Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross

The Basics:
Some Fine Day by Kat Ross   
Strange Chemistry**
Book One in a planned series.
Science Fiction/YA
Publication Date Unknown
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

** Strange Chemistry is now defunct, but this book was awesome so please stop by Kat Ross' blog and show your support. I hope she can find a home for this book ASAP.

I debated about posting this review, but I wanted to express my support for the author!

Why I picked up this book:

A badass sixteen year-old who has been lied to by the government? I'm in.

Book Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She's smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty:
1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
3. There's no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.
Jansin has been lied to. On all counts.

My thoughts:

I was a fan of Strange Chemistry - I've enjoyed the few things I've read from them over that last several months. I'm very disappointed that they've been shut down because they put out some really great YA material in fantasy and science fiction genres.

Anyways, when I saw Some Fine Day come up as a potential review book on NetGalley, I jumped on it. I'd just finished, and loved, Kristi Helvig's Burn Out (not from Strange Chemistry). It was YA Science Fiction as well, and surprised me with how good it was. I figured, hey, maybe this is a genre that I really like.

I'm going to guess... yes?  I loved, loved, loved this book.

As expected, main character Jansin is very badass - trained from age eight in a Sparta-like underground community to become special ops in the military. The story opens with her vacationing topside for the first time in her life with her family - seeing the sun for the first time, the ocean, being outdoors for the first time. And things kind of go downhill from there!

She's very quickly confronted with evidence that she doesn't actually know the whole truth about the response to the existence of hypercanes - five supersized, superstrong hurricanes that basically destroy anything in their path.

What's so awesome about this book is that Jansin is able to recognize some of the reasons for why people behave the way they do - that they don't know any different, that they need to be strong or cold or blind to something in order to function, to survive, to protect their way of life, etc.. So much insight!  
I'm really into the impact of science on people - the social implications of, for example, massive climate change that drives people underground to survive.  And this book delivers. There's lots of evidence of thought going into the politics of it, the psychology of living underground (and of having the opportunity to briefly be above ground!) and so on. This material is all woven into a plot that really centres around Jansin trying to survive while uncovering some hard truths about the world.

Add in a dash of romance with a guy who has surprising amount of skill as a medic for his young age, and a liberal dose of trauma from his childhood, and you've got a fantastic, fun read.

While Some Fine Day excels at conveying the psychology of being on the surface or of being underground, it does a much better job of conveying the vastness of the surface in terms of setting than it does of really painting a clear picture of life underground. I was expecting more closeness, something a little more claustrophobic. Jansin reflects on some of her training missions that had her squeezing through tight spaces, but I never really got a sense of close quarters otherwise. It's a small quibble because with the population controls, maybe the space underground is much more cavernous and open than I wanted to envision. But there it is.

Bottom line:

Some Fine Day is well worth a read. It's a scary picture of a potential future, it's a beautiful tale of survival, it's a heartbreaking reflection on what humanity is capable of.... Grab this one!

4.5 stars
For fans of science fiction, climate change fiction, YA with light romance, YA action tales.

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