In a post–magical-apocalypse London, a teenage soldier with a secret monster-transformation problem hopes she can rescue her father without incriminating herself.
At the end of The Catalyst (2016), Rose’s father, David, escaped from the authorities in disguise. In the intervening six months, he has for some reason turned himself in to the authorities, where he’ll be tried as an illegal Hybrid monster. It’s been 20 years since the Veilbreak divided all humans into the magically Gifted and the nonmagical Ashkind. The vanishingly rare Hybrids, who transform into monsters for one day every six weeks, violate the law simply by existing. Rose (who, like almost all of the characters, is white) stands by her father as he prepares for his trial, all while trying to hide the truth: she is also a Hybrid. Until recently, David had been the head of an exceedingly powerful secret-police/domestic-spying organization. Now, the fallout from his arrest and the revelation of his secrets have embroiled Rose in politics, for which she has no patience. Rose’s adventure is broken up by brief scenes from David’s youth, which move backward through time to slowly reveal the mystery of both his origins and hers. David’s story comes at a compelling pace, though the climactic action sequence of Rose’s narrative makes no logical sense. An exciting setup plods into a disappointing denouement featuring too many events and revelations; while each would be satisfying on its own, here they dribble out as from a leaky tap.
Poor pacing and flawed logic lead to a disappointing sequel. (Fantasy. 13-15)