels, even if WATERWORLD made a terrible movie. Go read them instead and forget this imitation novel. Maybe Kat Falls will do better after she remembers she's writing novels and not lightweight screenplays (Diane Duane certainly did!) and she will get better. I hope so. Her writing couldn't get much worse. She is unbearably insensitive, apparently devoid of caring about the immense tragedy of all the millions of deaths that were mentioned briefly and should have been the heart of the story. I figure that Ms. Falls hopes to sell a screenplay of this to a cartoon-film studio, but the horror of climate change can't be turned into something this trite without inviting scorn.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Gossymotto Your review is bang on. I'm still trying to understand why this book is getting such positive feedback

message 2: by Noah (new) - rated it 1 star

Noah Exactly... thank you.

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