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 archeological 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.
I can, do, and will read almost everything, and for the most part I enjoy what I read, but unfortunately in some instances, a book just doesn’t hit the right notes for me, and I find myself not connecting to the characters in the ways other readers might.
There were a lot of opportunities for that connection to be made in Catalyst, but most the time I found it fell flat with characterisation. Marcie, the main & POV character, feels downright perfect. She tells us she questions what is happening, but she never actually does. The same goes for her brother. In contract to Marcie and Eric are Renee and Leo, Eric’s girlfriend and Marcie’s love interest. Neither of which accept the mysterious graduate students as easily as the siblings. Which is completely fair – someone approaches you and tells you, essentially, hey you can use telepathy, it’s understandable to question it. But Renee and Leo are both portrayed as acting over the top.
The other issue is it was really hard to see why Eric was with Renee, and what the hell Marcie sees in Leo. Seriously, here’s a message for teenagers everywhere – if you and the person you like don’t agree on one single thing, the relationship will not work.
There are some really good ideas in this story, but unfortunately these got masked for me by too much exposition, and a feeling of too many different ideas vying for space, combined with a ‘solution’ that felt just too easy.
The dialogue often felt forced, with characters repeating what had just happened, and I found it difficult to really get into the story when it felt like there was a lot of different ideas, but not much really going on.
The thing is, the topics addressed here are important – the effect fracking has on our planet, the destruction taking place at the hands of humans – but at some points it just felt too preachy to me. It stopped these sections feeling less like part of the story, and more like the book was felt the need to have a message, rather than letting the message come through naturally.
This isn’t a bad book, but I found myself struggling to connect with the characters and events. I do think this will find a home with people who will enjoy it, though in this instance, it just wasn’t for me.
TRACY RICHARDSON wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way that book has even shaped her life through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in biology like Mrs. Murry, and, without realizing it, she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents.
Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues, metaphysics, and science fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her doing any number of creative activities — painting furniture, knitting sweaters, or cooking something. She lives in Indianapolis, and, in case you’re wondering, yes, she’s been to the Indianapolis 500.