The Catalyst

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Release Date
October 11, 2016
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n a thrilling debut by sixteen-year-old Helena Coggan, a girl with a terrible secret is tested to her limits as her fractured world teeters on the brink of war. Eighteen years ago, a dimensional break ripped open the sky, drawing humans into an ancient conflict. Otherworldly souls rained down and fused with those of people, dividing the population into the green-eyed, magical Gifted and the dark-eyed, nonmagical Ashkind. A devastating war followed, and the Gifted have managed a fragile peace ever since, largely through a brutal law enforcement organization known as the Department. Fifteen-year-old Rose’s father, David, has a leading role in the Department. Rose and David are Gifted, but they are also something else — something terrible. Their lives depend on keeping it secret. But when a mysterious murder threatens to tear Rose’s world apart, forcing long-buried secrets into the open, her loyalties are put to the test. How much does Rose really know about her father’s past? How far is the Department willing to go to maintain order? And, when the time comes, who will Rose choose to protect?

Editor reviews

2 reviews
A Completely Unique World
Overall rating
Writing Style
The Catalyst is one of those rare, incredible books that happens to have a story as beautiful as the cover! With a lovable, interesting group of characters, and an original setting, this book is absolutely brilliant.

The first thing I did after finishing this book was look to see if the author had any more books out. Looking for more, I was surprised to learn that this was her debut novel (HOW?!) and even more surprisingly, Helena Coggan wrote the draft for this book was she was just THIRTEEN. I was just barely getting through three page papers at that time, so how she was able to write a book (especially as good as this one!) is crazy to me.

Anyway, onto the story!

It takes place in a world built on secrets and lies hidden by those who control it all. There is a division in this society, there is magic, and there is something entirely unique from all of that, too. I will be vague because the more I go into it, the less surprised you will be with all the twists and turns this story will bring you through. What I will tell you, however, is that this story involves angels, demons, lotssss of guns, and WAR. Everything is complicated, and I will admit that I wasn’t always understanding the world-building, but nevertheless, I found it intriguing and the characters made everything worth it.

There was this perfect mixture that I really appreciated from this book. It has some romance, action-packed moments, and strong family bonds (one of my favorite things). I like having a great mix because it makes me feel like nothing is lacking or nothing is overpowering the story.

The main thing that made this story one of my favorites, however, was Rose, the main character. (And no, no because we have the same name haha!) Rose was a force of nature. She was definitely a flawed character, but her fierceness and strength allowed me to really relate to her and feel her struggles, but also her happy moments. She is a great example of a female character who is not stereotypical, but instead complex, raw, and still lovable.

Final thoughts?

Helena Coggan has created the most beautiful world in this book, along with a cast of characters that will definitely get people invested in her book. This is a book that will make you think, that will be unlike any books you’ve ever read, and a book that will probably make your heart start beating intensely towards the ending. It is absolutely everything I love all put into one big book. Enjoy!
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Incredible Debut Author
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Writing Style
The Catalyst ‘s 1st draft was his book was written when Helena Coggan was 13. For a debut author, this is one amazing read.

Helena Coggan is fantastic as storytelling and I am excited to see where her writing career takes her. If you love magic and young adult dystopian novels this one for you. There is adventure, a touch of fantasy, a little romance, all grounded in a real world feel.

What I liked best It is an incredibly addictive read. The character building starts off slow eventually building up to deeper descriptions. This book is all about the journey and unraveling the truth. Rose is terrific. For the first time in a very long time, there is a teen heroine, who is seen as just average in the world she lives in but at the same time she is feisty, determined and at times a little impulsive. All traits that make Rose feel like a girl next door (just with a few differences since she lives in a magical world).

The world building is also outstanding. Helena Coggan builds up the world from the ground up. A lot of the world feels familiar but with small twists and turns. She takes her time to introduce all the different nuances in a way that feels organic. The reader often finds himself or herself learning along with Rose

The twists and turns are also a great plus. While happily predictable in some areas (I love being able to guess some things and not feeling tricked). Coggan also includes a few surprise hits giving the book a thriller suspense type feel at the end. She explores complex topics that go deeper than good versus evil, but also the great area where the real world tends to find itself.

What left me wanting more? I would like to know more about the characters and see more character development- but isn’t that what a sequel is fore? Overall it is a strong set up for a fantastic story and I am looking forward for the sequel and any other books Helena Coggan writes in the future!

A very impressive debut from an author so young. I predict she will have a huge following in the near future. This book should find itself on dystopian fans’ to read list ASAP!

Good Points
Fast paced
Interesting characters
Unique plot
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