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Darklandia by T S Welti

Darklandia (edition 2012)

by T S Welti

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7836154,388 (3.39)None
Authors:T S Welti
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:dystopia, post apocalypse, science fiction

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Darklandia by T. S. Welti


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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Author's talent is there, but the book could have used more work and polishing.

The basic idea of the story has something special in itself, but the way it is told and the manner in which tidbits of information are being revealed makes the book tedious to read. I actually read the book twice, because after the first time I was very confused about the story and I just thought that I had missed something essential in it, since I usually do not read dystopian fiction. After the second round I have to say that I hadn't missed anything the first round. The story jumps here and there, and the reader is left wondering about the lack of cohesion in the story every couple of pages. The lack of professional editing is noticeable and proved very disturbing. ( )
  QueenOfEschnapur | Nov 28, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I struggled to read this book, picking it up and putting it down (albeit virtually) over and over again until I finally finished reading it. over a period of months. And I have struggled even more to write a fair review.

This book was a creative effort gone wrong. I commend the author for undertaking a complex concept and occasionally capturing my attention, but the lack of cohesiveness and the lack of continuity, compounded by the non-existent editing, resulted in just a single star. .

The imagination that filters through this tale indicates potential... But rather than starting over with this story, the author might consider using that imagination to write a new story. But this time, develop the characters first and outline the story. Then write the story based on that outline. Review it, edit it, and after the second or third draft, send it to a professional editor. After that, you may have something worth publishing. ( )
  mamalu | May 10, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through the Early Reviewer program and although YA is not usually my cup of tea, I tried to give it a fair shake. I really did. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much to like about it.

Taking the ending first, I will say that the surprise plot twist at the very end was interesting. I didn't see it coming, and it did make me stop and think. But that was too little too late.

The plot concept is not original. In the future, America is ruled by mysterious, sinister forces that keep the population under control using brainwashing and drugs. One young woman is recruited by the secret underground resistance movement, where she discovers that she alone holds the key to saving humanity from mindless enslavement and zzzz...Oh, sorry, I bored myself to sleep just writing that plot summary.

The writing is equally mediocre. The author apparently has never had a lesson in the proper use of tense in the English language, as she(?) consistently misuses it, using the simple past when she should be using the past perfect. In addition, as so often happens with self-published books, this story suffers profoundly from the lack of careful editing. A quality editor would have fixed the tense issues, as well as other grammatical problems like use of the wrong homonym ("site" instead of "sight," "ceased" instead of "seized," etc.). A skilled editor would also have called attention to plot holes both minor (characters having the same conversation multiple times on a page; a character stands up and then a few paragraphs later stands up again; characters sit at the dinner table but never eat) and major. I could go on into a litany of the big plot holes in this story, but what would be the point? The surprise plot twist at the end is a convenient out for the author to say "aha, but that wasn't really a plot hole because..." Sorry, no. If it jumps out at me while I'm reading and is never satisfactorily resolved, it's still a plot hole.

The story's protagonist spends approximately three-fourths of the novel being dragged through various streets, corridors, secret passageways, and subway lines (the latter mysteriously still in perfect working order even though no one knows about them) by members of the rebellion, who shout long paragraphs of exposition at her while they shunt her from place to place, answering half her questions with "I'll explain that later." This is not good storytelling. And when the protagonist isn't being lectured, she's lecturing us, the readers, on the details of her society and its history! Overall the book contains WAAAAY too much exposition, demonstrating that the author has never heard the "show, don't tell" rule of creative writing.

But my main issue with the story is that too little attention is given to the protagonist's process of discovery/realization of what is really going on in her society. We're supposed to imagine that for 17 years she sailed blithely along in this environment happily brainwashed, questioning nothing, and then a few cryptic words from her grandmother turn her entire worldview upside down; not only does she immediately understand what grandma was implying, but she immediately accepts it as true also, with no evidence of internal conflict, denial, or similar emotional turmoil that one might expect to come with such a revelation. Furthermore, for a girl who has spent her whole life being drugged into submission, she shows remarkable intellect/insight when it comes to deducing the underlying political situation. It simply is not believable. The final straw for me was the scene where the protagonist, having only ever gotten her nutrition from liquid slop, tastes an apple for the first time. The author devotes almost no time at all to describing how this young girl reacts to her first taste of real, sweet, delicious food. We learn that the apple flesh cuts her gums and make them bleed (which leads me to wonder: could humans really survive on liquid nutrition alone and still have strong healthy teeth after several generations?), but she then goes on to eat the whole apple -- despite having been warned that she should only eat half because her system can't handle it -- and we get absolutely no description of how that sensory experience feels for her. Again, this is just unforgivably bad writing.

It seems clear to me from reading some of the other reviews that I am not the target audience for this book, and so be it. That's both the advantage and the risk of the Early Reviewer program, I suppose. ( )
1 vote mamajoan | Apr 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received Darklandia from a librarything giveaway in return for a honest review. Sera has just watched her grandmother be raptured which is a happy time for the people of Felicity. Her grandmother was the last living person to remember what New York was like, and with her rapture it would change the city for the better. Sera has grown up in the future where after a drought has changed the course bring about a war that causes the government to police water. Everyone receives water rations that are laced with conforming drugs as well as every day they spend time in a virtual world.

Sera decides to take her grandmothers last words to heart and stops drinking her water ration which changes her life forever. She’s thrust into a world she didn't know existed, awaken from the drugs she joins the resistance against the government. Sera will venture into the virtual reality world in attempt to gain secret information from her father that could save the masters and change the world. However she will have to give up everything she’s known in order to help change the way things are risking it all.

I've become a huge fan of the dystopia genre plus the synopsis screams matrix so of course it was my kind of book. I was drawn into Darklandia right from the start; the story is fast paced and keeps you wanting more. The author creates a unique twist on the dystopia genre creating a captivating story from start to end. Having grown up the all her life living on the controlling rations I found it interesting reading about Sera experiencing what we take for granted. She’s an enjoyable character who I found was easy to connect with and by the end she stole my heart. I do think most teens and adults who are dystopia/matrix fans will fall in love with Darklandia. I will admit it’s a little intense in parts so really young teens may struggle but I think it’s worth the read. ( )
  kalyssa | Mar 5, 2013 |
Darklandia is an interesting take on the "brain in a vat" premise with a healthy dose of Orwell's 1984. Even though it is a YA novel I think it could have explored more of the complexity that it hinted at, but then again, I'm not exactly the target market. I feel like this novel is more of a mashup of other works without going deeper into the one thing that sort of made this novel unique: the concept of putting together behavior modification with the guise of a virtual reality "theme park" with which to get out socially unacceptable impulses (i.e. murder). Overall this is a quick read with a good twist and reveal (even if it was a little predictable) that will make you think harder about the what you were really digesting in all of the chapters up till the last and look for the cracks in what you thought was reality. ( )
  jshrop | Feb 27, 2013 |
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Manhattan, 2147

Seventeen-year-old Sera Fisk gleefully celebrates the death of her 114-year-old great-grandmother, the last Atraxian alive who still remembers what New York was like before Felicity.
There is only one principle of Felicity: Suffering is optional. Those who disagree or forget this principle, as Sera's father did, are detained and “purified”. Through the use of the Darklandia virtual reality and mandatory water rations, the Department of Felicity has transformed metropolises all over the country into happy, obedient communities.
Inspired by her great-grandmother's last words, Sera stops drinking the water rations and is soon recruited by Nyx into a rebel organization in the midst of planning a full-scale attack on Darklandia. When Nyx attempts to override the Darklandia system, he stumbles upon shocking information about Sera and her family. After years of living in a haze of virtual reality and drugs, Sera finds herself running from a powerful surge of raw emotions and a government agency intent on keeping reality a secret.
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