Book Review: The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

Saturday, May 30, 2015
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: The Catalyst
Author: Helena Coggan
Series: I believe this is the first book in a series but I am not completely sure!
Publication Date: April 2015 in Aus, Feb 19th otherwise

Synopsis: "Rose Elmsworth has a secret. For eighteen years, the world has been divided into the magically Gifted and the non-magical Ashkind, but Rose's identity is far more dangerous.
At fifteen, she has earned herself a place alongside her father in the Department, a brutal law-enforcement organisation run by the Gifted to control the Ashkind. But now an old enemy is threatening to start a catastrophic war, and Rose faces a challenging test of her loyalties.
How much does she really know about her father's past? How far is the Department willing to go to keep the peace? And, if the time comes, will Rose choose to protect her secret, or the people she loves?"

My thoughts: Okay, I actually finished this a while ago, but needed some time to get my head back in gear and my thoughts into a reasonable state. I had a lot of trouble reading this book. Although I liked the premise, I was not looking forward to what just seemed to be another YA dystopian to me. The Catalyst did end up surprising me, but I feel that there are a few places that it could use some work.

Rose as a character is interesting. I don't mind cold main characters - ones that keep their emotions locked down and don't betray much - but occasionally it felt like Rose was either super underreacting, or kind of overreacting for the character she had been written as. The other thing that was hard for me was that I feel like this book was dealing with one too many issues at once - what I mean by this is that there were several separate storylines happening that I think could have been separated out into later books, rather than continuing on and trying to tie up every single issue in a neat little bow in just one book.

Finally, I often had trouble telling the difference between all the different (for want of a better word) races - the Gifted, the Ashkind, and then there were Angels, Demons... I eventually kind of understood what was happening, but it took me a while.

While I would say I liked this book overall, and I feel Coggan has a lot of potential to create really amazing fantasy-inspired worlds, this one just didn't quite hit the mark for me.

I received an unsolicited copy of this book for review from Hachette (thank you!).

You would like this book if: you enjoy dystopians with a magical twist; you like characters with closed emotions and deadly secrets.

Rating:  6/10

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