Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review - Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire by Marc Johnson

Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire
ASIN #: B004SY5P68
Page Count: 197
Copyright: 2011

Book Summary:
(Given to me by author)

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...

Brief Note:  Welcome a new part-time reviewer to the Literary R&R review team ... C.J.!!!!

C.J.'s Review

First: To say I enjoyed this book is an overstatement. 

Second:  If this was the author’s first attempt at a book, he did an excellent job in his first book.

The book has a start that I, for one, do not enjoy.  Once the prologue is over, the book skips 14 years into the future to adolescence of the main character.  The prologue would have been better suited as an addition to one of the other chapters in the book to bring clarity later. 

The main character, Hellsfire, is an adolescent boy trying to escape the taunting nature of the town bully, and in doing so comes upon “a beautiful maiden” in distress.  Which, by the way, has been used a hundred times over in other fantasy novels….  He saves her and thwarts her would-be attackers by spewing fire from his eyes?!  I understand this is a fantasy book, but that’s even a little over the top for me.  So, anyway, it goes on to tell of a young boy who goes off to become a “wizard in training”. 

The book then skips another three years.  During these three years he is training to be a wizard under the watchful eye of Master Stradus, the “good” wizard of the book, and a dragon named Cynder.  Next to Smaug from The Hobbit, Cynder has to be one of the coolest dragon names I’ve ever heard.  Good job author!

So, after these three years of training, this moron still does not understand what it is to be a wizard or even how to use the full extent of his abilities.  He’s been training with his “gift” for three years and he’s still not sure how to fully grasp his gift! Who is Master Stradus mentoring here?  Hellsfire or Carl from Slingblade

Regardless of who he is, or how smart he is, Hellsfire goes off and tries to save Alexandria from being overtaken by the “bad” wizard, Premier.  Along the way, he uses the assistance of Elves(wow), and ……you guessed it, Dwarves(predictable).  Let’s go over the prerequisites for a fantasy novel, class:

  1. Good Wizard and Bad Wizard? check
  2. Know-it-all main character turned hero? check
  3. A dragon? check
  4. Elves and Dwarves? check
See a pattern yet?

Here’s an idea:  Come up with something original like what Salvatore did with Drizzt.  He (Drizzt) was a Dark Elf called a Drow.  Now that’s some cool s%&$.  Have someone die early!  Not just anyone, someone special to the plot….say maybe the dragon or something.  Spice it up!  I literally fell asleep more than twice while trying to drudge through this book.

The main character still lost his temper, and with it control of himself, up to the end of the book.  Can someone say temper tantrum?  He’s 17 and spent three years being mentored by a Wizard and can’t control his thoughts and actions?  I’ve got to definitely lean toward Carl from Slingblade for that category. Yet somehow in the end it all works out for good old Hellsfire and he’s suddenly some kind of hero.

Author, please take one or two of my opinions and use them.  The plot of the book was mundane and predictable and so were the characters. 

Listen, like I said at the beginning, the author did an excellent job with his first attempt at a fantasy book….I would like to see more fight scenes, more characters, and more plot lines.  Overall, the book was just ok for me, I will read the sequel just to see if gets better than the first.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of Eragon and Lord of the Rings. =X

    And that is a bit weird, fire shooting out of your eyes. O.O lol just weird. I must also say it's a bit unbelievable for someone to train for 3 years and not have control. I mean yea not total control but at least have some and understand where it comes from.

    Like your review because you were honest. I mean sometimes it can be good yet bad at the same time. =P Keep writing more reviews for us!


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