The following synopsis has been taken from Goodreads.
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?
The Catalyst by Helena Coggan
Release Date: 19th February, 2015
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
The Catalyst is one of those books with an interesting premise but it turns out to be a fairly average read. The author, Helena Coggan, is a teenager and it shows in the writing. Don’t get me wrong, though. I think that it is fantastic that Helena has achieved a goal of hers at such a young age, especially when many young people are struggling to get started in life. I do feel, though, that it would have been beneficial to have waited at least a few years before publishing The Catalyst as Coggan certainly has potential.
The main character, Rose, needed much more development. This also applies to the rest of the characters in the novel, as none of the stood out and came across as very flat. The relationships between the characters also needed more work. The only relationship that was believable was the one between Rose and her father. The rest of the relationships, such as the friendships between Rose and her best friends, were unconvincing. It was difficult for me to believe in the story when I found it hard to believe in the characters.
With regards to the writing and the progress of the plot, I often felt that I was reading a rough draft, rather than the finished novel. There were many times that the plot felt like it was going in one direction, and then it would suddenly switch and head off in another direction. This became rather annoying. Sometimes the perspectives of the characters would switch unexpectedly and this would leave me feeling confused.
As I previously mentioned, I wish that Coggan had waited at least a few years before seeking publication. I really do think that she should take the time to hone her craft, as she has the potential to contribute something special and unique to YA. Even though The Catalyst is fairly average, I’ll be looking out for more novels by Coggan in the future, as she does have talent to tap into.