Kat Ross – Some Fine Day

katross-somefinedaySixteen-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.

She knows that when the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.

She knows that the only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.

Most of all, she knows 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. Faced with the truth in the form of a charismatic young survivor named Will, Jansin vows that her former masters will regret making her what she is…

Some Fine Day by Kat Ross was a story in a sub-genre I’d never heard of before picking up this book: cli-fi. Often set in the (near) future and with a speculative bent, it’s fiction that deals with the fall-out of global warming and climate change, such as Paolo Bacigalupi’s work or J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. In Ross’ version of our future, about sixty or seventy years from our present day, our world has been taken over by huge storms called hypercanes. A hypercane is a sort of permanent hurricane/typhoon that can grow to cover an entire continent. In the wake of their genesis, humanity has fled below the surface and has built a civilization deep underground. It is against this background that Ross has set her story and it’s one that is both impressive and fun. 

Ross’ world-building is impressive. She’s thought through the effects of moving underground quite thoroughly, including details not just on the technical side – they get their heating and energy from earth’s core, their air from chimney vents to the surface, and water from aquifers, trains aren’t run on fossil fuel but on magnetism to give but a few examples – but also on the political side. When global society collapses under the pressure of the hypercanes and they move underground, they start off with a federal government modelled somewhat like the EU or the United Nations. Yet the more the competition over resources grows the more this deteriorates into a situation where it’s each group for itself and Raven Rock, Jansin’s home prefecture, is almost a police state. It’s also heavily classist as well, children of the more wealthy families have the chance to either join the military or become scientists, while those of the less fortunate can only become miners, factory workers or farmers.

Jansin makes for an interesting protagonist. She starts off as something of a rebel without a cause, dissatisfied with her life, but unsure of what it is she does want. Needless to say our rebel finds a cause. I loved her time on the surface, it felt adventurous and like discovering a new world not just for Jansin, but for the reader too. While I loved her connection with Will, I found the way she broke off her relationship with Jake a bit harsh. It feels rather out of the blue and not really built up well. Another thing that bugged me was that I never really got a sense of how long she was actually above. I thought at most a few months, but after she goes back to the academy, she talks about being away for almost a year. So in that regard the pacing feels somewhat off, even if it’s not so much the pacing that’s lacking as the awareness of time.

Some of my favourite characters in the book are those Jansin meets up top. I loved Captain Banerjee, Charlie, and Nileen. Banerjee is just the quintessential beloved, gruff-with-a-heart-of-gold leader of a small band of survivors that will win my heart every time, while Charlie is the trusty mentor type and Nileen is just lovely, snarky, and kind. And of course there’s Will and Jake. Will is awesome; far more layered than expected and interesting in his own right, he’s not just a pretty face that catches Jansin’s heart. Jake is the guy you don’t exactly hate, but pity as he’s so sucked into the system. He truly believes in the lines Raven Rock has fed him and isn’t capable of stepping back and looking at them objectively. I did like that Ross shows us the set-up for a love triangle and then thumbs her nose at it and discards it without hesitation.

Some Fine Day was a fascinating debut, with an interesting premise and some suitably complicated conspiracy elements. Ross once again proves the old adagium “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re out to get you” right, with some of the things Jansin and Will uncover. While Some Fine Day‘s story arc is resolved, said resolution leaves us standing at a cliff with a whole bunch of new questions to answer, so I’m pleased that Ross is already hard at work on the sequel to the book. If you like near future thrillers and if the cli-fi angle intrigues you then you’ll certainly want to pick up Some Fine Day. Scratch that, if you enjoy a well-told, action-filled story then Some Fine Day is a book that you’ll want to check out, period.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.