catalyst book coverReviewed by Sarah Lelonek

I broke the cardinal book-reading rule when I picked up Catalyst by Lydia Kang; I didn’t read the first book in the series. It was my mistake. When I read the synopsis for Catalyst, I immediately thought it would be something I would enjoy. So, I didn’t give it another thought and started to devour the book. I didn’t realize it was the second book in a series until about a quarter of the way through, and even then, I still found myself enjoying the story and able to keep up with the characters.

Zelia Benten is one of a select number of adolescents who have had their DNA modified by various science experiences. What this means is that Zelia and her friends have special powers, like speaking directly into someone’s thoughts. The downside is, in this futuristic world, the government has made it its mission to destroy everyone with modified DNA and to stop the process from spreading so that only pure genes are passed on. When the government attacks Zelia’s home, she has no choice but to set off on a journey to find her long-lost mother and get answers to impossible questions.

I actually really enjoyed Kang’s writing style. With futuristic novels, I often find myself burdened with too much jargon and acronyms, but Kang was able to focus more on action rather than making up new terms. That’s not to say there weren’t a few new ideas in Kang’s telling of the future – it just means Kang introduced these ideas in a way that didn’t leave me confused or frustrated.

Like I said before, I didn’t read the first book to this series. Honestly, I don’t think that I’m missing much in terms of story. Kang does a fantastic job of tying together the story elements from the first and second novel. Whether it’s a good thing that I was able to enjoy this book despite not reading the first novel is up for debate, but I would definitely recommend this book and series to anyone who likes sci-fi and action mixed with a little young adult drama. This series will definitely be on my radar, now that I know it is in fact a series.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Kathy Dawson Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.