Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained-an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.
This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archaeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke.
The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds-something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history.
It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting…
YA supernatural suspense is not, admittedly, my usual wheelhouse. And sci-fi isn’t always my cup of tea either. But when @The_WriteReads contacted me about Tracy Richardson’s Catalyst, I was intrigued by the premise – a blend of supernatural suspense, YA, and science-fiction – and by the unusual setting – an archaeological dig site. So I thought what the heck – let’s get out of my comfort zone and give it a go!
Catalyst follows the adventures of seventeen-year-old Marcie, her brother Eric, and Eric’s girlfriend Renee, as they spend the summer working on their mother’s archaeological dig. The dig is centred around an ancient indigenous civilization whose people, it turns out, had learnt to connect with the Universal Energy Field – allowing them great insight into the natural world, and the dangers that the world might face in the future.
Marcie, Eric and Renee have experienced the Universal Energy Field before – Catalyst is actually the second book in a series but reads perfectly well as a standalone as the relevant events of the previous novel are neatly summarised when necessary – however, their previous experiences pale in comparison with the situation in which they now find themselves, which could have dire consequences for the planet.
Catalyst is a fast-paced read that hits the ground running. At times, the pace was possibly a little too fast – personally, I could have done with a little more time to develop a connection with the main characters and to establish Lorraine and Zeke and their connection to the Universal Energy Field, although possibly this may be due to the fact that I lacked familiarity with these people and concepts from book one. As it was, I found myself getting a little confused at times as various supernatural and spiritual concepts were introduced in quick-fire succession.
Once I had settled into who was who and what exactly was going on, however, I did enjoy the book. Marcie, Eric, and Renee are lively and engaging characters, the archaeological dig setting was interesting, and the plot rattles along quickly with some suitably mysterious and climactic moments along the way. There’s also a pleasingly optimistic outlook to the book that made a nice change from some of the more angst-filled books I’ve read recently!
I was, however, disappointed that the important environmental messaging highlighted at the beginning of the novel gets lost in the science-fiction/spiritual elements. The two elements didn’t cohere for me – often to the detriment of the environmental plot strand. That said, I recognise that Catalyst is trying to convey contemporary environmental and scientific concerns – not exactly the most immediately accessible topics – in a unique and engaging way and I admire what the author is attempting, even if it didn’t fully work for me.
So, all in all, what was life outside my comfort zone like? Well, whilst I can’t say that I’m a total convert, I had an enjoyable enough time with Catalyst. If – like me – sci-fi and YA aren’t your immediate go-to for reading, Catalyst probably isn’t going to convert you to the cause but it’s a quick and easy read and, if you’re a fan of YA sci-fi, I think it’d be right up your street!
My thanks go to the publisher for providing an e-copy of the book in return for an honest and unbiased review, and to The Write Reads for organising and inviting me onto this blog tour. The tour continues until 06 June 2020 so do check out the other stops for more reviews and content!