Some Fine Day, by Kat Ross

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Publication date – July 1, 2014

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) 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.

Thoughts: Climate change has altered the face of the world dramatically. Sea levels have risen, cities washed away. The emergence of hypercanes, gigantic and devastating hurricanes hundreds of miles across, have destroyed what little of humanity didn’t escape below the surface. Humans now live underground, reduced in numbers and in strength, living their lives in huge caverns with layers of rock to protect them from the devastating conditions that continue to rage on the surface. Some Fine Day follows the story of Jansin, military cadet and daughter of two of the privileged who escaped underground when the surface grew too difficult to keep living on. The first couple of chapters are set-up, a slow build-up with details about Jansin’s life, how society works underground, and her family’s trip to the surface for a luxury vacation before she’s scheduled to graduate from her academy.

It’s on the surface that the story really begins, after an unexpected pirate attack leaves Jansin isolated from her family, who escaped back underground while she was injured and captured. Here’s the first moment that the story diverges from what I expected. While much of the story in Some Fine Day is fairly standard for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian YA novel in broad strokes, there are plenty of departures from what I’ve come to expect in novels. Case in point; when the novel stars in the underground society, I expected it to largely continue there, with the Jansin slowly uncovering signs that her life is more complicated and that society has more secrets than a teenager typically knows. I expected romance, which there was, but not from the immediately obvious source, and there were more hiccups along the romantic subplot that didn’t involve the usual, “You don’t understand me” or “Our goals are different” arguments that are often seen. There’s enough familiar material to make fans of the genre feel quite at home reading it, and enough unexpected differences to make it stand out from many other of the genre’s offerings.

Whether you consider it a pro or a con, Ross’s writing style for this novel is a fairly typical example of the genre. First person viewpoint, female protagonist, a good amount of descriptive detail but largely the focus is on perception rather than objectivity. Which is fine; it establishes the connection between the reader and the protagonist whose eyes we see the world through. It brings the action up close, and allows for internal monologues and introspection. The problem I find with this narrative style is that it’s everywhere. This isn’t the fault of Some Fine Day in particular. But it serves to make the book blend in with other books in the genre, not stand out. The things that make this book worth reading are evident only after you’ve made the decision to read it, which means that while it will definitely appeal to fans of the genre, it doesn’t do much to pull in anyone on the fence, doesn’t do anything to really distinguish itself from the competition.

Which is a shame, because I does walk some less common paths that other such novels don’t usually visit. True, it often returns to the safe and familiar after doing so, but it does deserve that recognition for breaking from the norm once you get into the real meat of the plot. Some plot twists may not be surprising, per se, but they are unexpected.

When you get right down to it, Some Fine Day is some fine novel, a welcome addition to the genre. And considering how easily I get burned out on the YA dystopian/post-apoc genre these days, that’s saying something. It may not be destined to be a classic, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining, with an unexpectedly dark and mature feel underpinning the whole story. It’s has a greater focus on discovery and justice than is typical, and while it does have a strong romantic drive and subplot, it doesn’t overtake the whole story at any point, it’s portrayed realistically and with realistic consequences, and was a nice addition to the tale as a whole, rather than being something that wars with the main plot for priority. I’m interested to see where Ross takes the story in the future, since it has quite a bit of potential and I want to see how my expectations get turned upside down again later on.

(Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.)