Catalyst by Lydia Kang
Book Two of the Control series
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by a friend (thank you, Lili!)
Summary (from Goodreads):
For fans of Uglies and The Maze Runner comes a complex, thrill-filled love story that will make you question exactly what it means to be human
In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they've come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something--a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister's safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There's more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined...aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.
What I Liked:
Hmm, I think I felt a bit let down by this book. I had high expectations, after reading Control, so perhaps I just wanted too much. In any case, this book wasn't awful (yay), but it wasn't that great either. Three stars is not bad though, so don't be totally discouraged! After all, Control was really good (in my opinion).
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ CONTROL. But not Catalyst spoilers.
In this book, Zel and her gang are on the run. Split up in the beginning of the book, Zel and several unexpected faces find themselves in an underground not-so-safe safehouse called Inky, where she and her companions are monitored and restricted - basically prisoners. At Inky, a man named Julian is in charge. He basically collects children with supernatural traits, and having Zel is like hitting the jackpot. All the while, Zel is hunted by the government, who is framing her (her DNA, really) for killing an important official. The world isn't willing to accept the young ones with special abilities, and there is nowhere to hide.
To be honest, I didn't retain a lot of specific information that happened in Control. So I was worried about starting this book and being totally lost. I very specifically remember the ending though. But Kang made it easy to return to the world of Control, so it wasn't too bad. Even if you remember nothing, it's okay, because Kang reintroduces a lot of the information from Control, but not in an info-dump-like way.
I think I liked Zel even more in this book - despite the fact that she acted like a lovesick fool at times. I'll forgive her... because she's pretty tough otherwise. She's smart, she thinks on her feet, she thinks outside the box.
I liked the supporting characters too. We get to know Caliga better - I understand her a lot more in this book. I'd go as far as saying that I like Caliga. I can't remember if I liked her at all in Control, but probably not. I liked some of the new ones too, like Tennie, and Xiulan, a boy and a girl at Inky who wanted to escape like Zel.
Now let's get to the dislikes.
What I Did Not Like:
I have to admit: I was a bit bored by this one. I didn't feel the same spark of interest that I felt towards Control. The story arc didn't feel the same. In Control, there seemed to be an overarching purpose (find Dyl). In this book, I thought the sentiment might by the same (find Cy), but then Zel finds Cy relatively quickly into the book (which is YAY, but at the same time, what now?). Perhaps I just felt like the series plot was lacking, but also, the plot for this book.
I also thought there was less sciencey things going on... a huge part of what made me like Control was the amount of science that was put into the fiction. Granted, I wanted even MORE science in that book, but I feel like if Control didn't have enough, this book didn't have even close to the amount of science I was expecting. Zel is barely in a lab doing any kind of medical research, and neither is Cy. Dyl is, but she's not in most of the book.
I didn't like the way the romance went. There's no love triangle, and Cy and Zel are reunited pretty quickly in the book, but things are so different. Their relationship is very strained, and I feel like they never really TALK. They never hash out why things were strained, what happened over the past year with each of them and between them. A year is a long time not to have any contact with a person you love. Things will change (and they did), and communication is kind of important.
The ending overall didn't feel creative or special or anything like that. It seemed cliche and boring, as if the author couldn't figure out how to end the duology. To be honest, after reading the majority of the book, about 75% of the way, I was wondering the same thing. This book was so weird, in terms of the plot and story. The ending felt very anticlimactic.
I think I was just very unsatisfied, and wanted more from the book. Maybe others will find it pleasing and delightful and everything they'd expected. But I felt slightly disappointed.
Would I Recommend It:
Ehhh. Personally, maybe not. I hate saying this about science fiction (because I LOVE science fiction and would push science-related anything on anyone), but overall, this series was a bit of a letdown. Control was awesome but Catalyst was... not. Overall, I'd say skip the series. Which doesn't make much sense with my rating of the two books, but this series gives an overall "meh" feeling.
2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Like I said, overall, the series is a bit "meh" for me, but I'm glad I gave the duology a shot! Control was really good. This one, ehhh.
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