Thanks to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing an eARC in exchange for for an honest review.
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Synopsis: Eighteen years ago, a dimensional break ripped open the shy, drawing humans into an ancient conflict. Otherworldly souls rained down and fused with those people, dividing the population into the green-eyed magically Gifted and the dark-eyed non-magical Ashkind. A devastating war followed, and the Gifted have managed a fragile peace ever since, largely through a brutal law enforcement organization known as the Department. Fifteen-year-old Rose’s father, David, has a leading role in the Department. Rose and David are Gifted, but they are also something else–something terrible. Their lives depend on keeping it secret. But when a mysterious murder threatens to rear Rose’s world apart, forcing long-buried secrets into the open, her loyalties are put to the test. How much does Rose really know about her father’s past? How far is the Department willing to go to maintain order? And when the time comes, who will Rose choose to protect?
Angels and demons and hybrids! Oh My! Before I get into my feelings about the book itself, I first have to say how impressed I am with the author herself. Helena Cogman wrote the original draft of Catalyst when she was only thirteen-years-old, and now, two years later, she’s a published author! How amazing is that? I really love success stories like this! As far as the book itself is concerned, if I hadn’t read the author blurb I would never have guessed that this was written by a teenager. I was immediately hooked from the first chapter, and despite a few issues, I did enjoy it. The main problem concerns the multiple POVs, of which there are a few. Because there was literally no distinction between the voices, I found it a bit of a struggle each time it happened to figure out which character’s voice I was following. This also made the story harder to follow at times, especially near the end of the book when the frequency of POV changes really picked up. While I liked Rose, some of her actions were questionable such as one scene where she pulls a gun on a commanding officer and threatens to kill him. She’s supposed to be extremely intelligent, yet she does some truly idiotic things, and after each, there are virtually no consequences for her actions. What I loved though was the complicated relationship between David and Rose, which was one of the reasons I kept reading. While I think the world-building could be a little more developed, it has a lot of promise. The ending I thought was brilliant, and it sets the stage for a possible sequel. So, here are my final thoughts. Catalyst may be a little rough around the edges, especially concerning character development, but overall it’s quite a promising start for Helena Cogman. Despite its flaws, I can see this appealing to teenage fans of fantasy and dystopian novels. I am very much looking forward to what this young author comes out with next.
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