3.5 Stars for CATALYST by Marc Johnson – BOOK REVIEW



Series: The Passage of Hellsfire: Book One 

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Bryan Zee 

Length: 9 Hours and 56 minutes 

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Release Date: February 12, 2016 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

What an absolutely stunning cover. In fact, it was the cover that drew me to this audiobook. The description cemented my desire to listen. 

So, did this audiobook live up to my expectations? 

Yes and No. 

The plot was your typical fantasy, coming-of-age adventure where the ordinary boy turns out to have extraordinary powers. 

There are (of course) elves, dwarves, ogres, wizards, a beautiful princess and even a dragon. There is also the prerequisite evil wizard who is hell-bent on taking over the world. 

I admit that the main character in this book certainly has a unique name. His name is “Hellsfire.” I was extremely skeptical of such an odd name choice when I started listening to this audiobook, but it actually works. As the story goes on you get used to the name and it eventually sounds completely natural as the lead character’s name. This is largely due to the excellent narration by Bryan Zee. 

When Hellsfire discovers that he has the gift of fire magic, he knows that he will need to learn to control it. He sets out a quest to do just that. 

During his quest he meets several interesting characters and becomes embroiled in an epic battle to save his world. 

This plot is overdone. There are literally thousands of books that consist of this same storyline; of course the details, characters and settings are always different, but readers and/or listeners can easily predict what will happen. I hate that. I like to be surprised and unfortunately this audiobook’s storyline did not contain any surprises. 

The ending of this book sets up the story for the second book in the series, however, I felt that the author took some large liberties to expand the story into a series. 

The narrator was terrific. Bryan Zee emotes very well and he did an admirable job of trying to keep the listener engaged in the story. I give the narration 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

However, I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I am hoping that the second audiobook in this series contains the unexpected plot twists that were missing in CATALYST

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION: (From the author’s website)

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.

Marc Johnson has moved a lot since his parents divorced when he was two. He also can’t answer a straight question and has developed a taste for sarcastic wit over the years. Probably also for the same reason.

He hasn’t won any awards, but he does have a deep knowledge of Transformers, Star Trek,and The Twilight Zone–his top three geeky loves. 

He writes because he loves stories and hopes to one day have written something successful as a movie, TV show, comic, book, magazine, and play.

Marc Johnson also loves to game, whether it be video, card, or board. He loves to test his mind in the challenges they bring…until the zombie, alien, or robot apocalypse comes.  

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