My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Dance teacher Wil Tango, adopted by a cat who needs to make use of his opposable thumbs, knows all too well the primary rule of their arrangement: never reveal the cat is a genius. Their clever scheme to win all the jackpots on Gizem Station works until a bigwig gets suspicious, and he finds himself stuffed in a stasis box and shipped to Garbage Planet. At least he’s got the cat for company.
Sulari Abfall, scrapyard picker extraordinaire, thinks she’s scored when she earns access to the latest offload from Gizem Station. Their trash is her treasure, and the profits from her recycling program should provide more than enough to upgrade her clunky garbage scow into a clunky tow ship, a huge step up in trash hierarchy. When she’s drawn to a hazardous waste container, she finds more than she ever bargained for. A naked man. And a sentient cat.
But unsealing the stasis pod sends an interspace signal back to Gizem Station—and the vengeful VIP who thought Wil was dead. It will take all the wits of a lovely garbage scow captain, a down on his luck dance instructor, and a brave orange feline to defeat a gang intent on mayhem, murder, and a galactic catnapping that could change the course of the future for the entire Obsidian Rim.
This book caught my eye the first time I saw it, that sci-fi style cover with a girl and a cat on it and then the fun sounding premise. Eventually I decided to give it a try and picked up my copy. I had fun reading this book. The story is relatively straightforward, but in a way that kept my attention and made me interested to see what would happen next.
Catalyst is told in dual point of views of both Su and Will. Will gets dumped in the trash on Trash Planet where Su finds him. Will pissed off a casino boss who is now after him and who wants his cat, Pumpkin. The immediate conflict and no clear solution for how to fix it made for an engaging read. I just couldn’t imagine how they would get out of this situation. And now that Su is helping Will she also lands herself on the radar of the casino boss. I enjoyed following them along as they try and figure out a solution to their problem.
I liked both main characters. Su is determined and capable, but also very caring and willing to risk everything for the people she cares about. Then there is Will who is a dance instructor and leaves that all behind to help Pumpkin. He literally throws everything he knows away for the cat and gets very little in return. I have to say it was quite gratifying when Su talks back to the cat and demands he works with them and tells them more. And seeing these two different characters team up together and work together was so much fun.
There are a bunch of fun side characters as well. Mostly friends of Su and ofcourse Pumpkin the cat, more about that later. I liked reading about the tight group of friends that Su has around her on Trash Planet. There also is some history and struggles with another group of people on Trash Planet and slowly we figure out what has happened to Su in the past.
I liked the romance between Su and Will. They have some mutual attraction form the start, but I like how they don’t act upon it till they are safe. It also takes them a bit of time to explore what’s between them. I liked how low on drama their romance was.
Ofcourse this review wouldn’t be complete with more mention of Pumpkin. He was such a typical cat and at the same time so much more with his enhanced intelligence and special skills. I liked that mix of how smart and capable he was, but then reverted to typical cat behavior as well like with the boxes, I liked that scene. I liked him immediately, there’s something so adorable about him. But there were also plenty of moments when I got a bit frustrated with him. He doesn’t tell Su and Will the truth for a long time and while it makes sense, it also felt a bit like a plot device to keep readers in the dark. But like I said it makes sense and toward the end there is this big reveal and he does decide to trust them and then it makes even more sense why Pumpkin had to be sure he could trust Su and Will. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series progresses and the role the cats will play in it.
I liked getting a feel for the world in this book. I haven’t read any other Obsidian Rim books yet, but you can easily start the Cat Ship series that’s part of that universe without having read any of the other books. We get a feel for the world and what’s possible, but most of the book takes place on Trash Planet.
To summarize: This was such a fun start to this series. I liked the premise with the talking cat and the humans who help him. The plot line is quite straightforward with a casino boss being after Will and wanting the cat, but there was no easy solution in sight. It made for a compelling read following these characters along and seeing how they deal with the situation. I liked both Su and Will, they are quite different, but work well together. I also like how caring they both are, Will throws his whole life away to help Pumpkin and Su will do almost everything for those she cares about. And Pumpkin was just so adorable, he’s a cat who can talk and has special powers, but he’s still very much a cat too, which was an awesome mix of traits. He did frustrate me at times with how he keeps things a secret, but it did make sense. And then there’s the big reveal at the end which makes me really curious about book 2!