Katya's War is the second book of a Sci-fi Adventure series.
The battle lines have been drawn. The people of Russalka turn upon one another in a ruthless and unwavering civil war even while their world sickens and the deep black ocean is stained red with their blood. As the young civilisation weakens, its vitality fuelling the opposing militaries at the cost of all else, the war drums beat louder and louder.
Katya Kuriakova knows it cannot last. Both sides are exhausted – it can only be a matter of days or weeks before they finally call a truce and negotiate. But the days and weeks pass, the death toll mounts, and still the enemy will not talk.
Then a figure from the tainted past returns to make her an offer she cannot lightly refuse – a plan to stop the war. But to do it she will have to turn her back on everything she has believed in, everything she has ever fought for, to make sacrifices greater even than laying down her own life. To save Russalka, she must become its greatest enemy.
I read the first book (Katya's World) in 2015 and sadly did not write a review for whatever reason. But it was one of my favorite books that year and I was disappointed that I couldn't find a copy of Katya's War at the library. Then my husband bought it for my birthday this year and I was all sorts of happy.
I'm always nervous over sequels because sometimes they're notorious for being a letdown. I'm excited to say that Katya's War was the equal of it predecessor.
First off, I LOVE that this book does NOT have any romance whatsoever. It's so refreshing to read a GOOD book for young adults that stars a self-sufficient, intelligent, brave, teenage girl who wants to do the right thing and is willing to risk her life to do so, AND she doesn't NEED to have a love interest to complete her.
I'm sure the author faced all sorts of people who were like, "What is this nonsense about a book with no love interest?"
Now I have a confession to make . . . I have this completely irrational fear of being trapped in a sinking sub. So WHY did I decide to fall in love with a book that takes place on an all-water planet where everything happens UNDERWATER.
We start off the story with Katya doing her new normal: transporting cargo, getting paid with IOU's, etc. Her copilot, Segei is a new addition to the story and the two of them ship out for the main underwater city.
Of course, it is impossible for Katya to have a safe journey in this series. With a war between the government and the rebels, nowhere is safe. So they manage to get where they're going but the freaking underwater police people that everyone knows are super evil snatch her.
I'm like SHE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!! And Sergei leaves her and they pull her in this dark tunnel in the middle of nowhere and I'm like, well, that happened. Bye Katya, nice knowing you.
My cat just walked off with my caps button. Why would she do that?
Katya meets up again with Sergei who has a cargo for them and as they're packing up, the regular "police" are grilling the benign person next to them. There's some new packing ordinance that's going into effect soon and apparently this guy thinks everyone should already be obeying. The cop man gets more and more frustration and then he fricking snapped! I was scraping my jaw off the floor like whaaaaat just happened?
Back into the clutches of super creepy enforcers, I mean does it ever end? And then they're traveling and something's wrong with the steering mechanism and I'm all like "yikes, technical malfunction!" But Katya's got another idea.
You know when you're watching a movie and the camera angle is behind the person and suddenly it spins when they whirl around to look behind them and OH MY GOSH CRAZY MURDERING AX WIELDING RED-EYED MONSTER. (got my caps back) That moment is the one I had in this book right then.
Besides wimpy Sergei and the industrious Katya, there's also the pirate Kane and his partner/muscle Tasya. Neither of the latter two characters are what we'd call upstanding citizens and that's what makes them so much fun.
Kane's the leader of the ragtag pirate band that's left over from the invasion of the Terrans(Earth's people) and what is an invading force with no way off a planet going to do? While Tasya's got a dark history that no one dares delve into. She's the heartless assassin type character and gosh do I love her.
I'm totally on team crazy mad-skilled super warrior woman who'll snap your neck if you're late.
And that's just the beginning. Katya's about to discover just how wrong she's been . . . about everything. Nothing she's known is as it seems and holy crap is it screwed up. Toss in a sneaky mission that's bound to end in capture and eventually death, rational people suddenly snapping, another TOTALLY creepy element, and finally . . . that trip I've been dreading since book one!
The trip to the most dreaded place on the planet--The Deeps. We're talking a sub anchored to a shelf so far down in the ocean that no ordinary sub can reach it. We're talking a prison that is only a short distance above the poisonous gases of the ocean floor that'll eat through anything. This is a sub with no capacity to move . . . it is a death trap.
It's also the perfect situation for my irrational fear to go crazy. Every second of this book I'm thinking, "She's so going to get trapped in a sinking sub and die."
Cryptic, right? It's meant to be because . . . going down this journey yourself with no spoilers is so much of the fun. But let's say that when things finally climax I DIDN'T SEE IT COMING!!!
I also didn't sleep that night. Nope. Not a wink. Stared at the ceiling and waited for daylight.
In conclusion, this is a second book that totally does justice to the first and I'm a sad banana that it seems to be one of those undiscovered gems because this series deserves to have a wider audience than it does. I gave it 5 stars.
If you like sci-fi with lots of twists, that's clean with no romance and a fun cast of characters, you really should read this.
You can buy the first two books of this series on Amazon(available in paperback or ebook).
You can also find Jonathan Howard on Twitter.