Catalyst (The Passage of Hellfire #1)
By: Marc Johnson
Format/Source: won an eBook copy of this novel from Vonnie’s Reading Corner
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…
I heard of this novel from Vonnie. The premise was interesting and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had won an eBook copy of this novel.
Catalyst is your standard fare fantasy novel complete with dragons, wizards, elves, dwarves, ogres, kings and princesses. It is also a coming-of-age novel as Hellsfire not only comes to terms with his new-found abilities but also matures with new knowledge about his heritage as a wizard as well as his new responsibilities and expectations as a wizard-in-training.
The story was interesting, pretty straightforward in what is expected of Hellsfire but it kept my attention. A few scenes felt repetitive and some moments felt a little slow but given that Hellsfire’s training was important for the road ahead, it made sense that a considerable amount of time was spent with him coming learning more about his abilities. Otherwise the rest of the story moved pretty quickly, especially as Hellsfire found himself in one place to another, meeting his fair share of allies and enemies along the way. I wish he had been able to spend more time amongst the elves and the dwarves but given the pressing nature of his mission, it was understandable that he had to move quickly. I also wished there had been a map that accompanied the story because the locations sounded really interesting and the cultures and histories seemed rich and promising for more stories.
Overall, Catalyst was an interesting start to a fantasy series. The supporting characters were diverse and in a way were more interesting than Hellsfire; Cynder is probably my favourite because of his general sassiness. It sounds like the next volume will be introducing the more nitty-gritty aspects of his journey to defeat the Premier. Fans of high fantasy with a coming-of-age story may enjoy this title.