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Dark Life #1

Dark Life

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A thrilling futuristic adventure set deep undersea, Dark Life follows the settlers of the world's first subsea settlement as they defend their homesteads against a brazen band of outlaws.

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.

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...

304 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2010

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About the author

Kat Falls

6 books668 followers
Kat Falls lives in Evanston, IL with her husband, theater director Robert Falls, their three children, and a whole slew of pets. She grew up in Silver Spring, MD, attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an undergrad, and went on to receive an MFA from Northwestern University, where she now teaches.

Kat is the author of the middle-grade science fiction novels, Dark Life and Rip Tide, which she describes as “underwater westerns.”

She came up with the idea for Dark Life (Scholastic, 2010) during a writing exercise. Knowing that her 11-year-old son loved reading about the ocean, Wild West pioneers, and the X-Men, she combined his interests and created a story premise that kept her up nights plotting and world-building. Since then, Dark Life has been nominated for children’s book awards in ten states and translated into 17 languages around the world. Kat appeared on the Today Show when Dark Life was featured on Al Roker's Book Club. Currently, Dark Life is in development for film at Disney with The Gotham Group producing.

When the sequel, Rip Tide (Scholastic, 2011) came out, Publishers Weekly wrote, “As with its predecessor, there’s no shortage of action, intrigue, or daring exploits in this aquatic thriller. Atmospheric and tense, built around an expertly used post apocalyptic–meets–Wild West setting, this story’s a whole lot of fun.”

Kat’s YA novel, Inhuman (Scholastic, 2013), is the first book of a science fiction trilogy set in the near future after a plague has turned millions of people into feral beast-men.

Inhuman received glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly, SLJ, VOYA, and a starred review from Kirkus. Inhuman is also a nominee on the 2014-2015 Tome Society It List for “clean” teen reads.

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5 stars
4,731 (32%)
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349 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,734 reviews
Profile Image for Bookwatcher .
746 reviews120 followers
August 15, 2010
Marvelous book! My 5 stars and my applause

(no, I'm not a guy... I just like this animated gift )

Well, without spoil the story I can say some things...

* All the story is Ty's POV. I enjoy this wise choice of the writer. It's so rare to read a YA book with a guy as narrator. I love Ty voice.

* Gemma, the main female character, is so brave! Looking for her brother she affront all her fears without second thoughts! SOOOO BRAVE! Love her!

* The adventure of this book never ends! True! My advice is: take a long breath and then dive on this story! It's breathless! One action after another will obligate you to stop on the last page (applauding as I did).

* All the undersea description was terrific! So vivid, and perfect that make me want to see all sea documentaries of discovery channel (again... I'm a documentary addicted )

* You will love all the twists and surprises! The most incredible is about the Dark Gift... Gemma on the first page will say this world to Ty, and them he will keep you on suspense.... who has a dark gift? And most of all, which is the undersea kids dark gifts???? Soooo fun read this book trying to discover this mystery! Great revelations will keep you reading... and believe me, you will like it a lot!

NERD NOTE (sorry, I'm a nerd and some times can't avoid nerd thoughts)
It's a great YA with a wonderful message that will make you think hard... which one is the real free community? The one, called Dark Life because of the lack of light under the sea, or the topside (the humans on the surface)?
Under the sea the Dark Life community live in family farms, looking for the animals and crops never forgetting to also take a look how the neighbors are and if they need something.
On the surface humans has little space, living in incredible small spaces, and the families (always for lack of space) send they kids to border schools. The families have 1 time week contact, for few hours, until the kids, at the age of 18, go out to start their life (working etc etc).

So, tell me... who would want to live under the sun light?

Yeah... good question no?

Enjoy the reading
Profile Image for Cori.
790 reviews132 followers
April 12, 2019
I adore books with a setting that's basically another character. And this book did it so well!

Ty and his family live under the ocean on a farm. A fish and kelp farm! With bubbles for fences and a jellyfish-shaped house. And yet, Kat Falls managed to stay away from the Bubble Guppy vibe and keep it feeling legitimately scientific.

The character interaction was wonderful. Many YA books come across as angsty and overdone in their relationship dynamics, but this was fun and believable. The target audience was clearly a younger crowd, but it succeeded in delivery to its intended age category and genre. Huge point in its favor.

I enjoyed this book and already put the next one on hold at the library. Fun, quick read.

I'd rate this a PG for some perilous situations and scary scenarios.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,454 reviews2,319 followers
May 24, 2017
Dark Life (Dark Life #1) by Kat Falls is a futuristic book in which the world is so crowded that some folks live in the sea. They have settlements there complete with crops and everything. Weird but cool but not very believable. This story is about an orphan that runs away from a cruel orphanage and ends up meeting a guy who lives in the sea. He takes her down to show her his home. There is corrupt government, gang of trouble makers, and people after the girl. I liked the idea and the plot was good. Characters and dialogue was also well developed and seemed appropriate. The corrupt government seemed forced. The settlement didn't have enough science behind it to make it seem possible. Overall a fair read for teens. Didn't make me want to follow up on this series if there were more.
Profile Image for Mitchel Broussard.
236 reviews206 followers
May 30, 2011
We've all had our fill of dystopia-infused YA literature in the past couple of years. From the trilogy that seemed to have sparked its massive popularity much like the books that sparked the vampire craze, it's been hard to distinguish the rest of the pack from poor imitators. Dark Life, the first novel by college professor Kat Falls, is no imitator: here is a true, original, fun and fascinating dystopic tale fueled with imagination, relatable characters and a beautifully realized undersea setting.

Falls nails that sense of location from the first paragraph, where we see Ty, born and raised subsea at his family's homestead, navigating the fallen ruins of New York City that fell into the ocean during "the Rising." No detail is given to this apocalyptic event, but that plays to the book's favor. This is very much a book about characters in a strange setting, which just happens to be a dystopic future; Falls never bangs over your head the rules of the government or makes them seem evil in any way. Their actions over the course of the book bring that to light all by its self; it's a beautiful way to ingratiate a reader into a new world.

But the setting had me sold from the get-go. Essentially a wild-west/frontier tale with a future/sci-fi twist superimposed over it, Falls nails everything that one would expect of living on the ocean floor in such a weirdly descriptive way I wonder how she came up with some of it. The Dark Life (people living on the ocean's floor) fled Topside's crowded living space, much like the brave pioneers who fled west.

Between the cool tech (subsea architecture, bubble fences, manta boards, liquigen) and the imaginative ways they were introduced and the silky-smooth writing, the book is ferociously readable. The only thing I would knock it for is its brevity: not even 300 pages. It really felt like half a book, despite a satisfying resolution to most of the hanging plot threads.

The sheer originality on display here warrants reading alone. I can NOT WAIT for Rip Tide.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews309 followers
March 27, 2010
In a future America where rising seas have claimed much of the land, leaving Topsiders to pack themselves in tiny stacked apartments, some people have taken to the ocean. These pioneers live on the ocean floor, farming the sea and sending crops to the government in exchange for their homesteads. This is where Ty Townsend has lived all his life. He was the first child to be born in the undersea community of Benthic Territory and he loves it there. But when outlaws threaten the safety of the settlers, Ty must do what he can to save the only home he's ever known. And when a Topsider girl appears, searching for her prospector brother, she'll join him on his quest and together they'll find that there are secrets being kept about the Dark Life.

Oh, this one's going to be big. The setting is a really well-developed take on new pioneers reminiscent of the Old West, but, of course, set deep undersea. It really feels plausible, which is a mark of a well-developed world. The action is nonstop and you'd better hang on because DARK LIFE will take you for a ride and you're not gonna want to let go.

More closer to the pub date on my blog. Put this one on your TBR-lists, kids. You won't want to miss it.

Profile Image for Gabriella.
43 reviews37 followers
April 10, 2011
Finally! It took Scholastic forever to get this book out to me. Anyway, once I read it I'll quickly write a review for it.


Well I've finished the book and now I must write a review.

To be quite frank I thought the book was boring. It takes place sometime in the future, after some terrible natural disaster I believe. The oceans have taken over most of the land, so many people have been forced to live under the sea. That sounds pretty good huh? I thought so! But this book is kinda like a Western, and I'm really not a fan of Westerns. Anyway, the main characters are Ty, and this girl, Gemma, who I found kind of annoying. Ty lives under the sea and Gemma's from up top, trying to find her brother. Ty tries to help her while also trying to protect the settlement he lives in from the ruthless thugs that like to go around and screw everything up.

I read the book about halfway then sort of just skimmed the rest.

The number one thing I didn't like about it was the writing style. Kat Falls writes like a teenager, I should know cuz I am one and we write the same. So, that was minus one star. Plus I found the book to be terribly confusing at times. I dunno if it was me or Falls. Cuz, y'know, maybe I just wasn't paying that much attention. At first I really tried, trust me, I really tried to follow what was going on, but after a while I was just like, "Screw it."

And it wasn't that the plot was confusing, I knew what everyone was trying to do, it was just that Ms. Falls didn't describe things right. Or at least she didn't describe things in a way that I could really follow along.

Anyway I give Dark Life two stars on a bad day, two plus a half on a good day. Who would I recommend it to? I guess boys that don't like to read much.

By the way, I won this book from Firstreads.
Profile Image for Vicky Ziliaskopoulou.
546 reviews78 followers
August 31, 2021
Όχι. Κάτι δεν πήγε καθόλου μα καθόλου καλά ανάμεσα σε εμένα και το βιβλίο. Διάβασα προσεχτικά λίγο περισσότερο από το μισό και μετά το πέρασα πολύ γρήγορα, ίσα για να μην το αφήσω αδιάβαστο, αλλά δεν μου άρεσε καθόλου. Ίσως να φταίει που είναι γραμμένο για εφήβους, ίσως και το ότι δεν μου άρεσαν οι περιγραφές του κόσμου που έφτιαξε η συγγραφέας, ειδικά αυτές τις βρήκα ανεπαρκείς, δεν ξέρω. Κρίμα, δεν πειράζει, πάμε γι' άλλα.
Profile Image for Katerina.
121 reviews18 followers
July 23, 2015
Ο «Σκοτεινός Κόσμος» ήταν ένα βιβλίο που με απογοήτευσε πάρα πολύ. Περίμενα να είναι πολύ καλύτερο και δυστυχώς δε με ενθουσίασε καθόλου, σε κανένα σημείο του. Ήταν μία μέτρια εφηβική περιπέτεια φαντασίας, με καλές βάσεις που όμως έλειπε κάτι από την πλοκή του. Μέχρι και το ρομάντζο που είχε μέσα δε μου έλεγε κάτι και σκέψου ότι με κάτι τέτοια εγώ ενθουσιάζομαι. Όλα ήταν πολύ ρηχά. Οι χαρακτήρες, η πλοκή, ο κόσμος. Ήταν προφανές σχεδόν από την αρχή τι θα γίνει κι ενώ έλεγα, «Δεν μπορεί, κάτι θα αλλάξει, με κάτι θα εντυπωσιαστώ», η ιστορία εξελίχθηκε όπως το περίμενα. Αυτό που μου άρεσε από αυτό το βιβλίο ήταν ότι η Kat Falls είχε δημιουργήσει έναν κόσμο πολύ διαφορετικό από αυτούς που συνηθίζουμε να συναντάμε στα βιβλία. Έναν κόσμο κάτω από την επιφάνεια της θάλασσας. Αλλά ακόμα και αυτό με κούρασε. Η περιγραφή του κόσμου του βυθού, το πώς συνέβησαν όλα και κατέληξαν να ζουν έτσι. Όλα πολύ μέτρια. Να φανταστείς ότι δεν ξέρω αν θα διαβάσω το 2ο βιβλίο της ιστορίας. Ίσως να το κάνω, μόνο και μόνο για να δω πώς θα κλείσει όλο αυτό. Για να μην αφήσω την ιστορία στη μέση. Σίγουρα είναι ένα από τα βιβλία που δε θα πρότεινα σε κάποιον φίλο μου, αλλά δε θα τον απέτρεπα κιόλας από το να το διαβάσει. Δε θα απέτρεπα ποτέ κάποιον από το να διαβάσει κάποιο βιβλίο που δε μου άρεσε. Είναι καθαρά θέμα γούστου. Είναι ένα βιβλίο που διαβάζεται εύκολα ακόμα κι αν δε σε ενθουσιάζει, με μερικές μικρές εξαιρέσεις σε κάποια σημεία. Βασικά σε ένα σημείο. Για το καλοκαιράκι στην π��ραλία νομίζω πως θα είναι καλή συντροφιά.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Esther.
517 reviews106 followers
April 7, 2021
I tried to read this book once before, more than a year ago. Somewhere around page 100 I stopped because I couldn't really get into the story.

Felt a little bit the same this time and figured out why. This book could be more describing, since the main character, Ty, is living on the bottom of the ocean. I just couldn't picture the submarines, the homes and the trade station and lower decks. I've never really seen those things, so it was and still is, hard to see the whole picture in my mind.
That is the only reason I gave the book 3 stars and not more.

I LOVE the story. I love sealife and this book had a great story. So cool that this book is written from the perspective of a boy, while most books are written from the perspective of a girl.
Unique setting, underwater. And loved the plot twists, really did not see most of them coming.

Would recommend this book, you need a lot of imagination though!
Profile Image for Neal Shusterman.
Author 86 books23.9k followers
October 3, 2014
Read this over a year ago, and the world keeps coming back to me. Definitely worth the read. Kat Falls has build a compelling and believable world.
Profile Image for C.P. Cabaniss.
Author 4 books95 followers
May 18, 2018
This book was somewhat of a random check out for me. One of the reading challenges I was doing had a task that required a book that was set under water. While browsing online for books that would fit that, I stumbled upon this and my library happened to have a copy. And I really liked it.

The idea of the underwater settlement was really interesting and I found the explanation about how things worked to be fascinating. The ocean has always been alluring to me, so books that use it as a large focus are fascinating.

This story follows Ty, a teenager who was the first person born in the underwater settlement, as his way of life is threatened by a group of outlaws led by a mysterious albino known as Shade. I liked this dangerous aspect of the story and the mystery that unfolded as Ty explored more.

Ty was a really likable main character and I really liked his relationship to his little sister Zoe. I liked that they argue, but still care about each other a lot and want to look out for one another. It's good to see positive sibling relationships in middlegrade and YA books, since so many are not.

This had some fun twists and turns and I didn't always see them coming, at least not how they did. I'm really eager to listen to the next book and see what it has to offer.

Keith Nobbs narrated and I really enjoyed his reading of this. His voices for the various characters helped them remain distinct in my head without making any of them particularly annoying. I would definitely listen to another story read by him.
Profile Image for Xiangyu Chen.
1 review1 follower
October 3, 2016
WARNING: NEVER Mess With the Deep Ocean

“Balls of red light dangled from the jaws of vapor fish; jellyfish shimmered like pink clouds; and gulper eels, with their neon spots, streaked past like comets” (Falls 297)

The deep ocean, dark and mysterious, is thriving with life, all kinds of life. In the book "Dark Life" by Kat Falls, the ocean is rising, and the deep ocean is becoming even deeper... Being the first to born at the bottom of the ocean, Ty always feels a little different. Living with his family at the bottom of the ocean, all is at least peaceful. Yet, not for long, the dangers are approaching, ALL is about to change.
A terrifying group of sea Outlaws, known as the Seablite Gang, attacked Ty’s neighbor, something that they have never done before, since they were only known for attacking governments. What has changed? Joined by Gemma, a girl from the land, Ty goes on to face the biggest challenge ever: capturing the Outlaws, but what he doesn’t know is that he is being hunted, instead of the other way around.
In this mystery filled science fiction packed with action, you will find yourself not wanting to stop reading. Watch the words form into images before your very eyes, and see the dark cloud of suspense dissipate to reveal thrilling mysteries and uttermost secrets. Watch as the talented Ty and the witty Gemma take on a challenge to save the ocean settlement. With a mysterious thrilling mood and the limited perspective of the determined Ty, the book draws you in faster than a tornado, and before you know it, the book is finished and you don’t have any more time to do your homework. (Don’t let that happen!!!)
There are just so many things I like about this book. The Ocean always interests me, with all the different species and closely linking to boats and submarines. Kat Falls’ book Dark Life contains everything I loved. From describing the beautiful scene of the ocean to explaining the different varieties of submarine for different purposes. From being such an action-packed, thrilling book, to the touch of mystery, done just right, in the book; but most importantly, from the constant battle Ty is fighting, not just the outlaws, the society, but also his inner self. I have learned SO much more from this book!
As Kat Falls weave her story into my mind, I felt like I have learned not just one, but several lessons. Through the book, she taught me to always accept who I am, she taught me to be courageous, to be brave, and to be quick to help people, like Ty. A well done book by a talented author, what more can I wish for?

WARNING: “Behold the deep, beware the deep…” (Falls).

Falls, Kat. Dark Life. New York: Scholastic, 2010. Print.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,177 reviews370 followers
January 1, 2021
This didn't grab me at all, I did not care about the characters and the plot and honestly I feelt a bit bored. Bit disappointed as I thought this would be an entertaining apocalypse book but in the end it wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Yin Chien 인첸.
180 reviews132 followers
February 7, 2012
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. This is a book not to be missed!
Profile Image for Flannery.
338 reviews
December 25, 2010
There is some seriously cool world-building going on up in here. I'm glad I squeezed finishing off this book in between watching Easy A with my family (pretty awesome) and trying NOT to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (all music by Burt Bacharach...nuff said). Kat Falls' first novel is set underwater in a future where most of our land is under the ocean and the majority of people live in crowded tenement blocks. Ty, the teenage protagonist, is the first child born in the underwater colony and its only male teenager. (though there ARE other kids) Most of the action surrounds a "Topsider" girl, Gemma, who appears at the ocean trading post looking for her lost brother and the outlaw gang that is harassing the supply lines to the settlement.

Here is an equation to sum up this book: Underwater awesomness + Outlaws a la Firefly + fun (if a little juvenile) writing style + quasi super powers = This book. The climax was a little anticlimactic, but not in terms of action--it just seemed too hurried. Overall, though, the world was really interesting and I'd definitely (will definitely? I don't know if there is a series in the works) read more books set in Kat Falls' underwater world.
Profile Image for Sarah AlObaid.
259 reviews32 followers
March 20, 2015
3.5 stars

I absolutely loved the idea of it. The whole post-apocalyptic, living-subsea, developing-supernatural-powers theme got me really intrigued. You can see that the author put so much thought into it, and at times i found it genius. However. At other times, it was just confusing. I didn't like the plot very much, i thought it was kind of dull. Also, some parts didn't fit in or didn't make any sense. Wasn't a huge fan of the author's language. I mean, she clearly had an amazing idea, i don't think she really delivered it that well, though. Also, i think maybe the book refrained from revealing certain things about the world and stuff because there's a sequel...? Anyway, i would definitely like to read Rip Tide.
Profile Image for Brenda Lower.
431 reviews8 followers
November 2, 2012
Ty is a pioneer, but instead of going west, like the old days, his family went deep! As the water levels rise and space on land grows more and more precious, people have started going under the sea. Ty knows nothing but living underwater. He is much more familiar with the life that thrives in the darkness of the deep sea than he is with sunshine and stars.

One day, Gemma shows up from the world above and changes everything in his life. She seems so vulnerable alone, searching for her brother that Ty can't just leave her on her own. As they try to learn her brother's fate, they start finding more than either of them bargained for.

So, this book was okay, but not totally enthralling. The premise of living underwater is really cool, and the technology is suitably present. But I just had a hard time finishing this book! I might recommend it, but it would be pretty far down my list of things to recommend. A sequel has come out, but I have no interest in it. To me, the characters were flat, the relationships cliche, and the story line was not engaging. While the setting was fun, the story never fully explored its full potential.
Profile Image for Damali.
339 reviews105 followers
January 3, 2015
I usually don’t want to read anything about the ocean, so I wasn’t that excited to be starting this. It was just a short book I could listen to. What a surprise! Get this: What's left of the world is overpopulated to the point where people have to buy space just to be alone for a few minutes. People don’t even have their own bedrooms!Think Original Star Trek: The Mark of Gideon. Underwater, the settlers are entitled to claim 100 acres at age 18.

Gemma lives on the surface, and she’s gone to the underwater settlement to search for her brother. She meets Ty, and he helps her, while he's also trying to figure out who is stealing from his neighbors, and sabotaging the settlement. Psst! Rumor has it, that living underwater has caused some mutations in the kids that were born there. Great adventure for kids and adults. The worldbuilding is outstanding! Definite dystopian, scifi and fantasy. I listened to the aubiobook, and it was fun, fun, fun, from beginning to end!
Profile Image for Ligaro.
489 reviews9 followers
January 26, 2020
Nota: 6'5
Es una novela que me ha dejado dos opiniones diferentes.
Por un lado, le falta un poco de organización, una introducción en general y de los personajes, una línea argumental...
Sin embargo, por otro lado, es una historia súper original, que requiere de muchísima imaginación para escribirla. Un mundo submarino y toda la planificación que ello conlleva (transporte, casas, cosechas... todo ello bajo el mar) , problemas con la superficie terrestre disponible...
Es decir, se nota que es la primera novela de la autora, que ella tiene imaginación de sobra y que le falta pulir su escritura. Espero leer más libros de ella
Profile Image for Lydia.
945 reviews46 followers
June 23, 2017
The world has changed, the seas have taken over a large portion of the land. Because of this people are crammed into tighter and smaller spaces with over population and food shortage being a significant problem. However, a small group of pioneers has chosen to colonize and farm the expanding territories under the sea! Ty's family is one of this group, farming and supplying the "Topsiders" with much needed food. Ty loves the freedom of the ocean and is determined to stake his own claim as soon as he is old enough. But then outlaws strike, causing the government to withdraw their much needed support; at the same time, a Topsider girl named Gemma arrives looking for her brother and with more than a few secrets of her own.

So. Much. Fun! Definitely channels into the "old west" vibe, with the claims, pioneers and outlaws, but at the same time has plenty of cool tech that allows the colonists to inhabit the ocean adding a spice of futuristic feel. Not to mention ... Ms. Falls has created a super imaginative world and has no problem letting us all romp through it, so long as we wipe up any puddles we slosh in!

Content notes: No language issues, though some people are prejudice against others for living in a different place and use derogatory terms for them. A couple kisses on page, but nothing farther; it is also mentioned that there is a saloon where a young, pretty girl shouldn't go because of the men who frequent it, nothing more "spelled out" than that. A lot of threatened violence (from animal attacks to out-right murder), but mostly just punches, slight electrocution and harpoonings (no where vital) on page. Possibly more disturbing are the medical tests that certain characters mention being put through against their will.

Profile Image for Christian Minor.
10 reviews
April 30, 2011
In a world taking place undersea after the oceans rose and earthquakes caused whole regions to fall into the deep, deep path below, humans live packed into stack cities. They barely go outside because sunlight can cause 3rd degree burns all over. As a result, some pioneers staked out a living on the ocean floor. Ty was born and raised in the deep. He was the first to be born in subsea underwater. By the way he’s not pleasant to hear the whole experiment may fail due to a gang of outlaws that has been stealing supply ships and attacking homesteads and land whenever they get a chance. He is sbrave to do anything. He "locks" his mind/goals to whatever he needs to do for his tasks to accomplish it. Ty will get it done one way or another from whatever risk he will take. Is it up to us to stop the outlaws and captured them and bring them to justice? Will it take Ty’s use of his secret dark gift to save everyone he loves and cares about one another. Everytime he saw them, he wanted to get "rid" of them for good to let them live in peace once for a while.
Then one day, a girl named Gemma is on a mission to search for her brother through the darkness under the sea. With them together, they will find every bits of information to understand the truth. They both act that they were actually siblings, they comprehend very accurate. This book is so amazing! Full of excitement and adventure! All this shocking, devastating action that takes risks from people refers to his book.
Profile Image for Hope Baugh.
70 reviews13 followers
July 8, 2010
I haven't had time to keep up with recording on GoodReads what I've been reading, but last night I finished reading the hardcover edition of Dark Life, by Kat Falls, and I LOVED IT. I want to tell everyone about it! It is a fast-paced, suspenseful, action-adventure story set vividly on a post-apocalyptic ocean frontier. Cool homes, cool vehicles, and cool creatures! The hero-narrator is a courageous, 15-year-old, ocean-born boy with a secret gift that scares him, but the runaway orphan girl who enters his world from "topside," looking for her older brother, is strong and feisty, too. They are attracted to each other, but they don't really have time to explore that much right now. If Gemma doesn't find her brother soon, the authorities will find her and send her to a detention home. And Ty's ocean community is threatened both by a group of terrifying outlaws and the equally terrifying 'wealth (irresponsible government known as the Commonwealth.) I need to work on my sales pitch, I know, but I am looking forward to suggesting this title to a wide variety of readers, including both Rick Riordan(Lightning Thief)/Anthony Horowitz(Alex Rider) fans and Suzanne Collins(Hunger Games) fans. Satisfying as a stand-alone, but I hope the author writes a sequel some day, too.
Profile Image for Claire.
1,355 reviews41 followers
February 11, 2010
Post global warming- the new frontier is under the sea. Pioneering scientists and adventurers are using some amazing technology that makes use of physics and biology to farm fish, some livestock (!) and sea plants.
These farms have been in existence for almost 20 years now and children have been born under the surface and grown up underwater. These kids have extranormal abilities, all different, all wonderful and all a secret, the kids never tell or display their gifts. The oldest among them has learned that if anyone finds out about these abilities - termed Dark Gifts, the scientific community will stop at nothing to study the kids.

Ty is the oldest of the children he is 17, planning to homestead when he turns 18. Enter an outlaw who has been hectoring government supply ships and now, the homesteaders themselves. The government has decided to make the homesteaders find this outlaw coercing the homesteaders by stopping all supplies to the territory until he is found. Ty takes on finding the outlaw- when he does, he finds so much more than he bargained for imperiling the homesteads and his own life as his Dark Gift comes to light.
Profile Image for Emily Housworth.
184 reviews27 followers
May 21, 2018
I am not the target audience for this book (young teens) so this review may not reflect the true merits of this book. This book wasn't bad by any means, but I was just not able to connect with the story or care about its characters. I never felt like, oh man, I just gotta keep reading to see what happens next! I did, however, enjoy the unique underwater setting and the world that the author created, but the plot just didn't grip me. I would have enjoyed more character development, as well as a more complex and intricate plot. Instead, I kept thinking, ok, this book has got to be winding down soon...And then see I still had several chapters left. It's one of those stories where things are juuuuust about to wrap up but then, oh no! now this went wrong! Here's another four chapters. Ok, almost over...But wait! Now this thing happens! Another hour of audiobook left... Also, the number of smilies was a little excessive for my taste. All that being said, I know the author put a lot of work into this, and had I read it as a young teenager, I probably would've enjoyed it more.
Profile Image for Sonja Arlow.
1,063 reviews7 followers
October 22, 2014
2 ½ stars

YA novels are always a gamble but as this story takes place in such a unique setting I decided to give it a go.


Great chunks of land have slid into the ocean due to global warming and everybody is crammed into skyscrapers. Space becomes a sought after commodity.

A brave few live under the sea and grow the food that keeps humankind alive. Ty is a teenage boy who was born and raised on the sea floor, and he's developed some unique abilities while growing up under the deep blue sea. These underwater settlers reminded me of the pioneers of the old wild west and no wild west is complete without its outlaws…….


YA that appeal to a more adult reader base are sometimes difficult to find but when you do they are absolute gems. This one missed the mark for me but it was an easy, sometimes quite fun, read with really envious underwater gadgetry that made me want to plan my next scuba diving trip.
Profile Image for Eva Eve.
174 reviews6 followers
February 15, 2016
La ambientación es fabulosa, no me extraña que quieran hacer pelicula de ella, el argumento muy original, en definitiva un libro con muchas posibilidades, un libro que prometia "sorprender", nada más que cae en tus manos y lo miras... pero a mí personalmente, me parece que se queda en eso, en algo que promete mucho y luego..... Quizás falta desarrollo en la trama, creo que es esto, no se terminan de desenredar los hilos, y los que se desenredan van a toda mecha y con muy pocos detalles, como si hubiese que justificar las acciones para llegar al final, pero no disfrutarlas a medida que lo lees.... Vamos que no me ha enganchado, un 2 raspadito.
Profile Image for Alison Strandell.
177 reviews4 followers
April 27, 2016
The concept is really cool... a futuristic world where the ocean has been colonized because the "Topside" is maxed out of resources due to overpopulation. I like Ty, Gemma, and the action that ensues. I read this aloud to students and appreciate how there is a sequel, Rip Tide, for those who are interested. I wanted to read this book because the author, Kat Falls, came to YMS in the past for a visit. Ultimately, Dark Life just doesn't totally do it for me. For example, the moon pools, sub-sea stations, and logistics in general of humans living under water are difficult to visualize. Maybe this would make a cool movie for that reason.
Profile Image for Ruby Rose.
269 reviews72 followers
January 25, 2020
I loved this one! Ty and Gemma are on two missions, one to find the outlaw leader Shade, two to find Gemma's brother who is supposedly a prospector. They meet the "Albino" Shade multiple times as he tries to catch Gemma and kill Ty, before they discover a tragic backstory to the seabite gang (outlaws) that includes Doc, who knows too much. This book is a must read about home, love, and trust. Good for 7th grade and above. I do not recommend for under 12 years of age.
Profile Image for Natalia.
412 reviews29 followers
March 29, 2014
Si quieres leer algo diferente, lee Los Abisales. La autora ha sabido crear una historia original desarrollada en un medio poco explotado y con unos personajes con personalidad. Puede resultar un poco extraño al principio, pero merece la pena conocer la historia de Ty y Gemma.

Reseña: http://www.arte-literario.com/2014/03...
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