Review: Catalyst by Lydia Kang

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Catalyst by Lydia KangCatalyst by Lydia Kang
Series: Control #2
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on March 24, 2015
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

Initially, I was reluctant to read Catalyst. I wasn’t a huge fan of Control (which was disappointing, since I had hoped to love it!) and it took me a few weeks before I decided I was ready to pick up Catalyst. Though it wasn’t without its faults, I definitely enjoyed the plot, connected more with the characters and felt satisfied with the ending.

Zelia ended up having a lot of character growth in the end, which was nice since she didn’t have too much growth in Control. She had a lot of personal revelations and a lot of things she went through in Control, don’t get me wrong. But she didn’t grow much. In Catalyst, I felt like she had to focus and take charge more. She couldn’t make the rash decisions she made in Control. More people were depending on her this time around.

Once again, I feel like we didn’t see much of Dyl. Though we saw enough for me to know she also had some character growth, I can’t say how much or exactly why. I was really hoping to see more of her in Catalyst, but I enjoyed the parts we did see her in. First of all, she was in a better, safer environment. So her health was better, as was her mental and emotional state. She was very focused on the tasks given to her and she had to be incredibly mature to get through some of the revelations that were thrown her way.

Once again, Cy annoyed me for the first half of the book. He refused to open up to Zelia and seek her help. He kept everything to himself, believing it would somehow protect her. I’m so sick of male love interests who think they can “protect” someone by keeping secrets. And even once he started “opening up” and being kind to her again, I still had a hard time liking him because I couldn’t get past how he treated Zelia previously. Again, re: Arin from The Winner’s Curse!

I know we probably weren’t supposed to like or trust Caliga, but I definitely felt sorry for her and she definitely grew on me. Of all the characters, I loved her growth the most. She became one of my favorite characters. On the other hand, Micah was.. Frustrating. Every move was calculated, meant to put him on the winning team. I wanted to like him so, so much. But I just couldn’t trust him, so I could never fully like him. But then that ending.. Wow.. I really didn’t expect that.

And then there was Blink. Well. I never liked her and I never trusted her. And I’m not entirely shocked by the way things ended with her.

The revelation with Kria didn’t surprise me at all. I think that reveal was supposed to be A Big Deal. But it felt really anticlimactic, honestly. And the revelations with Zelia and Dylia’s father.. That made me sad, too. But I loved, loved, LOVED Marka and who she was to all the kids in their little group. She was the mother figure they all needed and I adored her.

The plot was definitely more intriguing in Catalyst than it was in Control. Catalyst is broken down into three parts – Part one was my favorite. I loved the events in part one, as well as the excellent pacing; part one just flew by! Part two had some interesting revelations and a few intriguing events took place. But otherwise, part two was my least favorite; it was slow-paced and it dragged. Finally, while part three was better than part two, it was still a bit meh. The idea of Wingfield was awesome in theory, but poorly executed. And in the end, it was a moot point.

The ending felt a bit rushed but it was interesting. I know this was the end of the duology, but I’d kinda like to know what happens next, see how things turn out for everyone. I don’t know if a third book is necessary, but maybe a short sequel novella or something. I’d definitely read that!

So, with all the negatives listed above, I’m sure you’re curious why I rated this 4-stars. Because, despite some complaints, I really did enjoy Catalyst a LOT more than Control. The plot was more intriguing, the pace picked up (especially in part one and part three) and I connected a lot more with the characters, even when they frustrated or annoyed me. I still liked them and felt for them, way more than I did with Control. And despite the rushed ending, the ending was very intriguing. Though I still have questions and would love to see what happens next, the ending felt like it wrapped up in a realistic way that was appropriate for the characters and where their story was by the end of the book.

If you loved Control, you’ll definitely enjoy Catalyst. And if you were on the fence about Control, then I’d definitely give Catalyst a chance – It just might surprise you!