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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Second Dark Life Adventure Much Like the First

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Rip Tide, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from Dark Life. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Ty Townsen's dealt with all manner of crazy things in the 15 years he's spent living under the sea. He's encountered everything from sharks to pirates to killer whales. But it's the discovery of a vessel chained to a sunken airplane that chills him to the bone. Especially when he realizes everyone in the mobile township is dead. An entire civilization has been murdered by a cold-blooded killer - one that may be more dangerous than anything Ty's ever come across in his wild ocean home.

Outraged by the attack on so many innocent people, Ty immediately starts asking questions. Even though he's getting no answers, his curiosity arouses attention. The wrong kind. It's not long before his parents and younger sister are kidnapped. Desperate to free his family, Ty vows to track down the murderer, no matter what the cost. Even if it means trusting a notorious thug. Even if it means swimming with bloodthirsty eels. Even if it means taking on the most powerful people in his world. With a pretty Topsider by his side to complicate things even further, Ty's newest adventure may be his most complicated. His most deadly.

Rip Tide, the second book in Kat Falls' watery YA dystopian series, picks up four months after its predecessor (Dark Life) ends. Like the first book, it plunges straight into the action, and never really lets up. While the constant adventure keeps things interesting, it completely upstages the other story elements, leaving characters underdeveloped, setting details unexplained, and dialogue clumsy. I have to give Falls props for originality, I just wish she would flesh out Ty's unique world a little more. After reading Rip Tide, I came to the exact same conclusion I did with Dark Life: "Younger readers probably won't care about all the details, they'll just love the non-stop action ... It may lack in some departments, but [Rip Tide] is nothing if not entertaining."

(Readalikes: Dark Life by Kat Falls; also a teensy bit like Ship Builder by Paolo Bacigalupi)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for violence and intense action

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Rip Tide from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thank you!

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