by Jonathan L. Howard
Published November 6, 2012
This is a pre-release review. Thanks to the publisher, Strange Chemistry, for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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.
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Complete honesty: This is one of those books that I finished, put aside, picked back up, thumbed through again, and just could NOT stop thinking about. Oh, and I absolutely love the cover.
When I was reading it, I was completely engrossed, and cringed when I had to put the book down to do something "real". The story is very well-spun, and the characters are very real. I love the idea of this ocean world, and the war they fought with Earth to keep their freedom. Don't worry, all that was before the book starts, so it doesn't count as a spoiler! :)
There's a richness to this book, a depth to everything there. There's so much for the author to draw on in future installments.
As this is a YA book, I want to say one thing. The author was very brave to NOT have a romance. Most of the YA books I've come across have some sort of romance going on. This book is meaty with a number of different types of relationships, and they are all done extremely well.
I can't wait to see what happens in book 2.