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Catalyst (Insignia Series #3)

Catalyst (Insignia Series #3)

4.8 5
by S. J. Kincaid

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S. J. Kincaid has created a fascinating dystopian world for Insignia, her futuristic science-fiction adventure series perfect for fans of Ender's Game. Earth is in the middle of WWIII, battling to determine which governments and corporations will control the resources of the solar system.

Teen Tom Raines grew up with nothing, some days without even a


S. J. Kincaid has created a fascinating dystopian world for Insignia, her futuristic science-fiction adventure series perfect for fans of Ender's Game. Earth is in the middle of WWIII, battling to determine which governments and corporations will control the resources of the solar system.

Teen Tom Raines grew up with nothing, some days without even a roof over his head. Then his exceptional gaming skills earned him a spot in the Intrasolar Forces, the country's elite military training program, and his life completely changed. Now, in Catalyst, the explosive series conclusion, dangerous changes have come to the Pentagonal Spire, where Tom and his friends train. When a mysterious figure starts fighting against the evil corporations' horrifying plans, but with methods Tom finds shocking, he must decide which side he's on.

With slim odds of success, is it even worth the fight?

Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
Kincaid’s Insignia series has proven science fiction worthy of comparison with Asimov. Readers will be spellbound as they inhale this last chapter.
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Clio Byrne-Gudding
Catalyst is charged with both the thrilling energy of a good science fiction story and a creeping sense of paranoia. Highlighting the shrinking gap between powerful technology and human security, the book is oddly reminiscent of the modern clash between freedom and automated security. Kincaid’s world—in which teenaged cadets have cyborg minds, authorities rob memories, and a new kind of science-fiction corporate greed reigns—is one worth visiting. Reviewer: Clio Byrne-Gudding, Teen Reviewer; Ages 15 to 18.
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Jonathan Ryder
In this conclusion to the Insignia series, Tom Raines has returned to the Pentagonal Spire only to find that things have changed significantly in his absence. The Spire is under a new director who insists on stricter regulations and closer adherence to military discipline. Furthermore, new cadets are appearing with a strange new type of neural processor implanted in their brains. To top it all off, someone else is taking over Tom’s previous identity as The Ghost in the Machine and is beginning to wage a war against the corporations. Tom now finds himself on the front lines of a new battle, where the stakes are even higher than before. Who is really pulling the strings in this new conflict? Who can Tom trust? Will Tom discover the identity of this new Ghost before time runs out for the human race? Although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone work. Events of the previous books are summarized and allow the reader to follow the action, albeit with a few significant gaps in knowledge. The narrative flows well, and the writer does a good job exploring the consequences of an increasingly technology-dependent society. One minor criticism is that the antagonist often appears to be more of a Bond villain than a realistic character, prone to grand speeches and overly complicated setups. The ending ties up all loose ends, making it clear that the author intends this to be the final installment. The story deals with issues of friendship, rebellion against authority, technology, romance, and Stockholm syndrome. This book would be a solid addition to any high school library collection. Reviewer: Jonathan Ryder; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Tom Raines faces his biggest challenges yet in this final installment of the trilogy that began with Insignia (HarperCollins, 2012). The action begins immediately as Tom accidentally creates a security incident that exposes the existence of his neural computer to his already paranoid father and puts them both in danger with the NSA. He manages to free his father, but alienates him in the process. Reporting back for training at the Spire, he finds that much has changed: a new General is in charge, and training (and punishment) is in place to force them to be better soldiers. Tom continues to use his secret ability of infiltrating networks to communicate with his love interest, Medusa. The truly evil Joseph Vengerov is a threat to everyone, and when he kidnaps Tom to examine and ultimately use his secret ability, he may be hard to stop. There are finally explanations to be had for some major questions, and what they lack in credibility is compensated for by the nonstop action and intrigue that fills every page, much like the first two installments. Some readers may find the juvenile humor funny, but others will find it jarring alongside the very adult decisions that Tom and his friends must make. Still, a worthwhile read for those who enjoyed the previous books.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-29
Intrasolar cadet Tom Raines helps bring the Insignia trilogy to an appropriately explosive conclusion. As the book opens, Tom is feeling the consequences of the stunt with which he closed Vortex (2013), a spectacular thumbing of the nose directed at the oligarchs who control Earth's resources and governments. A crackdown at the Pentagonal Spire sees a newly installed commander exerting tight-fisted, military control over the nominally civilian cadets. Kincaid raises the stakes with abandon, introducing a midnovel calamity that strains credulity—but so sure is her control over her protagonist's character arc and so sincere her commitment to good, old-fashioned science-fiction ideals that it works. Tom's Spire nemesis, Lt. Blackburn, is close to thwarting Joseph Vengerov, the magnate who seems poised to realize his dreams of total world domination, but a twist that's both chilling and heartbreaking stretches Tom to his limits. Despair and hope, memory and oblivion, love and hate all come together in a climax that employs the trilogy's greatest strength—the friendships forged among Tom and his fellow cadets—as the key to victory. Kincaid's trademark spectacular action sequences and affectionate banter make room for Tom's coming-of-age without compromising what readers have come to love. An unabashedly optimistic denouement is the perfect ending for this series that's unafraid to ask readers to grapple with big ideas—it's the joyful flip side of Feed. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Insignia Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

S. J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire. She also interned for a politician in Washington, DC, and received degrees from universities in Illinois and Ohio, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Several years, several manuscripts, and several jobs later, Ms. Kincaid now lives in California, and Catalyst is the conclusion to the Insignia trilogy.

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Catalyst 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read series. Loved it. Awesome book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to this book trilogy by my brother and it was an intense exciting read with a couple twists in the end. Thanks for the insight about why Tom can interface with any machine he wants to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just like the first book I didn't want to put it down. As I said in my last review, these are not my favorite books but they are entertaining. I like how much action they throw in. I feel like there is never a dull moment and everything happens for a reason in these booms which is good. Keeps me paying attention. To tiny details.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So hyped.One of my favorite series