Dark Life by Kat Falls
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...
... threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.
Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.
As Ty gets closer to the truth, he discovers that the outlaws may not be the bloodthirsty criminals the government has portrayed them as. And that the government abandoning the territory might be the best thing for everyone, especially for someone like Ty, someone with a Dark Gift.
In the future, the oceans have swallowed a great deal of the continents. People live in tiny spaces and very tall towers. Some scientists created an experimental project in which people would be able to live underwater; they would be able to grow crops, farm animals and have all the space they needed. This people settled in the sea and created a life for themselves, they had children and lived a quiet life, even though they had to pay the goverment really high taxes and had to give them most of their products.
Ty is the first child born underwater. Now he's 15 and is already thinking of having a land of his own. One day he goes exploring and meets Gemma, a Topsider. She's searching for her brother so she can finally go live with him. Ty decides to help Gemma, but he has problems of his own. Some outlaws are attacking their territory, and the goverment wants them to capture them, dead or alive, or they would stop giving them supplies, and without them they wouldn't be able to survive. As the attacks increase, Ty will risk everything to try to stop them and preserve their way of life.
I read this book in one sitting. The worldbuilding was great. I could actually imagine all the different types of life there were in the sea. I loved the description of the jellyfish based houses, with the walls, floors and everything inside them being soft and flexible.
There was a lot of action in this book, with Ty trying to capture the outlaws and helping Gemma find her brother.
The characters were interesting. I especially liked Zoe, Ty's 9 year old sister and Hewitt, their 12 year old neighbour.
There was a lot of talk about the Dark Gifts. Apparently, some people on the Topside had been saying that the kids underwater were getting gifts because of the presure of the water on their brains. You will discover if this is true or not.
All in all, I found this book to be very entertaining, with a really impressing worldbuilding and a interesting mystery. I think people of all ages would enjoy this book, especially teenagers.
I really hope there is a sequel to this book because I would love to keep reading stories about Benthic Territory, and especially what happens next to the territory and Ty.
Zoe plucked a mackerel out of a bucket. "Want to see a viperfish eat?"
Despite Gemma's answer, Zoe opened a slot above the tank. She threw in the wiggling mackerel and set off a feeding frenzy. Gemma and Hewitt howled with revulsion, which made me laugh. Zoe was too busy gazing at her precious monsters to notice the rest of us.