15 November 2012
REVIEW: KATYA'S WORLD
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Strange Chemistry
UK Release date: 6th November 2012
Genre: Science fiction
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.
Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career.
There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet. (Goodreads)
Katya, despite being only 15, was an extremely practical and logical young girl at the start of her navigation career. As her first job veered extremely off-course, she was able to come up with solutions to life threatening situations that even experienced war veterans weren’t able to think of. She was also very forthright and stubborn, refusing to be left behind from any dangerous missions on multiple occasions, despite the risks. All of these things made me like her a lot. She had smarts and balls!
The setting for the story is primarily underwater on a variety of different submarines. Russalka is a planet that has absolutely no land mass, forcing the inhabitants from earth to live under water, on submarines, on ships or on water platforms. This makes for a very interesting setting as the threats are different to normal sci-fi/YA, the obstacles characters face are very different, and because of this I found the story really engaging.
Outlaw Kane was a most secretive and mysterious character. He often withheld important information from the other characters and at best talked cryptically. I did expect certain things to be revealed about his past and links to Russalka, but never got any of this. I don’t know why but I expected more revelations and big surprises lurking in his past. I guess if this is the start of a series, there may be more revelations later on. Despite the fact that he has had a shady past, I couldn’t help but like him. I knew deep down he was a good man by the way he looked out for and protected Katya.
Although the current inhabitants of Russalka are long ago descendants of earth, specifically Russians, they have lost their sense of heritage and ancestry and formed a completely new identity and society for themselves. I liked seeing how a group of people from the same socio-economic and cultural group now lived without any earth history to go by. Even on Russalka, a people united against earth, they still managed to have their own factions and groups, and I thought that Jonathan L. Howard’s writing managed to subtly explore human nature and behaviour without overpowering the plot.
Katya’s World is an underwater, action packed adventure with a strong lead character and amazing space setting.