is a series of books written by author Kat Falls. She describes it as a combination of Wild West Pioneers, the ocean, and the X-Men
. There are currently two books, Dark Life
(2010) and Rip Tide
It follows the adventures of Ty, an undersea pioneer, and his friend Gemma, a "Topsider" looking for her missing brother. Together, they explore the undersea wilderness, encounter a gang of outlaws, and find out some of the dark secrets of their world.
This work contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Gemma
- Adorkable: Ty has his moments.
- Afraid of Needles: Ty.
- The Alcatraz: Seablite Prison.
- Aloof Big Brother: Shade to Gemma.
- An Aesop: "Don't judge a book by its cover" is a pretty prominent theme.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Zoe, especially given the nature of her Dark Gift.
- Artificial Gills: The liquid oxygen.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Shade—sometimes.
- Bald Women: Mel the bartender.
- Battle Couple: Ty and Gemma
- Battle Strip: Shade's sharkskin vest. Camouflage skin works better when it's uncovered.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Pretty.
"Pretty doesn't say 'stow it'! He just throws a knife at your head and calls it a warning!"
- Bioluminescence Is Cool: The settlers develop a bioluminescent shine from eating certain species of fish.
- Also, a number of real bioluminescent creatures make cameos: Jellyfish, green lanternsharks, lanternfish, a siphonophore, algae plumes...
- Bizarrchitecture: The settlers' houses are shaped like jellyfish or other invertebrate sea creatures, because those shapes deal with the water pressure better.
- Bribe Backfire: Mayor Fife and Captain Reevis. He pretends he was "fanning himself" with the money.
- By "No", I Mean "Yes":
Ty: Are you going to throw up?
Gemma: No! [Beat
- The Captain: Captain Reevis.
- The Cavalry: When all of the settlers show up to rescue the surfs.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ty's ability to communicate in sign language comes in handy in book 2. Also, when Tupper points out that many creatures with biosonar can also use it to stun creatures.
- Charm Person: Pretty's hypnosis.
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Cool Boat: The Spectre—it's a submarine shaped like a shark!
- Dark and Troubled Past: The Seablite gang.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Dark Life, Dark Gifts.
- Dark Secret: A number of people have these.
- Determined Homesteader: The pioneers.
- Disaster Scavengers: The Surfs.
- Doesn't Trust Those Guys: Ty about the surfs in book 2, and the surfs about the pioneers.
- EMP: Part of how the Seablite gang escaped—thanks to Eel's Gift.
- Everything's Better With Sparkles: Eating bioluminescent abyssal fish gives the settlers shiny skin.
- Everything's Even Worse With Sharks: At least, when they think you'd make a good meal.
- Evil Albino: Shade—sometimes.
- Exact Time to Failure: Courtesy of Hewitt.
- Eye Tropes
- Faking the Dead: Shade/Richard.
- Fantastic Slurs: Dark Life
- Farm Boy: Ty—though their crops are various varieties of seaweed and their livestock are fish.
- Fish out of Water: Many.
- Gemma—with undertones of Blithe Spirit.
- Ty, in the stack cities.
- The Seablite Gang, pretty much everywhere.
- Flashback Nightmare: Ty, about his time as a medical experiment.
- Forced Into Evil: The surfs. As soon as the coercion stops and the misunderstandings clear up, they're friends.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: The dive skins.
- Freakiness Shame: Gemma about Ty's Gift.
- Friend to All Living Things: Zoe and her menagerie.
- Future Slang: "Glacial!" "Let's make wake."
- Global Warming: The setting is based on much higher ocean levels, the remnants of coastal cities on the sea floor, and the lack of available land for anyone who wants to live on the surface.
- Good with Numbers: Hewitt.
- The Government: Uncaring at best.
- Guys Are Slobs: Eel is, anyway.
"You mean the bunk the stinks so bad even you won't sleep in it?"
- Handicapped Badass: Gabion (mute).
- Hand Signals: All the pioneers know sign language, since they can't speak with Liquigen in their lungs.
- Hand Wave: Decompression? What decompression? They have Liquigen, they'll be fine!
- Happily Married: Ty's parents.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Gemma.
- Hollywood Chameleons: Shade's Dark Gift. Interestingly, his power is based on the octopus—which really can do this, quite a bit better than a chameleon.
- Honor Among Thieves: The Seablite gang.
- Ice King: Pretty earns the description "human freezer-burn".
- I Gave My Word: Shade to Ty.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Ty.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Gemma.
- Jailbait: Twenty-three-year-old Jibby keeps hitting on fifteen-year-old Gemma.
- Justified Criminal: Both the Seablite gang and the Drift surfs.
- Just Like Robin Hood: The Seablite gang eventually gets to the "stealing from the rich" part.
- Kid Hero: Ty and Gemma are both 15.
- Kiss of Life: After Gemma drowns in book 1.
- Large and in Charge: Shade.
- Luminescent Blush: Quite literal, in Ty's case.
- Mad Doctor: Doc Hudson.
- Magical Defibrillator: Zoe uses her electrical ability to revive a drowned Gemma in the climax of book 1.
- Magic by Any Other Name: Dark Gifts.
- The Medic: Pretty to the Seablite gang. Very much not your stereotypical medic...more of a Closest Thing We Got.note
- Meaningful Rename: The Seablite gang, though we don't know all of the meanings yet...
- Shade: Can change the color of his skin—which, as a bonus, allows him to cultivate a reputation of being able to vanish like a ghost.
- Eel: Electrical powers.
- Pretty: Hypnotic powers...plus being the resident Pretty Boy.
- Meta Origin: Dark Gifts are the result of the intense pressure of undersea living.
- The Movie: In production!
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Ratter" is sure to be a pleasant fellow, right?
- Narrative Profanity Filter: Ty doesn't let us know exactly what was said.
- Nautical Folklore: "Having a girl on board is bad luck" makes a brief appearance.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Ty promises Gemma this.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Ty and Gemma go straight to the authorities with news of Shade...and are told to go away.
- No Social Skills: The Seablite Gang, according to Shade.
- No Water Proofing In The Future: Very much averted. Everything is designed with the possibility of water (not to mention the pressure) getting to it.
- Official Couple: Ty and Gemma, of course.
- Outlaw: The Seablite gang.
- Parental Abandonment: Ty and Zoe, for most of book 2.
- Parents in Distress
- Pastimes Prove Personality: Angelic little Zoe...collects a menagerie of poisonous, sharp-toothed, or otherwise incredibly dangerous sea creatures.
- Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: The Seablite gang. Their time as medical experiments in Seablite left them with plenty of both.
- Playing with Syringes: Seablite prison.
- Plucky Girl: Gemma.
- Portmanteau: Liquigen (liquid oxygen).
- Power Tattoo: Shade, when he feels like it.
- Promotion to Parent: Richard to Gemma, more or less.
- The Quiet One: Shade.
- Red Baron: Shade, maybe Hatchet. The rest of Seablite's chosen names are somewhat less intimidating.
- Ruins of the Modern Age: On the seafloor after massive landslides.
- The Savage Indian: The Surfs play this role in the "Western" setting—at least at first.
- Save the Villain: Ty and Shade—Twice!
- Sea Monster: Of the real-life varieties: Red Devil Squid, giant sharks...
- Shock and Awe: Zoe's ability.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Ty and Gemma, once in each book.
- Sonic Stunner: Ty, eventually.
- The Speechless
- Submarine Pirates: The Seablite gang.
- Sunken City: Any city that is coastal in our time.
- Super Senses: Ty's biosonar. Gemma's hearing.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Gemma dresses up as a boy at one point.
- Tattooed Crook: Shade.
- They Would Cut You Up: Why Ty makes the younger kids keep their Dark Gifts secret.
- Thicker Than Water: Gemma and Richard.
- True Companions: The Seablite Gang.
- Underwater City
- Underwater Ruins: The remains of the coastal cities of our time.
- Vigilante Execution: What the settlers try to do to Shade.
- Why Did It Have To Be Snakes?: Gemma: Heights. And the ocean, for a while. Ty: Doctors and anything medical.