Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Katya's World (Strange Chemistry)

Katya's World - Jonathan L. Howard Katya’s World is a thrilling, action filled read that I enjoyed, but ultimately found lacking in character development and world building. Aside from the prologue that sets up the history and culture of Earthen expansion onto the watery planet of Russalka, the book is like a roller coaster ride that just doesn’t stop.The action in this book is its strongest point. It’s exciting and full of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Every time I thought I had a character or plot element figured out, the author would change the game and I would be frantically trying to catch up. I think the general roles of the pirates, the FMA and the Yagizban, but the characters that embodied them were all very stereotypical and exactly what I expected, which is sort of disappointing.I think Howard made the mistake of making his heroine too smart, too capable, and ultimately, unbelievable for a fifteen-year-old. She always had the answers, always came up with amazing plans that none of the more experienced, theoretically more capable adults, couldn’t think of. The adults were constantly in awe of Katya, which was extremely unbelievable, considering how the author stressed multiple times that life is hard in Russalka. The addition of Suhkalev, a young, bumbling FMA officer, only perpetuated the farce.One of the other things I struggled with in this book is the world-building. There is very little said about the culture of the planet except for their vehement dislike of anything from Earth. At first I was surprised at Katya’s scathing remarks and blatant ignorance, in fact, she’s proud that she knows next to nothing about her heritage. I think Kane is right in calling her and all Russalkans out on it: despite the war fought between Earth and Russalka, it’s really stupid of them to ignore their roots and history. I was also disappointed that we never saw any Russalkan settlements, or domestic dwellings – the whole book is set on a series of submarines.Overall, Katya’s World is an entertaining read, and I hope that the small issues I had with it are fixed in for the sequel, Katya’s War. Fans of science fiction light will enjoy it, and YA readers looking for something different are encouraged to give it a go.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.