Read + Review — Catalyst by S. J. Kincaid

CatalystTom Raines is not normal.  For a sixteen year old, he is tall, strong, and smart.  He is able to speak 30 languages, understand calculus and physics, and he can memorize a textbook in his sleep, not to mention controlling drones in space.  However, this is because of a secret he has hidden from his father.  Tom has a neural processor, a brain implant that allows him to download databases and control his mind more than any ordinary person.  In other words, he has a computer in his head.  After agreeing to have this implanted during a brain surgery, he trains and joins others just like him in the Pentagonal Spire, a training center for Intrasolar Cadets.  Upon returning after break, he finds a new general in charge, one who uses cruel methods and military tactics to ensure compliance and order.  Soon enough, problems arise as a mysterious figure, the ghost in the machine, annihilates thousands of technology companies and executives using methods shocking even to Tom. More and more difficulties arise.  The leader of the Obsidian Corp., Joseph Venegrov, attacks and discovers Tom’s secret, leaving him and his friends in danger.  Even with all the help he can get, the world is still doomed, for Venegrov, without Tom to stop him, can take over the world using a new system that no one has ever used before.

I feel that this is a very entertaining novel.  The plot is carefully developed, and the characters are well described.  Some situations in this book are serious, others humorous.  The writing style contributes to the quality of the book, and the suspense makes you want to continue reading and find the conclusion.  There is a thorough variation of vocabulary, and there are twists and turns that make you have to read until you finish the book.  Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend this to a friend.

There were many memorable parts of the book, but one part that sticks out in my mind is how Tom’s neural processor allowed him to slow down his comprehension of time, do calculus and advanced procedures, play instruments, control machines, download information, participate in simulations, go through firewalls, and many other feats.

Reviewed by Shivram , grade 7, Gayton Library  
four stars


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