|Author: Marc Johnson|
|Genre: High fantasy|
|Elements: Wizards, dragons, elves|
|Series: Book 1 of The Passage of Hellsfire|
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.This is the story of a boy named Hellsfire.
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...
I know, I know. Even though there's a reason for it, it's absolutely cringe-worthy. You'd think he'd have a nickname to fall back upon, but no. I liked that he had spunk and was a genuinely good kid, trying to put the negative connotation of his name away, having suffered torment because of it.
CATALYST has a lot of elements that either separately, or together, are some of my favourite. Political intrigue (yes! my absolute favourite phrase!), love that grows across time and space, aka years and a heck lot of journeying.
And yet I wasn't as emotionally invested as I could be. I could see the actions, but there's not a lot of introspection on Hellsfire part. It's one scene after another, which mostly works. There's a constant tone throughout the book, which has its pros in terms of the writing going fluidly, but its cons when it comes to heightening the suspense and tension of a certain scene. Thus, while it strives to be serious--and the events and character's reactions are portrayed as such--at times it comes off as cheesy.
There's a lot of action to make up for it and the plot moved fast. I'd say that the events that occur here is about as much as a whole YA series. There is a lot going on, but it doesn't lose its narrative focus. As a character, Hellsfire comes off as almost too perfect as the story went on. It didn't bother me too much. This is a familiar occurrence in the urban and high fantasy series that I read, with the powers coming on fast and furious at the start, after which the coping and downfall start to occur (and the rising up after the fall part).
Certain parts reminded me of Legend of The Seeker and LoTR, which is neither good nor bad, just a small recognition. For me, I liked it because it's been a while since I read high fantasy.
For readers, this is more in the vein of those good old school high fantasy series ala Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth, of which the Legend of the Seeker television series was made of. It's an entertaining story. There's a lot of travelling across a vast land, magical creatures working together in tandem and kingdoms and lands in fraught danger. If you like those types of books, try this.