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.
Catalyst is an enlightening tale toward a better tomorrow full of magic and mysteries of the universe. The story transported me to another dimension made of beauty, light, and all that is good.
What I Liked
Instead of being plot-focused or character-focused, Catalyst is an issue-focused story that explains to YA readers the importance of changing how things are done as a way to save our planet from imminent destruction. Focusing on fracking, the story provides a list of reasons why it is terrible as well as the passion-filled pleas of determined teens and adults to give a convincing argument against the collection of natural gas.
The use of shaman magic or magic that utilizes the energies of the earth is the best part of the novel. I love it when books explore different types of magic, as there are many out there. And I particularly liked that alien technology is passed over for the magic that exists within our planet. This gives a uniqueness to the story that I enjoyed reading.
“The closer I get to the top, the brighter the crystal glows, and the stronger I sense its electrical current. The Native spirits whisper encouragement to me as I climb, giving me the confidence that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”– page 229
The main character and narrator, Marcie Horton, reads like a real teenager. She enjoys the attention of crushes, has not yet learned to temper her passion for fighting injustices, and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. I could not help but like Marcia even when I did not agree with her. I particularly enjoyed her fearlessness in all situations. She is going to grow up to be someone who changes the world.
What I Wish
I wish that the book had not made connections to Christianity and other world religions. I had a hard time finding the relevance in the association. The fifth dimension, to which man must aspire to ascend, is like the Christian description of heaven. Jesus is named as an Ascended Master, and the Galactic Council is reminiscent of angels or celestial beings. The teens’ role is explained as Spiritual Warriors and is very much like the prophets of old. Usually, I get excited to analyze religious analogies, but in this context, they made me uncomfortable and confused.
“The drumming changes to a slow, resonant tempo, and I feel my vibration slow as I focus on connecting with the earth. The feeling of connectedness and of being beyond space and time are still with me as I leave the Fifth Dimension, but there is also sadness in knowing that I can’t stay there yet.”– page 96
To Read or Not to Read
This is an excellent book for environmentally conscious teens as they will rally behind the main characters and have their passion and determination fueled by the message.
About the Author
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.
2 Replies to “Book Review | Catalyst by Tracy Richardson”
Interesting review, Tessa. I think books for teens that address real-world issues creatively through stories are a great idea. I don’t know if the religious elements would work for me, but if the point is that religion aligns with caring for the planet, that works. 🙂
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I think it was saying that it aligns or at least that was my take away. Fascinating story 😊
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