ARC Review: “Katya’s World” by Jonathan L. Howard

Katya’s World (Katya Kuriakova #1) by Jonathan L. Howard

Goodreads | Amazon

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.

3 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Strange Chemistry for this eARC! This book will be released November 13th!

Did you know that dystopian is technically filed under scifi? Because Jonathan Howard didn’t forget. Oh Lord he didn’t forget.

It has been ages upon ages since I read a YA book that was this much a straight scifi. The other dystopians I’ve read don’t compare by a long shot. Katya’s World is what scifi is supposed to be: pages of tech description, tons of tech usage, that kind of thing. Quite honestly, I’m not a fan most of the time because I’m just like ALRIGHT STORY NOW.

Katya’s world was, at least, fairly refreshing. I enjoyed how it tried to give itself a twist by adding an essence of Russian heritage. Honestly, though, the real emphasis was on the submarines. Kept reminding me of that submarine movie with Sean Connery. It was a very serious place; humor was not an obvious element to this book.

That’s probably because once the book got going, it didn’t stop. The beginning has about 30 seconds of normalcy before things start to spiral out of control at one heck of a sharp angle. By about halfway through the book we’ve gone from, “Man, the government has commandeered our boat” to “THE WORLD IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED.” And then it just keeps careening out of control from there. Freaking nobody in this book can catch a break, and Howard isn’t afraid to kill people.

The character of Katya was interesting to me. I always like analyzing what happens when a guy writes a girl MC versus a girl writing a girl. Katya’s character is supposed to be anti-feminine from the get go, but the amount of emotion she displays for most of the book is minimal. I mean, she displays it at the most serious times, but quite frankly she might as well have been a guy. While this was a plus for me, some people might not like the fact that Katya spends the entire book being one of two females on multiple submarines full of dudes and there’s no romance. She didn’t have time trying to freaking save the world.

My biggest issue with this book is an issue I’ve seen a lot of scifis struggle with, and that’s the balance between information and content. This book was a fast paced thing, but it never felt like it because of all the block description thrown it. Now I understand part of this is just what scifi books DO, but, for example, at the beginning: the entire first chapter is a prologue that explains the world. That’s great, whatever. But THEN in about chapter TWO, ALL that information is repeated. Redundant information description happened a lot in block chunks, that was just all together frustrating. Maybe he was trying to remind the readers, but it way cluttered up the book.

Katya’s World is the kind of book I enjoyed, but would probably hand my copy off to my brother. This book would blow him out of the water.  I appreciate the extensive world building that Howard clearly sweated over, but I think the plot suffered for it. The characters were okay, but few were fleshed out and fewer had any range of emotions. If you’re a lover of straight scifi then you’ll probably adore this one–I liked it myself without being one such person. However, it’s just not one I’d read over and over again.

Top Ten Books On My Fall T-B-Reviewed List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

It’s a TTT Rewind week! For this one, I’m fudging the criteria a little. I thought it was really cool to show what reviews are coming up on the blog when I did this on September 4, so I’m going to do it again! And tell me if you’d rather see it never ever again.

1. Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard

I actually haven’t read a dystopian in ever, so I’m really excited to take another dip back into it. This one just strikes me as different for some reason, and I hope it lives up to it’s expectations. Look for this one October 12th.

2. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have had this since JUNE and it’s KILLING me that I haven’t read it yet. But the release date still isn’t til November, so here we are a crapton of months later. Luckly, this review is finally coming October 19th!

3. Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to their Teen Selves edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

This one has a really long title for not such a big book. But anyways. I have a physical copy of this sucker and I’m so happy because there are some high flying names in this one! I can’t wait to share it with you, even if I have no idea how to review it. This review will appear in some fashion on October 22nd.

4. The Messenger by Pamela DuMond

This book has, for some reason, switched titles and covers since I signed up for the blog tour, but I digress. This is the stuff Goodreads is using now, so don’t shoot me if it’s wrong. But, anyways, this is a blog tour and there will be a review and all will be discovered on October 25th.

5. Undeadly by Michele Vail

I consider myself to be lucky to have an ARC of this, considering I never realized the release date had been pushed back to November and it just happened to show up amid the chaos that is the new NetGalley. Look for a review October 29th – just in time for Halloween!

6. Endlessly by Kiersten White

This is the one and only book on this list that I have actually already read. Read a while ago, too. But I kept pushing it back for other scheduled blog tours and author interviews. I REFUSE to bump it ANOTHER month, so November 1st it is!

7. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This is another one I keep pushing back, half because it was published ages ago and so I had to make room for newer releases and half because the reviews that came out all frightened me half to death. This should be interesting. Mark your calenders for November 2nd.

8. Velvet by Mary Hooper

This is a new acquisition that I’m VERY excited about. It’s fantasy, but it’s also historical and I LOVE IT when those two things mix. Hopefully it’ll live up to my expectations. You’ll see November 5th!

9. Secrets by Tim Mettey

This one actually doesn’t have a cover or a Goodreads page yet, but I JUST got my ARC in the mail and that’s very exciting. This one is scheduled for November 12th.

10. Renegade by J. A. Souders

Now I don’t actually have this one yet, but it does come out November 13th so Tor/Forge should be sending it to me some time before that. I have no idea when the review will go live, but it’s possible it’ll throw at least half these dates out of whack. 😛

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

(Yes, I am aware that this is last week’s topic. I had this post done up but then things happened and I never got to posting it, and as you will see down below I am WAY behind on reviews SO– Here’s a feature on just how behind I am. :P)

So, I talk a LOT about my “have-but-need-to-read” shelf on Goodreads. It’s … long. And I’m behind on reviewing, so I have a LOT of books to get through. Here’s what’s coming at you this fall! …at least, the first ten of them.

1. Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Blog tour time! 😀 This post is coming at you this week, actually, on September 13. No, I don’t actually have it read yet – that’s what I’m going to go do RIGHT NOW, when this post is done. I’m that behind. >.>

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Being contacted to do this by the publisher was possibly the happiest day of my life. This hits the blog Sept 17 and I literally couldn’t be more excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and it just SOUNDS like the best thing.

3. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Another blog tour! This one coming at you Sept 20, and it promises to be awesome as well. Don’t know if you’ve checked it out yet, but it sounds rather Hunger Games-esque–which can either be a good thing or a bad thing, really, but you know. I’m excited, at least!

4. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

I’ve been sitting on this one fore a while and it’s KILLING me. The review is finally coming out Sept 21 and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve sort of outgrown my dystopian fad for now, but this one still has so much potential I can’t pass it up. (Besides, I’ve been told it’s dystopian but it doesn’t SOUND dystopian.)

5. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

GUYS. GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS BOOK YET? Because now would be a FANTASTIC time to start. Not only am I reviewing this book on Sept 24, but I’m ALSO a part of the Crewel Street Team which is FANTASTIC. I’m so in love with this book that I’m not actually participating for the points thing; I’m just doing it for idea love and worship. I cannot WAIT to read this.

6. The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

I have high, high hopes for this one. It sounds really interesting. Of course, I could do without the “complusive love” bit in the synopsis on Goodreads, but you should all know how I feel about those. And, if you don’t, if you check out my review on Sept 27, you’ll hear about it, I’m sure. I can never NOT comment on insta-love.

7. My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

BLOG TOUR AGAIN! I’m reviewing book one of this series on Oct 1, but a whole bunch of other blogs are reviewing and otherwise featuring the two other books in the series as well. Sadly, I couldn’t get a handle on all three of them like I wanted. 😛

8. The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges

Do you know how awesome it is to have Random House email you and ask you to review an ARC? I know a whole bunch of people will tell you that happens to them all the time, but this is the FIRST time it’s happened to me and EEK! So happy. PLUS, not only am I reviewing this one on Oct 4, on Oct 5 I’ll have an interview with Robin Bridges AND a giveaway of The Unfailing Light coming at you and it will be THE BEST. 😀

9. Katya’s World by Jonathon L. Howard

This sounds darker than my average fare and I LIKE IT. I’ve been looking for something a little different, and I think this could be just the ticket. Review goes live Oct 8!

10. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have been sitting on this one for FAR TOO LONG. I cannot wait to read it because it sounds SO SWEET. (Er, that’s a switch from Katya’s World… XD) I’ve heard good things, and I hope to add my own on Oct 12!

Stacking the Shelves #6

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

Hey guys! Let’s hear it for another edition of Stacking the Shelves here at My Life is a Notebook. I missed last week, but it was NOT for lack of books. I’ve got some gooood stuff this week. (Plus, two of them were bought because of bloggers! BLOGGERS SELL BOOKS!)

I apologize for the attempt at humor. And for the buzz at the beginning – it goes away after a while, please bear with it. >.<

If you don’t watch the vlog, don’t forget to vote for which book series you want to win from my 1000 followers giveaway AND enter to win Flicker by Kaye Thornbrugh PLUS a CD and a bookmark! Both links are right there on the sidebar!

Blog Tour:

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis – Goodreads

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan – Goodreads

For Review:

Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard – Goodreads

Bought:

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber – Goodreads

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – Goodreads

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter – Goodreads

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton – Goodreads

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards – Goodreads