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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catalyst by Marc Johnson

Title: Catalyst (The Passage of Hellsfire #1)

Author: Marc Johnson

Publisher: Longshot Publishing

Pages: 197

Reviewed by: Sabrina

For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.

Far from home, Alexandria's princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess-and change the world.

Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.

Now Hellsfire must leave all he's ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power-power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can't, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.

In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn...

My Thoughts

When Hellsfire stumbles upon a mysterious woman being chased by even more mysterious, suspicious men, he automatically goes into "Hero Mode." He tries to rescue the woman and almost fails. What saved him was his newly discovered ability-the power to use fire.

The woman he saved is no damsel in distress. She's the brave princess of Alexandra, who had been kidnapped until she escaped from her vicious captors. She gives him a reward and befriends him, but leaves as soon as she came. Hellsfire is smitten and thinks constantly about her.

Over the next few days, after telling his mother about his adventure, he prepares for a journey to find this angel that his mother told him to look for, something that she withheld from him until he shown the signs. Hellsfire practices to gain control of his powers and eventually, meets this angel. This "angel" is actually a wizard, that wishes to train Hellsfire because he is "the One."

The pacing was just right for the novel. The plot got started very quickly, which is a good thing since some YA novels take five to eight chapters before the action really starts. The author perfectly blended in the information. I already got a hold on the universe of Catalyst. Catalyst is great for anyone new to the epic fantasy genre. It has much potential and I would love to see how the series will play out. I'll be keeping an eye on this one.


  1. Great review! I might have to give this book a try. Like you said, the second book might be even better.

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  2. One of the things I enjoyed best about Catalyst was the avoidance of certain tropes and dialogues common to fantasy fiction these days. Hellsfire goes through the hero's journey, but he does it at his own pace and at his own speed. Johnson's writing takes a bit to catch on, but by mid-book he's hit his stride, and the ride is on. An enjoyable read, I look forward to more of his work!


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