BOOK REVIEW: Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard


Some books you don’t need background information.  Others don’t make sense without it.  In Kaytya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard, the author articulately disseminates what the reader requires to enjoy the book in a few short pages, without which they would probably  flounder. Geek Syndicate dives into the latest offering from Strange Chemistry the global imprint dedicated to the best in modern young adult science fiction, fantasy and everything in between from Angry Robot.

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.

Mankind has reached for the stars and found other worlds. Many of those worlds will only marginally support humans, but the Earth’s environment has become so degraded, that most of these worlds offer more support than humanities home world does. So the stars are settled by mass immigration, colonies created from single ethnic groups, to prevent any possible future atrocities should anything go wrong and the minorities blamed for a disaster as had happened so many times in mankind’s history.

RIC-23 has the right atmosphere, gravity, and is rich in minerals, but is a water world, with not a square foot above sea level. A colony is formed of ethnic Russians, and the world named after a type of beautiful mysterious mermaid from Russian mythology, Russalka. The colonists settle, creating home sin submarine mountains and ridges, carved with the high tech tools brought from Earth and in floating platforms on their new world’s the stormy seas. Then they eagerly wait for the next deliveries of technology, people and supplies… which do not come, or word via FLT communications, which remain silent from Earth, while scattered colonies remain in touch.

So the Russalkins make the world their own, developing their own technologies and equipment, and to eventually reach for the stars to other colonies to trade for those vital components that they cannot provide for themselves, and in this process divide into two groups, those who live under the sea, and those who live and maintain the floating platforms that allow them to reach again for the stars. Those above become the Yagizban, living in their own enclaves and both groups followed their own agendas for several generations.

But Earth hasn’t forgotten them, and decided to take control of their lost colonies, whatever the settlers thought of the process. They landed, were greeted with joy by the colonists. When the Terrans immediately demand control of the government as well as the goods and services produced, for shipment back to Earth, with the colonists left unpaid, the new natives revolted and battle commenced. After many battles, with their fledgling space navy lost, the Terrans disappeared without a trace and Earth was silent again. Russalkins lick their wounds and try to put the war behind them.

Katya is a newly graduated navigator. She joins her Uncle in the family submarine, Pushkin’s Baby, making what should be routine deliveries to scattered underwater domes. Except Baby is commandeered to deliver a pirate prisoner to a high security facility by a green Federal Officer. During the trip, they learn the truth about the failed takeover of their world as well as where all the invaders went and ties between the Yagizban and the invading Terrans, as a legacy from the war, threatens to destroy the Russalkins, Yagizban and pirates alike.

I enjoyed this book. It is a good read, is internally consistent, doesn’t break any laws of physics and was very hard to put down. I would recommend this book to any budding SciFi reader as well as to the hard core.


UK Print
Date: 8th November 2012
ISBN: 9781908844125
Format: Medium Paperback
R.R.P.: £7.99

US/CAN Print
Date: 6th November 2012
ISBN: 9781908844132
Format: Large Paperback
R.R.P.: $9.99

Date: 6th November 2012
ISBN: 9781908844149
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / $6.99

Source: Strange Chemistry
GS Reporter: Whatotherway, Montoya


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