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Review – Catalyst by Dani Worth

Catalyst cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: From the author

A woman seeking answers, a younger man seeking love, and an older man seeking revenge must work together to achieve all of their goals…

The Kithran Regenesis, Book 3

Vala Gorun’s family was off Kithra when the explosions happened and although she’s back on her home planet helping with the rebuild, something she saw all those years ago still haunts her. So she hires a Tracker to find the human man she’d once loved—one she thinks betrayed her in the worst possible way.
In order to stop the search into his past, Jackson Canfield sends space pirates to kidnap the Tracker. He can’t afford to be found. Not now, when his revenge is almost complete. Unfortunately, instead of the Tracker, the pirates grab Vala and a young Gwinarian man instead.

Trapped on a pirate vessel with Bastian Sithbrun, a ridiculously attractive but younger man, Vala fights her attraction. But something about the twenty-year-old gets to her… But when the pirates leave them the unwilling guests of the very man she’d driven crazy with her teen crush all those years ago, Vala learns Jacks has been in hiding, working to right a horrible wrong.

Now the three of them must work together to reveal the truth behind Kithra’s destruction—if they can control the explosive passion that erupts between them long enough to complete their task.

Product Warnings
A tattooed, broken-hearted heroine discovers M/M/F love is crazy hot when not fighting giant alien lizards or worrying about age differences. And when the senses are narrowed to touch alone behind a massive waterfall? It’s scorching!

This blurb came from the author’s website.

I have been a fan of Dani Worth since I stumbled upon the first of her Kithran Regenesis series Kithra shortly after its release.  I really enjoyed the story along with all of the questions left unanswered, the fate of the planet’s citizens, and how those who survived the disaster were going to handle the longer-term aftermath.  As a result I eagerly picked up book two when it was released and let out a cheer when I found out that there was going to be a book three.  Not surprisingly, I leaped at the chance to read and review Catalyst.  Sometimes eagerly awaited books don’t manage to live up to my mental hype but this one certainly delivered.  The Kithran Regenesis is one of those series where each succeeding book builds on information released in its predecessors.  I think it is possible to start with this one because some of the back-story is nicely interwoven but I recommend starting from the beginning.  As a result there will be a few spoilers from previous books but I will try to keep them to a minimum.

When Vala was 17 going on 18 she had her first serious crush on Jacks, a human visiting Kithra. Jacks viewed Vala as too young for him, so he tried everything he could think of to dissuade her feelings to include having a make-out session with his boyfriend in public. Gwinarians, the variant of human that lived on Kithra, matured at a much younger age than humans and their society did not have any taboos against multi-partner relationships so Vala was perfectly willing to join in.  After Jacks caught Vala following him one night he tried once more to tell her that he was too old for her in what ended up being the last conversation they had before the explosions which rendered Kithra uninhabitable and killed most of the Gwinarians. Vala caught a glimpse of Jacks once more after that fateful conversation and based on what she saw, she eventually hired a Tracker to find him.  Vala had her suspicions about him because that sighting was extremely circumstantial to the explosions.  Jacks found out about the Tracker and hired some people to get the Tracker out of the way, only they grabbed Vala and a young man, Bastian, who had a crush on her.  Vala and Bastian found themselves dropped on what appeared to be a deserted planet, not entirely hospitable towards Gwinarians, but during their search for shelter they ended up meeting Jacks.

I found that Worth used a rather interesting technique with this story.  Vala had a huge crush on Jacks but he rebuffed her due to her age.  Years later Bastian had a huge crush on Vala and she was trying to rebuff him.  That situation gave Vala some small sympathy towards Jacks and how he must have felt which I think added depth to her character.  She started off a very headstrong immature young woman. It became evident that over the years she had matured into a character worth following.  Even though Vala had grown up when she encountered Jacks again she still had to struggle with the combination of years of mixed emotions ranging from love to hatred, to attraction to reluctant sympathy to anger.  Watching her go through those swings just brought home how really complicated people and their emotions are.

Bastian, while younger than Vala, showed that he possessed a depth of maturity that she did not have during her crush on Jacks.  He was persistent but he also made himself helpful instead of just mooning and skulking after Vala, which I certainly appreciated.  He was also old enough to know his own mind and to subtly push his suit.  Bastian almost seemed to provide the bridge and sometimes the buffer between Vala and Jacks.  I think without his presence it would have been even more difficult to resolve the complicated past that tied Vala and Jacks together.

Jacks… I didn’t get as much of a feel for as I did the other two characters.  I understood and admired his reluctance at the beginning of the book because Vala was rather immature.  I also understood, after he told his story of the events, why he chose to hide out.  I think I wanted both Vala and Bastian to learn more about Jacks because even during their encounters I felt he was still slightly remote.

Worth certainly had me speculating about all sorts of things as she threw in twists and turns.  I wanted to know if and how Jacks, Vala, and Bastian would act on their mutual attraction and what the results would be.  I wanted to know who was really behind the explosions and why.  I wanted to know why Jacks was hiding out and why he tried to get the Tracker intercepted.  I wanted to know if and how Vala’s friends would manage to find her.  Luckily enough for me Worth answered most of my questions but in doing so she raised a few more.  Overall I enjoyed watching Jacks, Vala, and Bastian interact together.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens next as the quest for answers continues.

I give Catalyst a B+

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By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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