Thursday, 4 June 2015

Review: The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

The Catalyst
Behind 448 Pages
Released: 14 April 2015
Genre: Paranormal, Dystopian
Publisher: Hachette Australia
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At the Other End:
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?

Helena Coggan wrote the first draft of The Catalyst when she was thirteen. Her ambitions up to this point had been somewhat linear- she had wanted to write stories since she was six, and before that, she wanted to live in one.

She lives with her family in London and divides her time between writing and procrastinating, which her parents insist on calling 'school'. This is her first novel.

Find Helena:

Full of strategy and secrets, The Catalyst is a fantastic debut novel that is full of intrigue in a future/sci-fi/fantasy London.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it was great to just pick up and read, then not put it down until the end. There is a lot of information about this new London, and it’s easier to absorb it all when you just read the majority of the book at once. Sure, it’s still an info dump, but over the course of the book, you do come to understand it. Some things, you actually don’t understand at all (Hybrids), and then some things you find don’t really live up to what they are supposed to be (Angels). We don’t get much information on the Hybrids other than it’s kind of like a disorder from when the souls merged in the beginning (or something like that). Then, we get told that the Angels are the most powerful kind out there, basically ruling over the country because they are the most powerful. But then, the end comes and you’re being told that the leeching is actually working on them? You would think that because they are so powerful, that they would stop it somehow? Destroy the canisters? Something!

I liked Rose. She was a brilliant character. I like how mature she was, yet sometimes she felt a little too mature for 15 even though she was raised as an Army kid and trained in everything since she could walk (maybe even before that). Sometimes it felt like she was the most mature one in the Department, and when that happened, some of the characters did start to blur together. The relationship between Rose and her father is one that I absolutely loved throughout the book. There isn’t any romance in the book, but the father-daughter relationship here was brilliant and is as big of a ship as any other. These two would do anything for each other, and because they are father-daughter, you didn’t get to go through the dreaded insta-love like you do with most romantic relationships. This was a perfect relationship in every single way. 

I believe that this book would really have been better if it was in first person. I felt really detached at times, especially with how mature Rose is you really do feel it when it comes around. Sometimes she would say what she is feeling, yet you don’t really know how much you believe her because you don’t feel fully connected with the character. I really hope that it does change in the second book, and I hope that more is actually revealed on the Hybrids and the other details of their world that we didn’t get to fully understand in this book.

The timing of the plot felt strange in parts. It would randomly jump in places, or it would skip things then go back and talk about them (example. It skipped over a school day, yet at the end of the day, Rose started mentioning that something happened at school, and you just feel like you needed to experience it). 

Overall it’s a fantastic book, one that will make me watch out for this author’s other works as well as the sequel. I’m excited for what is to come with Rose and her father, especially after the events at the end of The Catalyst. 

Oh, one more thing. Shouldn’t this book cover be green and not blue? Everyone’s eyes are either silver/grey, black or some shade of green? I would have thought that it would be Olive Green after Rose and her father.... Something like this:

This novel was received for review via Hachette Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. I wondered why you had a green cover at the end! I got this one for review and can't wait to read it (Sometime in the next two weeks.) I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Great review.

    1. Haha only for the sake of proving a point, which is that the blue cover has no point whereas a green one would :) I hope you enjoy this one, it was a really interesting read


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