'The Catalyst' by Helena Coggan
"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 is a young adult dystopian novel set in a future where Angels have fused their souls with humans and given some of them extraordinary powers.
This book is set eighteen years after the Veilbreak when the Angels first crossed into our world. They split the population into two groups; Gifted and Ashkind. The Gifted have green eyes, in various shades based on their magical capabilities, whereas the Ashkind have grey eyes and possess no magic. There are also the Angels, those with the brightest green eyes and the most powerful who rule the government, and the Demons, those with pure black eyes who are feared by everyone. Then there are the Hybrids, who every six weeks would change into a terrifying monster and kill uncontrollably. During the first War of the Angels the Ashkind were shunted by society, but now the two races live in relative peace.
Rose Elmsworth is a fifteen-year-old Gifted girl about to take the test that will determine whether she is allowed to keep her gifts or not. All young Gifted take this test and those who fail have their powers Leeched, and are seen as lower down than the Ashkind. Rose is the daughter of David Elmsworth, a high ranking official in the Department (London’s law enforcement) and is expected to pass with no problems. But Rose and David have a secret and they’re terrified that someone is going to find out.
They also have bigger fish to contend with. Rose is being blackmailed by someone who knows their secret, The Gospel, and anti-Ashkind group, are making threats to the government and an underground Ashkind army known as Regency and led by a terrifying Hybrid are threatening war. Can Rose and her loved ones survive all this unscathed?
I thought this was a fantastic debut novel by a very talented young author. I really liked that the main character of a fifteen-year-old girl was actually written by a fifteen-year-old girl. Most YA authors are at least a decade older than their main characters so I feel like Helena’s character had more authenticity. Despite her age, the writing is brilliant and it had the feel of being written by a more experienced author. Her vocabulary and way of wording things were fantastic and the story flowed really well. My only criticism is that I found the history of the Angels and some parts of the plot a bit confusing and difficult to follow, but I worked it all out later on.
This was a very interesting concept and I’d love to find out more about this dystopian future so I’m hoping that Helena will write a sequel. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of her work to she how her writing progresses as she gets older!
I would give this book 4 stars :)
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