Strange Chemistry, s/b Â£7.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
Jonathan L. Howard is best known for his Johannes Cabal series of books, but Katyaâ€™s World takes you to (quite literally) a different world.
Set in the distant future, mankind has begun colonising other planets. Humanity settled on the distant water world dubbed â€œRussalkaâ€ over one hundred years before this book begins. Russalka is so inhospitable above the waves, with constant storms and rough water, that the colonists settled on the seabed and travel in submarines. Decades previously, Terrans tried to exert their authority over Russalka and war broke out as the Russalkans fiercely defended their independence. Years later, the scars from the war remain on Russalka â€“ both physically and mentally.
The titular Katya Kuriakova is just starting her career as a navigator on her uncleâ€™s submarine, but after their vessel is commandeered by a federal security officer escorting a prisoner, she finds herself thrown headfirst into a world of pirates, war and a desperate fight to survive.
Howardâ€™s world is fantastically realised, with well rounded characters and a gripping storyline. This book will keep you entertained from start to finish, and have you eagerly awaiting the second book in the Russalka Chronicles, just as I am.