Submarines and Sea Monsters
Author: Jonathan L. Howard
Series: Katya Kuriakova #1
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
“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.”
Okay, I know you have a description up there, but let me tell you about this book is really about: SUBMARINES. SEA MONSTERS (?). PIRATES. Enticed? You should be! Katya’s World took me by surprise by just how amazing it was.
The novel begins as Katya Kuriakova is making her first trip as a navigator aboard her Uncle Pushkin’s small submarine. It was supposed to be a simple, routine trip to deliver supplies to a nearby colony, but as they’re leaving, their vessel is commandeered by a young government official who demands they take him to the prison camp so he can deliver his captive–a notorious pirate named Havilland Kane. What’s worse is that he knows very little about submarine navigation, especially for a boy who lives in a world encased by water, and he demands that they go through a particularly treacherous part…which is where they awaken something that could mean the destruction of everyone on their barely colonized planet.
Katya’s World is action packed, in such a way that it’s subtly addicting. I didn’t realize I couldn’t put the book down until it was 2:00 in the morning and I had to go to bed so I could get up at the crack of dawn the next day! I couldn’t help it, though–I just kept reading and reading because it’s SO GOOD. I can’t wait for the next installment.
As far as characters go, they were all so real; I could perfectly image each one. Katya’s World has a truly great set of characters.
Katya Kuriakova–obviously the protagonist–is fifteen-almost-sixteen years old, and she’s very proud to be allowed to enter into the workforce, which officially makes her an adult. She’s a very bright young girl–often hinted at being a prodigy–but she’s not obnoxious in her intelligence. Katya is quiet and listens, taking everything in. She gives suggestions only after she’s thought things through. That doesn’t mean she never makes mistakes, though. Katya is by no means perfect, and that’s what makes her such an endearing character. She is on the cusp of adulthood and is trying to be an adult, but she’s still only fifteen. By the end of the novel, she learns what it means to be an adult.
My absolute favorite character, though, is Havilland Kane. He’s, well, a polite pirate, though clever, secretive, scheming, and endearing. What’s so refreshing about Kane is that most authors would write an arrogant, impulsive, snarky character in his place, but Jonathan Howard didn’t! And it was delightfully unexpected! For some reason–possibly because of his unexpected personality–I just absolutely trusted Kane. I had no reason to. I had every reason not to. But I genuinely trusted him and wanted more!
Katya’s World ends not quite on a cliffhanger, but in such a way that it left me wanting more. I even got onto Goodreads to try and find when the second book comes out only to remember that THIS book hasn’t even quite come out yet! It’s released on November 13 (next Tuesday!) and I highly recommend this book, especially to people who enjoy sci-fi or submarines–and it’s only $6.01 on a Kindle. Katya’s World is a fantastically gripping read!