Review Detail

Kids Fiction 2511
Under the Sea Ain't No Cuppa Tea
(Updated: November 29, 2011)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0
I hope you didn't read the book synopsis above, and let me tell you why: It really is best to just "dive" headfirst into this, the first book of Kat Falls' dystopian series. I enjoy doing so with most fiction works, but the fact that I had never heard of this series or the fact that it is going to be made into a film added to the superb world-building that Falls has done in this book.

Entering into Kat Falls’ undersea world is both thrilling and engaging. She incorporated lots of science and biological information into the storyline, and it is enticing. Her description of the sensation of diving and living underwater brings the reader there herself, surrounded by the deep blue ocean.

Entering a pioneer’s home (those who have staked their claim underwater in order to have a freer life while providing food for themselves and selling it to the government) is like walking into a Disney-esque theme park, what with all the high-tech design and imminent danger. And as the Topsiders (those who still live above the ocean on the remaining continents) discover once they enter the world that pioneers have forged below the sea, gaining your bearings is a bit murky at first.

Through the eyes of 15-year-old Ty, the first human born under the sea, the ocean world grows less cloudy and more intriguing the further you are drawn into it. Ty has grown so accustomed to his underwater life that he prefers it to the Topside, whereas Gemma, a friend he meets sub-sea, has been brought up in the stack cities above. She is on a search for her brother while Ty is trying to figure out the crimes that have been debilitating his fellow Pioneers. The Seablite Gang suspected in the crimes is led by a frightening man named Shade, and as Ty learns more about their impervious frontman, it seems only more questions go unanswered.

Ty himself is a mite too stoic when it comes to dire circumstances, and thinks almost too quickly in the face of danger to be believable for me. But it's this boldness and defiance of even his own loving parents’ authority which bring him closer and closer to solving both his and Gemma’s mysteries. Each step of the way, the stakes climb higher and the danger skyrockets. I found myself physically anxious as each lead brought Ty and Gemma not only more information but more danger. Just when I thought I had a character figured out, the plot threw another genius twist at me. By the end of the book I was amazed at what I didn’t see coming. The combination of future-world technology, our current knowledge of the vast array of creatures and ocean phenomena, and exploration of what could be, coupled with an innovative storyline makes for a fast and high-diving read.
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November 30, 2011
I really liked Dark Life too. Its on the Florida Sunshine State Young Reader list and its my favorite of the 15 titles. I need to find the time to read Rip Tide, the sequal.
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