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Catalyst: The Deception Game

Review

Catalyst: The Deception Game

When Sienna Preston comes home from school and discovers her father dead on the floor, her whole world changes. Her family is now struggling to make ends meet in the slum-ridden town of Las Vegas. Forced to take on the role of provider, Sienna resorts to thieving to support her ailing mother and younger sister. But things go from bad to worse when the government intercepts a routine exchange and holds her mother hostage. In desperation she turns to not only the genetically-modified son of a renowned scientist, but also to the young leader of The Fringe, a local extremist group.

"I'd recommend [CATALYST] to anyone who's looking for a fast-paced, action-packed story or a really good romantic science fiction thriller....[it is] also a good choice for reluctant male readers...."

I'm not a big reader of science fiction or thrillers. To date I think I've only read one or two books in that category. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed Kristen Smith's CATALYST. It was unexpectedly fast-paced and action-packed. Kristin Smith's writing style was good, although I found her story building to be lacking. She doesn't go into detail about most of the technology and never really explained the geography or history of her world, thus leaving the reader with unanswered questions. However, this problem became less prevalent as the novel progressed. The plot itself used many common themes and copied a lot of elements from popular dystopian novels such as The Selection series by Kiera Cass and Divergent by Veronica Roth. In spite of the unoriginal elements in Mrs. Smith’s story, I still found the book to very engaging and enjoyable.

I liked Sienna as a protagonist. Her bravery, resourcefulness and internal strength were admirable. Although I didn't agree with all her decisions, I enjoyed Zane and am definitely rooting for him in the love triangle. I thought Trey was okay until he and Sienna were together. I really didn't like their relationship. I also was not a fan of Trina, Nash or Jeb (aka Curly). Garret was sweet and the rest of the supporting cast (villains included) also fit and had a place in the story.

While reading this book, I felt an array of emotions. At one point I was filled with indignation on the main characters behalf! Which just goes to show how invested in the story I was. As someone who enjoys a GOOD love triangle, I was pleased with its presence in the novel.

Bottom line, I really liked CATALYST and am looking forward to reading the sequel. I'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a fast-paced, action-packed story or a really good romantic science fiction thriller. CATALYST would also be a good choice for reluctant male readers and people new to the genre. 

Although I consider CATALYST a clean read, I would not recommend it to younger teens due to the frequency of violence, injury descriptions, attempted sexual assault and “under the shirt” action. Though the aforementioned content was tastefully done, it definitely lends itself to an older audience.         

Reviewed by Rachel A., Teen Board Member on January 4, 2017

Catalyst: The Deception Game
(The Deception Game #1)
by Kristin Smith