The explosive conclusion to the series reviewers have likened to Ender’s Game and “Hogwarts-in-Space”
This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.
Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.
Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.
This is the final book in the Insignia series and I was very happy with how it ended. I had picked up the first book in this series simply because it caught my eye and then I was blown away when I read it. The sequel and now Catalyst have been on the same level, if not better, in my opinion. As much as I can be found enjoying John Green or Stephanie Perkins book or any other contemporary/romance mix, I have to have a good fantasy or science fiction book regularly too. And this book definitely fits the bill. I'd almost say it's not quite science fiction, there's a touch of dystopian in the mix, but in the end it really is a sci-fi book, despite the fact that the characters aren't really in space all that much. I'm not sure if that's a stereotype, but I always think of Star Wars & Star Trek when I think of Sci-fi ;)
Instead of actually being in space, the main character, Tom, and his friends who are called combatants and have been specially selected because they have an innate ability to pilot their space ships with their minds. How is that possible? Because they were able to undergo having a special sort of computer put into their brains. It allows them to download information and speak multiple languages very easily and learn all sorts of things. It's a very cool idea, one I loved... I mean imagine if I could just download all my math homework and then understand it the next morning? I'm not going to go into more detail about their neural processors sense I honestly doubt I could explain it well. So these kids are smart and it's certainly helpful in all the crazy situations that they get themselves into whether it be a spat between other combatants or between a madman who is trying to destroy the earth.
It's a very exciting book, I feel like this one kept blowing my expectations for this book out of the water. I got maybe a hundred pages in and saw what things were building up to and went WOW. I knew it would be good, but then twists kept coming up in the plot and make me just stare at the page and wonder what on earth was happening. Then things get tied up beautifully in the end. It's a bit different then the first two books but I think it was a great ending. And the characters, even if Tom is a bit brash he's smart and takes calculated risks (well sometimes) and he has such a good heart, loyalty to his friends, and a good sense of things. I loved him for all that he goes through in this book and just how fun he is. His friends are great too, there's the ultra-smart Wyatt, Yuri her physically perfect boyfriend who's like a teddy bear, and Vik who is Tom's best friend and partner in crime. There's also the girl on the enemy side who shares a very special ability with Tom which brings them together.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world-building is really good and addicting, it carries through all three books really well as do the characters who are fun and unique. I read this book very quickly, it was hard to put down with all that was going on, believe me! ;) There really wasn't anything that I disliked. There's some intense things that Tom goes through, but he handles them well. And in the end he has a very deserving happy ending. I would recommend this book to you if you enjoy science fiction and some rather daring (or reckless) characters. I'm giving Catalyst 5 out of 5 flowers.
Sara Bennett, someone more likely to be found in bed, curled up with a good book, than out at a sports game or a gig (although she's pretty addicted to music too). Hoping for a better world, believing in her Savior, daydreaming of One Direction, hanging out with friends, or wherever she may be or might be doing....there's always a little voice inside wondering if it's almost time to return to the books sitting on her shelf. In short, an average young woman with a book in hand and a dream to write one day.