In this little volume of prequels, Stephanie shows us how, chance, ethics and the prompting of conscience shapes the futures of her characters. In each of the five tales, the lives and fates of the characters turn on the choices their consciences – or even the consciences of others – have them make.
We come to understand that being ‘different’ may be a burden, but it is also a privilege, and the finding of one’s tribe can give even the most downtrodden the courage to move out of a bad situation with their head held high.
The writing is excellent, being taut and undecorated but also taking us into the hearts and minds of the characters. A big thumbs up there.
As prequels they work in that they make us want to follow these characters and find out how their fates cross.
Four stars and a recommendation.
Giving Fate a Hand…
This collection can stand alone as individual stories or as a connected collection in its own right. But they are also a great introduction to the work of Stephanie Barr and in particular to her multi-world, paranormal romance novel Catalyst.
There are two stories exploring Raven’s predicament and his world and two about Chloe and her rise from an oppressive relationship to confident independence. the last story is about Lucy and a troubled boy called Remy. All the stories seem to have a theme related to the issues of being different and outcast and the need to find those with whom one can be oneself.
The author’s writing style is easy to read, with very few moments that broke my reading immersion. She manages to make a few words do a lot of work in a good way. The characters are all well-shaped as individuals and their issues and strengths shine through, transforming them from paper people to real-feeling characters.
Whether you are just interested in an intriguing and well written short read, or in finding out more about the characters in Catalyst before (or after) reading the book, there is a lot to enjoy here.
A solid 4.5 stars from me, rounded up as I enjoyed the ride.