Author: S.J. Kincaid
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss
The explosive conclusion to the series reviewers have likened to Ender’s Game and “Hogwarts-in-Space”Review by Nara
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.
Someone get me a device that can make the ideas in a book real, because damn the technology in this book is incredible! It's definitely the type of technology I would want available now, because I would seriously buy it in a heartbeat. Basically, there are these neural implants which can "download" programs- you can learn any language you want, gain knowledge in a heartbeat and learn all sorts of new skills. Seriously want it.
Anyway, moving on, let's talk about our reckless protagonist: Tom Raines. Tom makes great leaps in maturity and general badassery throughout the series, and the character he is in Catalyst is definitely an extremely likeable one compared to previous books (I'm thinking especially Vortex, god, he was foolish at times in that book). He retains his intelligence and snarkiness, tempering that with experience and a better understanding of he way the world works. His relationship with Medusa is also something that aids with this, with their romance being built upon mutual understanding and actually talking things out with one another.
And we can't forget all the secondary characters- Vik, Yuri and Wyatt all have their own roles to play. I just love how the secondary characters are just as well developed as Tom, each with their back stories and uniquely interesting personalities. And of course, Blackburn- his questionable morality is brought to light in this book, and we finally discover what he has to contribute to this war.
I loved how Vengerov was actually a very layered villain. He wasn't just doing things for the sake of "being evil", his motivations were explained clearly and they actually made sense. Made sense in an evil way, of course, but sense nonetheless.
This trilogy is one of the best science fiction trilogies in YA that I've read, actually focusing on the science and technology side of things. With great world building and character development, it's definitely a trilogy you should get your hands on.
World Building: 4.5/5
This post is a part of Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads and Oh, the Books