"They believed Daeios would be a safe haven.
They were wrong."
With a tagline that grabs the eye rather aggressively, 'Daeios: 140 Feet Down' by Colleen Eccles Penor is a dystopian thriller I couldn't pass up.
Apocalyptic weather conditions have reached a peak and the 'Elite' at a million dollars per spot minimum, are fleeing the Earth's surface. After a harried search for her drug-addicted brother Jace, Shea and her family barrel along the roadways in an RV trying to reach shelter before the storm is out of control.
Arriving at the underground stronghold moments before lockdown, they expect to survive only about a year with the supply levels.. and that year will be spent in a cave-like vault as protection from the climate above.
Soon after settling in, they start to realize everything is not as it seemed. Though Shea and her dad visited many times leading up to the lockdown so they'd easily remember the drive and have an idea how things worked within the community, once everyone is trapped inside.. things change and not for the better.
Daeios Elders who run the community claim direct instructions from God and roll out a forced 'repopulation' program for all fertile females amongst them. Little by little, the men who aren't Elders are beginning to disappear, and soon.. others start to go missing as well.
Heavy handed punishments such as light deprivation and music torture are just the beginning.
This is really more of a dystopian survival/revenge story, like a sci-fi 'The Handmaid's Tale' version of 'I Spit On Your Grave.' So, beware.. lots of triggers here for anyone susceptible to violent assault, torture, rape, murder, gaslighting, sexual manipulation, suicide, and probably a few other things I'm not even thinking of. Mostly it's mentioned in passing as dreamed memories or after situation observations, but it still might be a bit much for some readers.
For me, despite all the relatively wild elements of the story, it was still incredibly dull. A lot of what was happening was very obvious and the strange style the author chose to use.. almost felt closer to stream of consciousness than standard storytelling.
Though everyone's in pretty dire straits, most characters slip in and out of their trauma with such ease it's like they're playing pretend with their emotions. While there were backstories present, with that manner of just shrugging them off, there was no investment for me and I really didn't care much about anyone which made the book feel like it was just filled with violence without reason. Instead of utilizing what happened along the way to connect to the reader, it was just so much background noise.
Pretty disappointing, overall.