A little while ago, I read Simon Logan’s new novel from ChiZine Publications, “Get Katja,” and found it to be an exciting and entertaining read as I had expected. I decided to read the first book in the series again, “Katja from the Punk Band,” and experience the characters first adventure. I had read the book a couple years ago when it was first released and was hoping to find it just as good the second time around.
Katja is just like everyone she knows. She is stuck on the work island and dreams of getting to the mainland for the freedom and opportunity that she dreams she would find there. When her boyfriend shows here a vial containing a mysterious chemical that he is to deliver to a mysterious stranger in exchange for passage to the mainland, Katja shoots him and takes the vial so that she can escape. She cannot take the vial to the man by herself because he is expecting her boyfriend to deliver it. Also, there are many strange and dangerous people who want the vial and the escape that it represents.
Katja now finds herself in a race against time and an odd cast of characters in the pursuit of freedom. She must not only retrieve the vial and reach the mainland but that same vial is being pursued by her boyfriend (who she had shot and thought dead), her parole officer, a video and chemical junkie, a small-time drug dealer and his boss, and two drug lords (and one of their girlfriends) as they all try to retrieve the vial and deliver it to the mysterious Man in Red who represents the wealth and freedom of the mainland that they all long for.
If that brief summary of the story leaves you somewhat confused, that is ok as there is a lot of different threads to this story that sometimes seem to be unconnected but which all come together in the end. No one in this novel is who they first seem and that lends an atmosphere of comedy and confusion that keeps the reader on his toes until the very end. Logan creates a unique world in this novel that is always entertaining if at times a little bit confusing in an amusing sort of way. Just when you settle into the story and think that you know what is coming next, Logan throws a new curveball that changes everything and keeps you guessing to the end. This is a rare treat in a world that tends to favor the formulaic. Logan is not afraid to take chances and turn convention on its ear to make this story completely fresh and entertaining.
“Katja From the Punk Band” is a completely original novel which is a truly rare thing. Logan shows a deft ability at handling the absurd in a way that illustrates central themes of society. While the characters and events of the novel are far removed from reality but are still recognizable. He shines a light on society from corners that many have never visited before. With its blend of genres that include cyberpunk, dystopian science fiction, action, and thriller, “Katja From the Punk Band” is a testament to Logan’s talent and ability to tell a story that is entertaining and thought provoking.
I would like to thank NetGalley and ChiZine Publications for this review copy. “Katja From the Punk Bank” is available now.