Title: Darklandia written by T.S. Welti
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian Literature
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+)
Rating: 3.5/5 – I liked it
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #9
Suffering is Optional – T.S. Welty in “Darklandia”
Darklandia is a dystopian piece that takes place in the future Manhattan following a civil war within the United States. The United States allied with a few other countries to form the new country of Atraxia that is still in the latter stages of civil war with rebel groups still moving against the government.The civil war was the product of people rebelling against the governments restrictions on water usage. Because of the strain humanity has put on the earth’s natural resources especially water, there is a really really long drought which forces the government to restrict water usage and provide people with “rations’ that basically take the place of food and are packed with everything humans need to survive and that we used to get from regular drinking water and hard food. It comes in the form of liquid and is consumed three times a day. Not drinking your rations causes unpleasant side effects as well as being a violation of the code of Felicity.
The concept of Darklandia as it is explained to us is a really crazy and very interesting concept. The government basically wants everyone in Atraxia to be happy and perfect. It’s like this perfect, highly monitored community. Darklandia itself is like a video game, a virtual reality in which all citizens of Atraxia have to spend at least an hour a day in. They have to climb into these pods (which are disgustingly dirty) and live a few hours of their alternate life. The idea here is that in Darklandia you can do whatever you want or whatever the “darklings” used to do before they were perfect like kill people and have casual sexual encounters and that if you got all that out of your system during those hours (up to six) you will be perfect and happy and wiped clean of those urges in your daily life.
We experience the story from the point of view of Sera, a high school student whose father has been taken away and “purified” for being a part of the rebellion and whose grandmother was the last darkling to live amongst those in the community. Darklings are basically what they call pre-felicity humans and they are pretty much looked down upon. The darklings are considered to be impure or diseased. They are said to be infected with misery and suffering which the department of Felicity has cured with the rations and with Darklandia, hence the term phrase “suffering is optional”. This is just the very basic explanation of the roots of the story and that is all I’m going to tell you because I do definitely think that this is book is worth reading. There are a couple of twists especially one very very big twist at the end of the story that you definitely would not see coming.
I rated this book a 3.5 because I didn’t absolutely love it, but I did really like it. I think the concept of this book was a really amazing concept and it had the potential to be a really amazing book. It just left me with alot of unanswered questions and some things in the story did beg for more explanation or more attention. I think this can be rectified in a sequel but I don’t really know if that’s happening (although I wish there was because I’d like to see more of this world and these characters). I was really interested in the story and seeing how it played out, by now you probably guess that I have an affinity for dystopian literature. There is just something about it that makes my heart race and keeps me glued to the edge of my seat biting my poor nails! I definitely recommend fans of dystopian literature to give this one a read, at 132 pages it is a really fast read and I think it’s always an awesome thing to support our self publishing authors as much as we can. I love this book cover by the way!
Happy Reading y’all!