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Control #2


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In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they've come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something--a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister's safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There's more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined...aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.

400 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 24, 2015

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About the author

Lydia Kang

19 books2,089 followers
I love salt more than chocolate. I'm somewhat small, yet deceptively strong. Sort of like an ant.

I'm a part time doc, full time family member, and if you offer me snacks, I'll be a friend for life.

My adult fiction centers around historical mysteries in New York City, with splashes of forensics, anatomy, apothecary medicine, and chemistry! A BEAUTIFUL POISON takes place in 1918 at the height of the influenza epidemic; THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL centers around the illegal grave robbing world; and forthcoming in July 2020 is OPIUM AND ABSINTHE, with--you guessed it--opium and absinthe. And possibly vampires!

I have a nonfiction adult book written with Nate Pederson entitled QUACKERY: A Short History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, coming in 2017 (Workman).

My most recent YA novel is TOXIC, a space opera about a created, teen girl who's abandoned on a biological spaceship, and the mercenary boy doomed to die on it. I've also written THE NOVEMBER GIRL, set on a remote island on Lake Superior. A girl with violence running through her veins meets a boy running away from an abusive home life. Both from Entangled Teen/Macmillan.

I'm also part of the new anthology, COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES, with Soho Teen coming in 2019!

My YA sci-fi novel, CONTROL, debuted December 2013 (Dial/Penguin). The sequel, CATALYST, released March 2015 (Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin). I released a short story in the dark YA anthology, AMONG THE SHADOWS October 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 123 reviews
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
February 14, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Catalyst by Lydia Kang
Book Two of the Control series
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by a friend (thank you, Lili!)

Summary (from Goodreads):

For fans of Uglies and The Maze Runner comes a complex, thrill-filled love story that will make you question exactly what it means to be human

In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they've come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something--a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister's safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There's more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined...aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.

What I Liked:

Hmm, I think I felt a bit let down by this book. I had high expectations, after reading Control, so perhaps I just wanted too much. In any case, this book wasn't awful (yay), but it wasn't that great either. Three stars is not bad though, so don't be totally discouraged! After all, Control was really good (in my opinion).


In this book, Zel and her gang are on the run. Split up in the beginning of the book, Zel and several unexpected faces find themselves in an underground not-so-safe safehouse called Inky, where she and her companions are monitored and restricted - basically prisoners. At Inky, a man named Julian is in charge. He basically collects children with supernatural traits, and having Zel is like hitting the jackpot. All the while, Zel is hunted by the government, who is framing her (her DNA, really) for killing an important official. The world isn't willing to accept the young ones with special abilities, and there is nowhere to hide.

To be honest, I didn't retain a lot of specific information that happened in Control. So I was worried about starting this book and being totally lost. I very specifically remember the ending though. But Kang made it easy to return to the world of Control, so it wasn't too bad. Even if you remember nothing, it's okay, because Kang reintroduces a lot of the information from Control, but not in an info-dump-like way.

I think I liked Zel even more in this book - despite the fact that she acted like a lovesick fool at times. I'll forgive her... because she's pretty tough otherwise. She's smart, she thinks on her feet, she thinks outside the box.

I liked the supporting characters too. We get to know Caliga better - I understand her a lot more in this book. I'd go as far as saying that I like Caliga. I can't remember if I liked her at all in Control, but probably not. I liked some of the new ones too, like Tennie, and Xiulan, a boy and a girl at Inky who wanted to escape like Zel.

Now let's get to the dislikes.

What I Did Not Like:

I have to admit: I was a bit bored by this one. I didn't feel the same spark of interest that I felt towards Control. The story arc didn't feel the same. In Control, there seemed to be an overarching purpose (find Dyl). In this book, I thought the sentiment might by the same (find Cy), but then Zel finds Cy relatively quickly into the book (which is YAY, but at the same time, what now?). Perhaps I just felt like the series plot was lacking, but also, the plot for this book.

I also thought there was less sciencey things going on... a huge part of what made me like Control was the amount of science that was put into the fiction. Granted, I wanted even MORE science in that book, but I feel like if Control didn't have enough, this book didn't have even close to the amount of science I was expecting. Zel is barely in a lab doing any kind of medical research, and neither is Cy. Dyl is, but she's not in most of the book.

I didn't like the way the romance went. There's no love triangle, and Cy and Zel are reunited pretty quickly in the book, but things are so different. Their relationship is very strained, and I feel like they never really TALK. They never hash out why things were strained, what happened over the past year with each of them and between them. A year is a long time not to have any contact with a person you love. Things will change (and they did), and communication is kind of important.

The ending overall didn't feel creative or special or anything like that. It seemed cliche and boring, as if the author couldn't figure out how to end the duology. To be honest, after reading the majority of the book, about 75% of the way, I was wondering the same thing. This book was so weird, in terms of the plot and story. The ending felt very anticlimactic.

I think I was just very unsatisfied, and wanted more from the book. Maybe others will find it pleasing and delightful and everything they'd expected. But I felt slightly disappointed.

Would I Recommend It:

Ehhh. Personally, maybe not. I hate saying this about science fiction (because I LOVE science fiction and would push science-related anything on anyone), but overall, this series was a bit of a letdown. Control was awesome but Catalyst was... not. Overall, I'd say skip the series. Which doesn't make much sense with my rating of the two books, but this series gives an overall "meh" feeling.


2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Like I said, overall, the series is a bit "meh" for me, but I'm glad I gave the duology a shot! Control was really good. This one, ehhh.
167 reviews27 followers
Want to read
July 31, 2014

I am not buying this. I don't support publishers who pull this shit on me. Fuck you.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
April 7, 2016
A finished copy was provided by an agency for review.

What can I say about this sequel except that it pretty much made me think about the future and the policies society takes on genetic mutations. It's a future that could happen, and I couldn't help but wonder if this is way it could go.

There's just so much science can do, but when you're reading a fictional story about people that are being born with gifts and mutations, all one would think is X-Men right? And that's what I felt like, but at the same time it wasn't the fact that these characters were heroes. They were trying to survive. I loved the expanded world that was brought with this journey. Especially when they're in the town called Inky. I knew right away it wasn't going to be a good settlement. Things aren't perfect, because there's always a deeper meaning to societies like those. I loved that there was a mystery involved, and even though it was a little predictable, I still enjoyed it. As for the characters, I just love that we get to see different sides to some secondary characters that I pretty much disliked, but at the same time understood because they were on opposite sides of the same time, if that makes sense. Caliga was pretty much my favourite, sorry Zel. Also, unlike Control, this one doesn't have very much romance, There's a lot of scientific terminologies, but it's easier to understand when you're reading in dialogue.

If you like science fiction, be sure to pick this one up! A journey that will have you wondering who is going to betray who, and what it means to be human and to survive.



"Just because it's beautiful doesn't mean it can't hurt you." (13)

"You try to touch me, you'll be missing body parts soon." (106)

"There is no such thing as truth in this century." (140)

"What's the point of being created to be special when you've also been given a unique way to be to tortured too?" (161)

"It will never be yours to take. From any girl. Ever." (275)
Profile Image for Alexa.
791 reviews
March 27, 2015
Control was one of my best reads of the year in 2013, and is still one of my favorite books to date. It was probably the very first debut I have ever truly anticipated with baited breath, not knowing whether it'd be good or not. So, suffice it to say that this duology holds a special place in my heart.

After the disaster that was Unleashed which I had just read a day ago, I can't tell you pleased and satisfied this sequel made me. It contained none of the shenanigans that one had, and delivered everything I could have ever wanted from a sequel like this.

I know that a lot of people had some issues with Control — and rightly so. I'm not going to undermine those problems or try to find excuses for them. They're there, yes, but I still had one hell of a time reading that book and I'm not going to deny that. Nevertheless, Catalyst, in my eyes, sort of tried to make up for those mistakes and address them.

Because we finally get to know our enemies. Or, former enemies. Faces like Caliga or Micah make re-appearances and try to make amends on their own terms. I especially loved the newfound camaraderie and friendship between Zelia and Caliga, which developed so naturally and realistically, with them supporting each other and helping each other at every turn. And it was so damn endearing. But not only theirs was great, the whole book's character's relationships were epic. Because they really are one big, dysfunctional family so to speak and they all get along on some level or another. I loved seeing all of that and the trust and loyalty shared between each and every one of them. There was no slut-shaming, talking bad about or bullying anyone anywhere. Everybody was treated with love and respect, which in and of itself sent a powerful message about acceptance, generally, the whole book with its premise taught a strong message about that topic.

Other than that, I still loved the characters. As I said, the former enemies take up much of the spotlight, with a lot of the old characters stepping aside in order for those to shine, and there are also new characters introduced. The development and evolution of those were spectacular and fascinating to observe; Kang did such an excellent job of slowly thawing the reader as well as Zelia herself to them. Or at least I think so. I'm sure a lot of people won't share my opinion on this matter, but I thought that there were lots of raw emotions hidden in this novel.

The ending was as satisfying as it could have been. Of course, I would have loved to see more of this world and its inhabitants, but if it had to end, I'm glad it did this way. Because it tied everything up with enough openness that I'm left to wonder about all of it, but at the same time with enough closure that I know they'll be okay. And it's been hard won, with struggle and casualties along the way, so it feels like it's meaningful. And I think that's true for a lot of the novel — as I already said, acceptance was a huge theme of the book, but it also dealt with other important issues, like whether we really are just the product of our genetic makeup or whether he have a choice in who we are, it teaches us about family and forgiveness and companionship. Its themes are powerful, and they show in every pore of the novel.

I simply have no words for how much I really, really love this duology, and I'm so sad that it's already ended now. These characters, all of them, have crawled into my heart, which, to be perfectly honest with you, is a novelty for me these days. I have read so many books already, and finding new favorites where I truly and actually connect with the characters on a deep emotional level is so rare, it's almost never happened. I have my crew of favorite characters and books around me that have been around since I first started reading books as much as I currently am and back when I was still much more impressionable, and those have stayed with me always. So, letting new books and characters in ... it just doesn't ever happen. But it did with this duology, for which I'll forever be grateful and I'll forever protect these two books and all of their flaws with all I have.

This review also appears on my blog.

dem cover changes. -_-
2015? March 2015? Why am I even surprised anymore .... ugh.
Profile Image for Emmy Lauren.
57 reviews
May 21, 2015

Also I have a review of this book on my YouTube channel for more thoughts. Or I will as of April
Profile Image for Natasha (books_n_dreams).
295 reviews5 followers
April 8, 2015
So being honest this book when in a direction I completely did not see coming, but that’s good, because everything that did happen had my undivided attention. I couldn’t put this book down no matter how hard I tried haha. Catalyst is filled with plot twists, tons of action, romance, and lots more. The entire time I was reading this book my emotions were all over the place, in the beginning I kept going what the heck is going on, what are they gonna do, wait what’s gonna happen if they take this route and holy crap did just happen. I swear at one point I was soooo mad because of a situation that I shut my book, I didn’t want to go any further, because I was furious. So bravo to Lydia for the part she twisted and manipulated because it had me rolling with feelings. In the end this book was really good, yes I still liked Control best, but Catalyst was really well done.

I really love who Zelia became in this book, because in Control yes she was still trying to figure everything out after finding out about herself, but now she has come to terms with it even though there are still a lot of things she is trying to complete and do. Obviously her love for her new family is huge and trying to protect them at all costs is a huge part of who Zel is, but after what happened with Cy all she can think about is how to find him and get him back and if she does will things go back to how they use to be, but of course she doesn’t know. Then when she is put in this really MESSED up situation she goes all out being team bad a**. She stands up, she tries to put on a show, tries to get her claws into what she needs to, to survive it.

I know this is separate I was originally upset with the cover change, but I see how this cover works with the book, it represents it well. If you haven’t read Control, then you need to, this world is quite interesting, if you have but haven’t picked up Catalyst yet, you need to. But I have to say even though I did enjoy the ending I was hoping for something a little different. But that’s ok I will live with the answers I’ve been given.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 3 books716 followers
March 25, 2015
CATALYST is the action-packed, suspenseful and incredibly exciting follow-up to Lydia Kang’s CONTROL that picks up over a year later, takes readers to new settings, introduces new characters, and promises even greater threats. New abilities will be revealed, new alliances will be made, and new friendships will be forged in this absolutely riveting sequel.

Neia hasn’t been the same for Zelia Benten since Cy’s sacrifice. As happy as she is that her sister Dyl is safe with her in Carus House, she can’t stop worrying about the boy she loves and what life might be like for him in Aureus.

But when an attack destroys her home and leaves her and her new family without anywhere to hide, she’ll have to flee to a safe house in Chicago. Without him. Without her family. With someone she never thought she’d be willing to protect.

And when her journey takes her to a place she never would have imagined she’d go to and one she’s not sure she’ll be allowed to leave, she realizes she might never see her family again. Not unless she can find a way to outsmart someone who always seems to be one step ahead. And not unless she can find a way to escape that won’t result in disfigurement or even death.

Filled with surprising twists, devastating betrayals, chilling repercussions, and shocking revelations, Author Lydia Kang created a sequel that will be unputdownable. She expands upon the world she created in CONTROL with new environments to explore, new hurdles to overcome, new and even more dangerous leaders, and new and intriguing mutations to learn about.

She put even more difficult obstacles in her character Zelia’s way, forcing her to be tougher, smarter, more confident, and more forgiving. She made Zelia into someone fierce but lovable. She made her into a leader.

Told in three parts, each with a different setting to discover, CATALYST will keep readers captivated. It is even more nail-biting, more nerve-wracking, more heartrending, more thrilling than the first book in the series. It delivers even more romance, more science, more deception. It reveals more history, uncovers more secrets, brings more carnage.

It is an amazing and unforgettable installment in a series that is totally epic. It’s a story that is more than just a must read, it’s a must read now.
Profile Image for Meredith .
251 reviews146 followers
April 16, 2015
Initially, I was reluctant to read Catalyst. I wasn’t a huge fan of Control (which was disappointing, since I had hoped to love it!) and it took me a few weeks before I decided I was ready to pick up Catalyst. Though it wasn’t without its faults, I definitely enjoyed the plot, connected more with the characters and felt satisfied with the ending.

Zelia ended up having a lot of character growth in the end, which was nice since she didn’t have too much growth in Control. She had a lot of personal revelations and a lot of things she went through in Control, don’t get me wrong. But she didn’t grow much. In Catalyst, I felt like she had to focus and take charge more. She couldn’t make the rash decisions she made in Control. More people were depending on her this time around.

Once again, I feel like we didn’t see much of Dyl. Though we saw enough for me to know she also had some character growth, I can’t say how much or exactly why. I was really hoping to see more of her in Catalyst, but I enjoyed the parts we did see her in. First of all, she was in a better, safer environment. So her health was better, as was her mental and emotional state. She was very focused on the tasks given to her and she had to be incredibly mature to get through some of the revelations that were thrown her way.

Once again, Cy annoyed me for the first half of the book. He refused to open up to Zelia and seek her help. He kept everything to himself, believing it would somehow protect her. I’m so sick of male love interests who think they can “protect” someone by keeping secrets. And even once he started “opening up” and being kind to her again, I still had a hard time liking him because I couldn’t get past how he treated Zelia previously. Again, re: Arin from The Winner’s Curse!

I know we probably weren’t supposed to like or trust Caliga, but I definitely felt sorry for her and she definitely grew on me. Of all the characters, I loved her growth the most. She became one of my favorite characters. On the other hand, Micah was.. Frustrating. Every move was calculated, meant to put him on the winning team. I wanted to like him so, so much. But I just couldn’t trust him, so I could never fully like him. But then that ending.. Wow.. I really didn’t expect that.

And then there was Blink. Well. I never liked her and I never trusted her. And I’m not entirely shocked by the way things ended with her.

The revelation with Kria didn’t surprise me at all. I think that reveal was supposed to be A Big Deal. But it felt really anticlimactic, honestly. And the revelations with Zelia and Dylia’s father.. That made me sad, too. But I loved, loved, LOVED Marka and who she was to all the kids in their little group. She was the mother figure they all needed and I adored her.

The plot was definitely more intriguing in Catalyst than it was in Control. Catalyst is broken down into three parts – Part one was my favorite. I loved the events in part one, as well as the excellent pacing; part one just flew by! Part two had some interesting revelations and a few intriguing events took place. But otherwise, part two was my least favorite; it was slow-paced and it dragged. Finally, while part three was better than part two, it was still a bit meh. The idea of Wingfield was awesome in theory, but poorly executed. And in the end, it was a moot point.

The ending felt a bit rushed but it was interesting. I know this was the end of the duology, but I’d kinda like to know what happens next, see how things turn out for everyone. I don’t know if a third book is necessary, but maybe a short sequel novella or something. I’d definitely read that!

So, with all the negatives listed above, I’m sure you’re curious why I rated this 4-stars. Because, despite some complaints, I really did enjoy Catalyst a LOT more than Control. The plot was more intriguing, the pace picked up (especially in part one and part three) and I connected a lot more with the characters, even when they frustrated or annoyed me. I still liked them and felt for them, way more than I did with Control. And despite the rushed ending, the ending was very intriguing. Though I still have questions and would love to see what happens next, the ending felt like it wrapped up in a realistic way that was appropriate for the characters and where their story was by the end of the book.

If you loved Control, you’ll definitely enjoy Catalyst. And if you were on the fence about Control, then I’d definitely give Catalyst a chance – It just might surprise you!

You can also find more from me on my blog: Pandora's Books
Profile Image for Tonya Kuper.
Author 2 books286 followers
June 18, 2015
An action-packed, roller-coaster of a conclusion to CONTROL. Loved it!
Profile Image for Chandra.
201 reviews
April 22, 2015
Overall it was a good second book. The ending had closure, but for me it needed more. I still enjoyed watching Zel on her journey but I still have so many unanswered questions.
Profile Image for Tez.
841 reviews218 followers
June 15, 2018
When they weren't on the run, it was kind of like a futuristic Gothic - love that!
45 reviews
May 4, 2018
I really liked this book because I thought it was very interesting. I did not like how I did not understand what was going on at first, but I think that was because I read this book first instead of the first book. I liked how the author had a lot happen during the whole book and how the book felt like a very quick read.

This book is about a girl named Zelia. She and her friends have genetic mutations.Her friends are forced to run away from the police because the government wants to kill them. Zelia's mutation will make her live extremely long and when Zelia made a potion to give animals long lives, it killed them. Someone stole Zelia's potion and gave it to an important person in the government. Zelia's potion killed the man, and ever since people thought of her as dangerous. At the end of the book Zelia finds a way to save her and her friends in California.

Micah had the most noticeable characterization because in the beginning of the book he was portrayed as extremely evil. As the book went on, the author made it seem like he was not that bad of a guy because he helped save Zelia. At the very end of the book Micah gave his life to save the lives of others.

I would recommend this book to high schoolers that have taken biology because the book talks about genetic mutations and it helps to know about that. This book could be for people of any gender because it doesn't have too much romance in it.
Profile Image for Liwayway.
Author 1 book14 followers
November 14, 2014
This sequel to "Control" was marvelous in a very thought-provoking way. Even though the plot and the language smack of things sci-fi and technical, the overall message is clear. The human race continues to segregate and harm that which we don't understand... but there is still hope. People have been born into the world with features and abilities - whether perceived as freakish or brilliant - that set them apart from "normal" human beings. They are treated like things, animals, dangerous creatures to be feared... abnormal.

Relatable feelings of acceptance and discovering ultimately what you decide to fight for coat the overall theme of the book, and each character handles them differently. You hope for them. You wish for them. You hate them. You love them. You understand them... even though you're not genetically bioengineered yourself. You know they're not perfect or super or out of your reach, and yet you're fascinated by them. That's what makes a great story, how the characters make you feel... the fact that you can sympathize and enter their shoes however fleetingly. Also, I have to mention the spirit of some of these characters. It's rather inspiring. Zelia is a heroine for the books... no pun intended.
2 reviews2 followers
Want to read
August 7, 2014
I cannot wait to read this!!!!! I was in love with the first book!
Profile Image for Rhea Michelle.
61 reviews
April 10, 2016
Lydia Kang, why do you torture me so...????????????????
I need more Cy!!!!!
Profile Image for Redd Becker.
Author 2 books
October 12, 2016
Kang explores friendship, forgiveness, family and ethics in this dystopian novel. There are lots of characters to track but most are well developed and are used effectively to keep the story moving. Kang’s medical background added believability and depth to the science aspects of this story.

Catalyst is an science fiction-action adventure. Genetically altered humans are hunted for extermination by some, while others use the mutants for financial gain. The mutants, mostly teenagers, are considered outcasts. Because they are feared and persecuted, the teens move from one rumored safe-haven to another. The story is full of twists as characters’ loyalties are tested during their journey.
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,325 reviews40 followers
September 20, 2015
"Catalyst" the exciting and gripping sequel to "Control" begins a year after Cyrad (Cy) William traded his life to SunAj for Zelia Benten and her sister Dylia's freedom. When Carus House is attacked by armoured police Zel and her family of genetic outcasts flee to a rumoured safe haven in Chicago. On the run with Caliga a former enemy, Zelia hears the whispered voice of Cy as she gets closer to the border. Determined to follow her gut feeling that he survived the assault on Aureus House, she's shocked to discover him in a tent filthy and thin, curled protectively around Élodia (Blink).

Fearing that she's lost Cy as she struggles with jealousy, Zelia begins a quest to find a safe port in the storm of controversy that swirls around her family because of HGM-2098 a policy that outlaws any radical aberrations in the genetic makeup of humans. What she doesn't expect is to discover truth about her past and her father's work that could influence their acceptance by the outside world.

The plot is imaginative and fast-paced as old animosities are forgiven and new alliances and friendships are forged. With twists and turns the story progresses quickly and smoothly, heating up with a getaway from Neia authorities into Inky where women are prized for their fertility and there is no escape. In a story that abounds with mysteries of a rumoured list of genetically enhanced children and a safe haven in Minwi that's not on any map, the suspense intensifies, ending in a confrontation that has Zel using her power of persuasion to gain their freedom. The atmosphere of this plot is dark, violent, and threatening, diluted periodically by the humour in Caliga and Zel's sarcastic banter and Spork's antics and abnormal speech.

In a story that blends science, adventure and romance, Lydia Kang has created unforgettable and complex characters like Zelia Benten who's feisty and resourceful, gifted with not only a longevity trait but an enhanced sense of smell. She's highly family oriented and in love with the calm, strong-willed and steadfast Cy William who continues to be haunted by his sister's misfortune. Like Zel he has developed a new ability that he can barely control and fears hurting those he loves. In this tale Zel and Cy's love is tested with his friendship with Élodia, a French Canadian who hates her mutant ability and will do anything to get rid of it including betraying her friends. Snarky Caliga Jacobsen, and flirtatious, untrustworthy Micah Kw prove to be selfless and brave, saving those they once thought of as enemies. In contrast Julian/Sean, dual beings sharing a brain is an intimidating, heartless predator who masks his aggression behind the understanding, compassion and insecurity of his alter ego. And these are only a few of the multiple personalities that add emotional intensity, passion and power to an adventure that's highly addictive.

I was swept away by this futuristic scientific thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from the first chapter to the last. I rate it highly and look forward to reading Lydia Kang's next novel.
513 reviews
May 4, 2015
3.5 Stars

It’s been two years since Lydia Kang’s debut novel Control, a sci-fi story with its compelling take on genetics came out. And even though it wasn’t the type of novel that I usually gravitated towards, I did enjoy it exceedingly. Going into Catalyst, I was slightly worried since it has been awhile since I read Control. Thankfully, Catalyst made it incredibly effortless to jump right back into the world Kang has created.

Catalyst takes place a year after the events of Control and I love that it immediately gets into the action and adventure as the characters are once again forced to be on the run and to separate from each other. This gives us readers, an opportunity to explore the rest of the world that Kang has created. And as a Canadian, I found it interesting how the Canada in this world was portrayed as a safe haven for refugees including those with mutations.

Anyway, unlike Control, the romance takes a backseat in Catalyst. While it is alluded to, the romantic relationship doesn’t overwhelm the core story. Instead Catalyst has the protagonist, Zel spending the majority of the book attempting to reunite with those she’s been separated from, all while fighting for basic human rights for all those who are viewed as “alien” for the reason that they have mutated genes which were the result of someone else’s experiments. This lets us get a glimpse of just how capable Zel is outside the lab, since we already are aware of how much of a genius she is in the lab. I really liked how it’s shown that both Zel and her sister, Dyl are excellent scientists and that it is something that is viewed as a marvelous ability on its own.

In fact, I consider the greatest strength of Catalyst is the portrayals of strong, female relationships. For instance, the friendship that slowly develops between Zel and another girl who had initially been her enemy was realistic and it was nice to observe them both slowly begin to truly care about what happens to the other. I also adored the mother-daughter relationship between Marka and Zel as it was nice for Zel to acknowledge that Marka was the closest thing she had to an actual parent especially after what she found out concerning her father.

Overall, Catalyst was a book that I blew through fairly quickly to my surprised. In fact when I reached the conclusion, I was surprised that there wasn’t anything further to read. However, I did find Catalyst to be a satisfying conclusion to this duology and I loved the message it had regarding genetics and what it truly means to be human.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amber.
334 reviews212 followers
July 3, 2015
It's been a really long time since I read the final book in a series and felt satisfied when it was all done. Sure, there's the sadness of it being over – I hate when things end - especially things I enjoyed as much as the CONTROL Series – but I'm…I'm…okay. I know I might not sound real convincing, but I'm good, I promise.

Lyida Kang takes you on an exhaustive emotional journey in CATALYST. Among the loops on the emotional roller coaster would be the relationships. Both friendship and romantic, none are safe. Then there is the action, the last minute decisions, the truths learned, the escape plans – and yes there are more than one set, I swear I didn't breathe normally for the entire last half of the book.

I think what I loved so much about CATALYST was that, while it is literally filled with all the answers you could be looking for, including detailed back stories, you never feel like you're rushed, or that is' over crowded in it's pages. The same goes for all the new and fascinating characters you meet – Sean and Julian were among my favorite, more for their ability than their people skills.

I know you're hoping I'll slip, I'll tell you is Zel find Cy or just some tiny drop of info about him – but I am sorry my friend. The story is far too good for me to be anything more than the vague I have been here – if you want to know, you're going to have to pick up a copy and find out for yourself. Regardless of the answer to that question, the books in this series amazing, worth every single word!
Profile Image for Mickala.
101 reviews4 followers
June 5, 2015
Wow great ending to a great story! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. After finding out that this trilogy was changed to a 2 book series I was scared I wouldn't be satisfied with how it concluded. I loved control it was a great science fiction book and could not wait for Catalyst. Lydia Kang answered all of our questions and gave us more action than was in the first book.

Zelia came into her self in this book, she was so strong, definitely a Chang from the start of control. I was so proud of her, she took charge standing up for her sister and everyone els she has come to love. I was disappointed in Cy he separated himself from Zelia in the beginning and wouldn't tell her what was going on. Though by the end he was the Cy we know and love again. We get to know new characters in this book that you will love just as much as the old ones. The ending in my opinion was close to perfect, of course though I could all ways go for more in this world i am satisfied with this being the final book. 5 stars I loved it!
Profile Image for Hope Elizabeth.
305 reviews
April 20, 2015
Just as riveting as the first! Absolutely loved Zelia and Cy in this along with every other Carus character! Although, I wish there was more Vera and Hex, I love those two! I highly recommend this series for anyone who is looking for a thrilling science fiction series! Lydia Kang is an amazing writer!
Profile Image for Kayla.
119 reviews6 followers
October 24, 2016
I wish there was another book or perhaps a more developed ending. I'm happy with how things turned out but I wish we had more time in the end! I know that the book isn't only about Zelia and Cy but I wish we had more of their relationship in the book. I'm curious as to what is going to happen to them all and I'm sad that I won't get to find out. It's a bittersweet ending.
Profile Image for Carrie.
101 reviews72 followers
May 22, 2015
this whole book was a back and forth battle of
HOLY CRAP, everything is WRONG
YAY! It's better now!
Wait... Are you kidding me?! STOP IT
Oh yay!.......wait
(and repeat about a thousand times)
But I was really happy with the turnout
Profile Image for Lupita.
151 reviews3 followers
May 18, 2015
I had thought this story would turn into a series, and was somewhat disappointed to learn that this was the end of the story. That being said, I kinda liked that this was the end and it didnt drag on and on.
2 reviews7 followers
September 16, 2016
I agree with the reviews. If you like Maze Runner or Hunger Games, you'll like this one. I enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Shannon (enchantedfiction).
153 reviews1 follower
March 29, 2019
Catalyst is the conclusion to the Control duet. It follows the events of Control a year later. Don't read further if you don't want to be spoiled!

It's been a year since Cy gave himself up to Aureus to save Zel and Dyl, and Zel is having a hard time thinking of anything but Cy. But when she and the others start hearing Cy's voice, they can't help but wonder what is going on. Meanwhile, Zel's DNA has been used to kill off the California senator, Marka's uncle, and all hell is starting to break loose. Law enforcement comes to Carus and causes total evacuation, and in order to not raise suspicion, everyone must separate and meet at the safe house in Chicago in 12 days. Zel is once again separated from Dyl, and ends up in some hot water on the way to the safe house. Could things get any worse? You bet your life.

I really enjoyed Catalyst and the exploration of the world created by Lydia Kang. It was cool getting to see what the different states were promising people in order to get them to go live there, and how others perceived what the different states had. I liked the whole part with Avida, as it helped to thicken the plot and force Zel to dig deeper into her father's past. I also liked that while we kept some of the old characters, we got to meet a whole cast of new ones as well.

I can't give this duet more than 4 stars though. There was nothing that really jumped out to make it an out of this world experience, which is what I look for in a story to give it the full 5. It was well plotted out, had good character development, good side characters, and a fun atmosphere. But the writing wasn't phenomenal, and I wasn't that surprised by the twists that happened close to the end. Do I think it is underrated? Absolutely. I really haven't heard anyone talk about this duet, even though it is a few years old. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, futuristic story that is easy to read.d
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley E.
610 reviews31 followers
September 19, 2020
If you've read Control, I probably don't have to convince you to read Catalyst as well. Catalyst picks up a few months after Control. Carus has, having lost funding and protection, is falling apart at the seams. Cy is still trapped with Aureus, and worse yet, Aureus seems to have disappeared. Out of options, it's time for the kids and Marka to move to a new safe house... but first they have to cross the state line without getting caught.

Zelia has to come to terms with a lot of things in this book: her father's history, work, and motives; her own history; her sense of responsibility for the fate of other modded kids; and what the future might hold. She struggles and makes mistakes, but ultimately comes to her decisions with a sense of maturity that feels natural considering her circumstances.

The romance between Zelia and Cy is still strong, but less of a focus in this book. Despite their separation, they are solid in their feelings with only a few bumps along the way. It was nice to be able to focus on other aspects of the story rather than being constantly caught up in teenage hormones. They existed of course, but it was more in the background.

Nothing is perfect, and the futuristic US that they live in proves that thoroughly. Sometimes the politics shown here hit close to home, to be honest. But the ending is hopeful while still being mostly realistic. A satisfying conclusion to the adventure first begun in Control.

[I received this book for free through First Reads and was not required to write a positive or any other type of review. All opinions stated herein are solely my own.]
30 reviews
January 12, 2021
Again book description is very misleading

It's going to be difficult to write any review without spoilers since the book jacket is so different than the actual story. Therefore,if you don't want to know anything other than the ridiculous description you see before purchase then do not read much.
In this sequel,the bad guys from book one aren't the bad guys anymore. In fact there is much more character development in this one especially Caligula and Blink have a lot to do in this one. There are new characters introduced some good some bad and both houses need to flee. But one very important relationship is acutely ignored. That would be the main character and Cy. Once reunited their relationship seems so strained and uncomfortable because of his new relationship with Blink. She speaks and he follows. Even near the end of the book, that relationship feels stronger than his with the main character.It was just uncomfortable for me to read about these reunited young lovers when the other relationship feels stronger. This is why I only gave this book three stars. I don't like my romance to be uncomfortable and unbelievable. Especially when the Syfy storyline is supposed to be so beyond belief, but in reality it was more believable than finding the love of your life once again.
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