Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
on October 23, 2012
If there is one thing to be said about Darklandia, it is that you should go and pick it up, right now. No, seriously. If you enjoy distopian fiction of any flavor, chances are high that this book is one you will enjoy.
In the beginning of Darklandia we meet Sera, a young woman who lives in Manhattan. Not the Manhattan that we know; a Manhattan of the future, where your water is rationed and the nutrients you need to survive are given to you three times a day in a glass. A Manhattan where the subways are inaccessible to the general public, and where you must spend at least one hour every day in a virtual reality machine to soothe your "darkling" urges.
Everything in this Manhattan is controlled. There are security cameras everywhere, watching your every move. The bracelet on your wrist tells the government if you've been skipping your water rations, or if you haven't served your hour in the virtual reality world known as Darklandia. Your words have been filtered; words that have negative meanings have been filtered out of every day vocabulary, so only harmonious words are spoken.
In the beginning, Sera is happy with her life. Her great-grandmother, the last of the darklings from the time before Darklandia and the water rations, is nearing her rapture. When the time comes, Grandmother tells Sera one final thing, "It's in the water rations." These words start a cascade within Sera, driving her to become one of the rebels who are trying to wake up those suffering from the state known as "felicity".
Much of the imagery in this book lends itself to the post-apocalyptic genre; Manhattan decimated by civil war, but only outside of the areas where the government has corralled the people of the new nation of Atraxia. In one scene, Sera is walking with a friend of hers in an area of the city that she had never been to before, and she notices a fountain that is gushing crystal clear water. It is mentioned that it looks "obscene", because of how the citizens of Manhattan are forced to go weeks without washing their clothes or bodies due to the water restrictions.
One could also call this book a science fiction novel, what with its use of technology that is definitely futuristic. The Darklandia pods, where people experience the virtual reality simulations, are filled with a gel that recognizes each person and allows the Department of Felicity to give them personalized simulations that feel real. So real, in fact, the there are some citizens who have trouble differentiating between what is reality and what is not.
As the book continues, the tone becomes more rushed, like an action film that is charging headlong toward its climax. I was unable to tear myself away, unable to stop reading. The last few chapters had me tearing through each page, desperate to find out what would happen to Sera and her friends.
This is one book where I absolutely did not see the ending coming. The last couple of chapters are a huge twist, one that had me nearly in tears. Not that the ending was a disappointment; far from it. It was not the ending that I was expecting, but it was a perfect way to end the book. I can say that the ending felt like it absolutely destroyed me; it was so good, but I felt like it left me wanting more when there was none.
The way that it was all brought together in the end makes me wonder if there will be another book. Even if there isn't, Darklandia is a fantastic addition to Ms. Welti's growing list of novels, and would be a great addition to anyone's personal library. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.