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review 2017-09-11 00:00
Chimera Catalyst (Finder, #1)
Chimera Catalyst (Finder, #1) - Susan Ku... Chimera Catalyst (Finder, #1) - Susan Kuchinskas

I could see the world of Chimera Catalyst as Kuchinksas first describes it. Isolated, frenetic, selfish, busy. It's a future world that feels very near future. There are lots of brand/company names tossed about that most people will recognize now. And the ones she makes up fit right in perfectly. The slang, the body modifications, et cetera, are all very fitting developments. The social media, social identities, and currency are all very apt. Apart from the technology, there is also the way the world has adapted to it's new state after we hit the tipping point with climate change. In short, even I had a bit of trouble with the story itself, the world she established was one of the most believable near future worlds that I've read in a long time.

Susan Kuchinksas has a way with descriptions in Chimera Catalyst. There were several times she definitely drew a snicker from me as I did a double-take on one of her lines. Quips like "She looked like something that should be clinging to a damp tree" were great. At the same time, her descriptions of some of the Arcotypes were fantastic. The one character reminded me of the main aliens from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. She gave just enough detail to fill in the broad strokes while your imagination did the rest. Her descriptions of the clones were disturbing, and almost every time they were on the page I was thinking of the mannequins from Silent Hill.The Parrot was especially neat. It gave a whole new meaning to the word "Birddog" and I was attached to the little booger by the end of the novel.

Chimera Catalyst is a busy book, and a quick read. It comes in at under 200 pages, but there's a lot of story for such a little book. It starts off simply enough when the Finder gets hired to find a girl. Soon, though, he finds out she's just not any girl, and from there he gets deeper into a mess he'd rather have not touched. A conspiracy, a mystery, and various power plays all make the Arcotype case a lot more interesting than he thought it would be. 

The Finder is an interesting character. In many ways he's typical, but he's also not. Many detectives in these types of books are addicted to something, but The Finder's addiction to chemicals is different. He's not drinking himself under the table or anything like that in Chimera Catalyst. His medicinal usage seems to fit with the world around him. You imagine everyone being very blase with how they medicate to sleep and live instead of him being a special case. His 'voice' in the story is well-defined. The Finder is a good guy, but he's definitely not a hard-nose ex-police type. He is also forced to look twice at himself and his actions in regards to one particular thing during the course of this novel, and he's not happy with what he finds. I appreciated that.

There was one line I really liked in the book, just because it kind of made me sit back and think "Truth". It's when The Finder is talking about the Parrot. (It's in the first few pages.) Specifically, he's talking about why he made him, and he says:

Here's why I made him: because I could. Because I wanted to.

That unapologetic shrugging off the creation of a new life form seemed so appropriate to the image of science that so many people have. It's a sentiment that's echoed in several books and movies "You did it because you could", but it's rarely the creator themselves that admit to it. It's generally someone else saying it to them. The Finder, however, owns it without any reservations just then. He did it because he could. Because he wanted to. That was all there was to it.

Overall, Chimera Catalyst is a good sci-fi mystery read. The plot was interesting enough, but it was in The Finder and the world where Kuchinskas' talent really made itself known. This is definitely a great start to a series, and I could see myself picking up at least one more in the series in the future. Especially to find out if anything happens to the Librarian!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via Rosie's Book Review Team from the author for review consideration.
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review 2017-06-14 15:17
Catalyst Prime: The Event (FCBD) - Christopher Priest,Joe Illidge,Marco Turini,Will Rosado,Jessica Kholinne

There is nothing wrong with this graphic novel.   It's well written and well illustrated.   I just didn't connect to the characters, and while I found the final reveal compelling, it was too little too late.   The story took such a long time getting there, I found myself bored.   


I'd be interested in seeing if most of their ongoings are like this, or not.   So I may or may not pick up another comic just to see what's what later on.   

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review 2017-03-01 02:50
Exciting Middle Grade series!!
Catalyst - S.J. Kincaid


I love this series. World War III played out in space by teenagers with computers in their heads. Evil corporations and men that control the food, the water, and the war. The teens experience typical teen angst, in addition to the intrigue and dangers of being pawns in a war.


This final book in the series takes a bit of a turn, but I loved it!


Read this series or encourage your 5th graders and up to read it!!

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review 2016-12-15 21:56
Catalyst: A Rogue One Story
Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story - James Luceno

How did people convince themselves to act against their nature; to do something entirely out of keeping with who they imagined themselves to be?


If you’ve ever asked yourself this selfsame question, Catalyst is the book for you. Billed as a lead-up to the Rogue One movie, it’s a comprehensive how-to in manipulating a peace-loving scientific genius into aiding research and development of planet-killing super weapons. It’s a well written, thoughtful book, and yet I didn’t find it very engaging. I was in the mood for some good ol’ Star Wars pew pew, but good ol’ Star Wars political commentary took center stage here. When I’m in the mood for pew pew, quieter books like this can seem a bit boring, so take my mild disappointment with a grain of salt.


Edit: Reading back over my review, it feels a bit too lukewarm. Though I was a little bored, this book is still worth reading and has a lot to offer. It starts out I think a year after Ep. II and encompasses the Clone Wars and the shift from Republic to Empire. It ties together elements from the prequels, introduces some great new characters, and I think my Rogue One experience will be enriched for having read it. Knowing the background of the Erso family and what they went through together and the friends and enemies they made along the way probably isn’t essential to enjoying the movie, but it certainly can’t hurt.


Edit 2: After seeing the movie, I heartily recommend reading this book first. It's not necessary to get what's going on in the story, but it adds layers upon layers to the Ersos' plight and to the interplay between Tarkin and Krennic.

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