Book Review: CATALYST by Tracy Richardson

I received a review copy as part of a blog tour I am no longer part of exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in pink surrounded by pink crystal
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 2 stars
Series: Yes - Book 2

*SPOILER ALERT: contains spoilers for THE FIELD*


Book cover for CATALYST: hands holding a pink crystal above title

Marcie is spending her summer working on the archeological dig that her mother runs: Angel Mounds, a site of an ancient indigenous civilization. Soon after she arrives, she meet some intriguing individuals, and becomes wrapped up in a supernaturally-charged mission to save the planet from the destruction man has brought upon itself.

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This book takes the weirdness of the first to a whole new level. Instead of a nebulous energy field that plays into a more contemporary-like story, this is full on New Age-y thoughts-will-heal-the-earth with higher dimensional beings trying to help.

First things first, I completely agree with the whole “the world is in a mess due to human activity and we need to change our habits or face disaster”. I completely agree with the anti-fracking message and the point that energy companies are spreading mis-information in the interests of profits.

I just felt like this book was just hitting the message too hard on the head while mixing it with a bunch of other ideas that muddy the water. It’s the inter-dimensional beings (both trying to help and destroy the earth) as well as the “thoughts can heal the planet” bits that just felt out of place. I would much rather read a straight up contemporary about teens fighting fracking than have it muddled up with these fantasy ideas. At least then, it wouldn’t feel like the message is being buried and confused.

I can only speak from the perspective of my own religion, but it felt to me like the book was also grabbing disparate ideas from a variety of religions and combining them into something that further’s the story’s plot without respecting the religions. I’d love to hear a Native American’s perspective on this, as those were the cultures and religions most drawn on (my own was only mentioned in passing).

Read my reviews of other books by Tracy Richardson:

Catalysts (this series):

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