(Dark Life #2)
by Kat Falls
performed by Keith Nobbs
Published 2011 by Scholastic
7 hours, 23 minutes. Unabridged.
Ty has always known that the ocean is a dangerous place. Every time he swims beyond the borders of his family’s subsea farm, he’s prepared to face all manner of aquatic predators-sharks, squid, killer whales . . .
What Ty isn’t prepared to find in the deep is an entire township chained to a sunken submarine, its inhabitants condemned to an icy underwater grave. It’s only the first clue to a mystery that has claimed hundreds of lives and stands to claim two more — lives very precious to Ty and his Topsider ally, Gemma.
Now in a desperate race against the clock, Ty and Gemma find themselves in conflict with outlaws, Seaguard officers, and the savage, trident-wielding surfs — plus a menagerie of the most deadly creatures the ocean has to offer.
I almost forgot how much I loved this world in the past year. The characters are all great, but I really think it’s the world around them that draws the reader in. Kat Falls does such a wonderful job describing sub-sea life. I’m not sure if there will be more because this one felt pretty resolved. Things with the government aren’t ideal, but when are they ever? Either way, I would love to see more of this world and these characters.
I think what makes these books so great is the world in which they take place. Kat does a great job with descriptions and it really sells the whole idea. It backs up the plot. It just brings everything together. It’s all easy to follow, too. The organization of the Common Wealth into land dwellers, serfs, and sub-sea pioneers is just cool. I like that the laws are explored a little more in this book, too. I especially loved the sub-plot about Gemma’s problems diving and how that fits into the story. The plot and setting is just top notch.
One thing I love about the characters is that they’re all interesting. You won’t find a flat character in these books. Ty and Gemma are wonderful leads, but everyone else shines too: the Sea Blight Gang, Captain Revis, Representative Tupper, Mayor Fife, Radder, all of them were perfect. I’d really love to see more of Pretty and Shade. Pretty surprised me in this book and I would be very interested to learn more about him. I would definitely say this one is plot-driven, but I love that there are still wonderful characters.
This book stands out to me among dystopian novels for a few reasons. First of all, it’s told from a boy’s point of view. I haven’t read many dystopian books with a male main character and I really like it. I also think this is one of those that straddles the fence between middle grade and YA. I know when I go to the book store, it’s always in the kids and middle grade section, but Ty and Gemma are fifteen. I’m not sure which I’d categorize it as, but I know I’d let my eleven-year-old nephew read it.
Keith Nobbs, once again, does a stellar job. He’s fluent, but also precise. He has good, crisp enunciation, but he doesn’t sound like a robot. He has great pacing. He never sounds like he’s reading. You can hear the emotion of the moment in his voice. I also love his voices for the other characters, especially Mayor Fife and Radder. That was perfect. He’s wonderful and has a good voice for the age of the character. I really glad I decided to continue this series in audio, because he really is Ty for me.
I highly recommend this one if you want a fun, quick listen.
Read my review of Dark Life