Review of Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard

Format: Paperback
Genres: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 339
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: 06/11/2012
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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.


Katya's World is a true sci-fi, with futuristic worlds at war, undersea battles, lot of technology and even a Leviathan. I really enjoyed this action packed read but at times it fell a bit flat for me, I grew bored even in the midst of battle and I had trouble connecting with the main character.

I loved the story as a whole - girl starts her new job with her uncle, expecting her first day to be a simple one. But in the first of many twists, the vehicle is selected by a new officer looking to prove himself and they are ordered to take a prisoner to the prisons. This is the start of an adventure that eventually spirals into full scale war, and the first time we me Kane - who of course is the prisoner.

I really liked Kane. He had that complicated character thing going on and he was easily the most interesting character in the whole book. He's funny, sarcastic and brave (when he wants to be) but also selfish and vague. I found myself wanting to stick with him throughout the story. Katya on the other hand, I didn't really connect with until I got right to the very last pages. She's a little stereotypical - young girl trying to prove herself. However, the book did go with the annoying habit of having Katya in the way, all of the time. It didn't seem realistic to me that so many people would just trust the thoughts of a 15-16 year old and let her go wherever she pleased.

There were a lot of things in this book that didn't feel realistic to me though and Katya was a small part. The story favoured a lot of twists, characters with ulterior motives, sudden plot twists, big reveals. There was just too much of it and I rolled my eyes on more than one occasion. It got to the point where you could easily guess that if you hadn't seen a character die, they probably weren't dead. 

I also had issues with the world building. It was vast and grand and well thought out sure, but I found myself wondering about the little details. This entire world is underwater and I wanted to know how on Russalka they managed to make their clothes, food, dyes for the clothes, submarines - where did they find the metal? and even coffee was mentioned. All these little details and no explanation was rather frustrating.

Romance? No. The book felt like there was something missing throughout and I think that I'm so used to reading romantic sub-plots in every book I come across, I just expect it now. So I was a little surprised when there wasn't even a whiff and a little sad too, I really love Kane. That said,  romance would have got in the way of the story, so it worked well for this book not to have any. 

Overall, this book did read like the author's first novel, which it wasn't. However it was an enjoyable read and I've already purchased the sequel to find out what happens next, despite my issues with the story! I would have like a little romance but as long as Kane's back in the next book, I'm happy.


2 comments:

  1. Look at that cover! So pretty.

    Sounds like this book had quite a few issues, but this review really makes me want to read it anyway! I think I'm just drawn to anything with water.

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  2. You surprised me at the end when you said you were going to read the next story =) Sounds like a decent book, but it also seems like too many issues to deal with. I think I'll stick this one in the 'maybe' pile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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