Katya’s World (Katya Kuriakova #1) by Jonathan L. Howard
Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012
My Copy: ARC eBook, 243 pages
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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 pressurized 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 first hand, and realize 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.
There are several things that I liked about this novel and several things that I didn’t like. First of all, I loved the story. It was non-stop action and adventure. I think that many people would enjoy the story immensely. It is a great science fiction story — notice that I’m not saying novel, just story. I believe that Howard had a very good idea for this novel, but did not really execute it as well as he could have.
I found the characters, especially the main character, to be under-developed. After completing this novel, I still don’t feel that I know very much about Katya’s character. Katya is the main character; she is who the reader mostly follows throughout the story. But, the reader is not told very much about her. There is no real description of her looks or personality. The reader just has to figure out little tid-bits while reading through the novel. We discover that she is a very strong-willed person who cares about what she does and about her family. But, that’s about all we really get to know. I think the novel could have benefited from a few more peeks inside her head to learn more about her. She is also not a very memorable character, in my opinion.
Probably the most developed character in Katya’s World would be Kane. Kane is a “pirate” who came to Russalka from Earth. He kind of reminds me of Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. He has the same kind of attitude. He doesn’t really belong to one side or the other; he simply does what he feels like doing at any given time, not caring what other people think. I liked this character, probably more than the main character. This is mostly due to the fact that he is way more developed than Katya and, therefore, I am able to connect with him more.
The story is told in third person narration and some things irked me about the way Howard did this as well. I didn’t like how Howard had the main character figure something out, but didn’t let the reader in on it. I understand if the author wants the story to be mysterious; but then it should be a mystery to the main character as well as the reader. I think that the reader should be kept in the loop and follow along with the main character and learn right along with her. In Katya’s World, it’s like the author is rubbing it in the reader’s face, like saying: haha, the main character knows something you don’t know! This really bothered me, and it happened a couple of times throughout the novel.
I also don’t think that the world-building was as strong as it needed to be. There were a lot of things that I had trouble picturing, simply because there wasn’t enough of a description. I think that the entire writing quality was just weak and that a lot of aspects were not explained/described as much as they should have been.
Having said all that, I would recommend Katya’s World to fans of science fiction, as the story was very interesting and intense. The only thing the story was missing, in my opinion, was romance! There was absolutely no romance at all throughout this novel.
A Peek Inside:
Katya sat in the otherwise deserted junior
officers’ ward room and wondered how
so much can go wrong in so little time.