Review: Catalyst by Kristin Smith



☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆


What it’s about:

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant.

With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait.

In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.

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Guest Review from Jennifer:

Catalyst is a highly enjoyable dystopian YA novel focused on Sienna, a teenager who is navigating her way between the criminal underside of future Las Vegas, and the Fringe – an extremist, anti-government group. Sienna is trying to support her mother and little sister after the death of her father, so she takes a black-market job that whirls her into multiple misadventures, and into the paths of two very attractive young men. Choices upon choices, split loyalties, and a lot of tension make this book a quick and addictive read.

What I liked best about Catalyst is the author’s excellent pacing and good amount of tension. The story propels itself forward from crisis to crisis, but never feels rushed or forced. Sienna and the other characters have believable dialogue and age and situation appropriate responses. What needed some work: occasionally the descriptions or word choices seemed trite or obvious, distracting briefly from the flow of the narrative. This is a common flaw for writers – as a reader, I do like to fill in the details for myself, and you can trust me to put it together. However, the strength of this story and characters carries through any rough spots.

Good book, and hopefully, an exciting new series! Lots of room for this plot and Sienna to develop some more.

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