THE CATALYST by Helena Coggan


Age Range: 12 - 16
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A 15-year-old English girl must prevent her post-apocalyptic world from falling into yet another civil war between magic-wielding humans and those without it.

It's been 18 years since improbably named teen scientist Andrew Ichor broke the sky open in a fit of hubris ("I told them I could do it!"), leaving all humans sharing souls with either a magical or a nonmagical being. The ensuing war left the green-eyed Gifted ruling over the powerless Ashkind. In this world, tall, skinny, white Rose, a "powerfully Gifted" girl whose “subconscious takes the form of a genius,” is the brightest rising star of London's protectors. Though she's only a teen she's given access to her father's top-secret government job, because she's just that awesome. In fact, she's so splendid that she’s conscripted underage as a common soldier (begging yet another question: is this the most effective way to utilize an expertly trained combat mage?). But Rose and her father share a dire secret—she's not just special, she's illegally special!—and the only others who know are enemies of the state. Too much is packed into this novel for it to make any real sense, from its cumbersome setup to the details (a hideous school prank comes out of nowhere with miniscule impact; a classmate is allowed into classified meetings simply because she's nearby).

Nonetheless, compelling secrets abound amid the overstuffed incoherence, and it’s a page-turner for all its flaws. (Dystopian fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8972-8
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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