Review Blog

Jul 27 2015

Catalyst by Helen Coggan

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN: 9781444794670
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Helen Coggan began this novel at the age of 13 and has now published her first novel at the age of 15. Her interview with BBC can be viewed here.
This action packed fantasy novel centres on Rose Elmsworth. She lives in world newly formed after the First War of Angels. Society in London is now divided. There are the Gifted (skilled in magic), the Ashkind (mere mortals) and the Leeched (citizens that have failed their Testing as teens and have had their abilities stripped). Rose, however, is a 'hybrid'. Hybrids are greatly feared and they are hunted and destroyed by the 'Department'. Rose and her adoptive father David (also a hybrid) can become monsters at times not of their own choosing and at vulnerable times must lock themselves away to protect themselves. Rose is intelligent, feisty, strong and has a close relationship with David. David is a leader in the 'Department'.
This book is a real page turner and the reader is hooked from the first page. As the story unfolds Rose is not only keeping her own secrets safe, she is coming to terms with the secrets she gradually learning - about David, the Department, the escaped prisoner and the Demon child. Rose struggles with the use of violence, and the actions taken by the Department to control the citizens.
Davis has a mysterious past, and this along with the dramatic and surprising ending to the book, leaves the way open for a sequel.
Linda Guthrie

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