The distant and unloved colony world Russalka has no land, only the raging sea under 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. She is making her first voyage; the first easy journey of what she expects to be an easy career. But soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, and learn that her world's future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.
Dare I say Katya's World is one of the best Young-Adult books I have ever read?
Jonathan L. Howard's SF tale is action based, which left little room for Katya to tell me how she feels about every incident (something that is quite common in YA books). It was great watching this person grow, without being explicitly told the whole way through her every thought and emotion. Katya is a fantastic intelligent female character, and a great vessel in which to explore this alien world. She's not the only one, as there are plenty of other well developed and intriguing characters that serve more to the story than just being 'red shirts'.
Amongst all the excitement and danger, there is a lot of humour and a lot of heart. On another plus side, this was officially the first Young Adult book I read with no romance! Was it strange? Did I miss it? Not in the slightest because Katya's World portrayed different aspects of love, duty and loyalty.
Howard doesn't doesn't talk down to his audience, but whips them along saying trust me. While the bare bones of the story is very familiar, Howard expands this recognisable plot and fills it with admirable characters to make this story unique amongst it's other YA counterparts. I can't wait for the sequel, Katya's War.