Way Down Dark // Dystopian Sci-Fi Done Right

20 May 2016

Published: 2nd July 2015
Source: Publisher (BookBridgr)
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating:
The first in an extraordinary new YA trilogy by James Smythe, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

There's one truth on Australia: You fight or you die. Usually both.

Seventeen-year-old Chan's ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, in search of a new home. They never found one.

The only life that Chan's ever known is one of violence, of fighting. Of trying to survive.

But there might be a way to escape. In order to find it, Chan must head way down into the darkness - a place of buried secrets, long-forgotten lies, and the abandoned bodies of the dead.

Seventeen-year-old Chan, fiercely independent and self-sufficient, keeps her head down and lives quietly, careful not to draw attention to herself amidst the violence and disorder. Until the day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But doing so would bring her to the attention of the fanatics and the murderers who control life aboard the ship, putting her and everyone she loves in terrible danger.

And a safe return to Earth is by no means certain.
I requested a copy of this book on BookBridgr and was thrilled to receive it, but I requested it because the cover looked cool and the premise sounded interesting. I know, I need to start requesting books only when I know I definitely want to read it and I’m not being drawn in by a book cover.

So, Did I Regret The Request?

When I read the first few pages I didn't think I was going to like it. That is the worst feeling you could possibly have going into a review copy of a book. I was confused and felt strangely disconnected from our main character, Chan. I know exactly why I thought I wasn’t going to like the book, as well.

It was dark. I mean, the premise is that there is a spaceship which is overrun by gangs and cults where it’s every man for himself and you can trust no-one. Chan has been raised by her mother and one of her mother’s friends and taught to fight and protect herself by always being selfish, even if that means hurting those you love. It’s kind of difficult to get yourself into the right mindset for that idea. Thankfully, it begins dark (and, honestly, it doesn’t get much lighter) but you do have a change in the philosophy Chan follows in life, especially as she learns more about the ship she lives on and what it’s true origins and purpose is. As her entire belief system gets shattered she grows and changes into someone more and that is a Chan you can get behind.

I’m not going to try and convince you this is a bright and cheery book. It’s not. You find yourself shocked as support decisions you would never hope to make in real life as the society Chan lives in is just the worst. It is the worst humanity has to offer and is extreme as they are all stuck on a space ship, there is no escape!

Basically, It’s Dark, But I Loved It

I really enjoyed this book. I was unsure at first, I started reading the first chapter and put the book down for days! I picked it back up and got fully absorbed in the story a few days later, though. This book is difficult to explain my enjoyment for as the writing isn’t the most beautiful, the characters aren’t the most likeable and the story is dark, but combined together it just works. I don’t know if it was the mystery of the explanation for them living on the spacecraft or what, but I was absorbed. Also, the cliffhanger ending probably helped because it’s something else which makes the book stick with you. You feel a strong need to read the next one immediately, I am trying to pace myself, though.

If you’re on the lookout for a good dystopian sci-fi book with characters with questionable morals then this is definitely the book for you.

Have you read Way Down Dark? What did you think?
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