Posted: March 1, 2016 in Book Reviews


Catalyst by Tyler Rudd Hall

313 pages

Book 1 of the Ronos Trilogy

I recentley had the opportunity to read the first book of a new trilogy written by a friend of mine Tyler Rudd Hall. Before you read what I have to say about his book I want to say Thankyou Tyler for offering me the first 2 books in your Trilogy free and autographed. I look forward to reading your name on the new york times best sellers list one day. May this be the start of a long and successful writing career.

Mac Narrand is a Luddite raised man. He comes from a family that rejects much of modern-day tech in favor of personal privacy and non government intervention in their lives. By much of society they are seen as the odd balls, weird and outcast of society.

Everything changed for Mac however when a close personal friend of his was abducted by aliens and taken from him. This is what started the vast interstellar war between mankind and Aliens. When that happened he devoted his life to finding her. He joined the military and had an Imp installed. This is essentially a smart phone or tablet installed into you eyes and brain. This allowed him to communicate with the military, but it also restricts his ability to be private as the government can access everything he says, does and sees via his imp. It seems everyone but the Luddites have imps these days and it has become an expected and normal thing in the modern world.

Mac takes some time to visit family on leave from the military when the unthinkable happens. The city of Northgate is attacked by Aliens and virtually wiped off the face of the planet. A lone survivor, Lynn,  escapes. Mac attempts to rescue her but fails. Just before her failed rescue attempt she sends messages across the world via her imp that the attack was a fake, and that the attackers were actually human, not alien and she has proof. Mac must now find her to learn what she knows. This new-found knowledge eventually leads Mac to the planet Ronos, a hidden planet with a secret that could change the very nature of humanity.

The concept of an alien attack on earth and interstellar war is not original as this kind of tale has been told countless times before, in countless ways. Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game, Starship troopers and many others I am sure we could all think of. What is important is not the originality of the concept however but rather in the telling of the tale.

Tyler touches on many concepts and ideas that I personally find fascinating. People being locked up and labelled as mentally insane when discovering the truth about government conspiracy. Our every move, thought, action and word being monitored and recorded by government agencies. Over dependency on technology leaving us nothing more than zombies and slaves to our tech. False flag attacks etc… This book plays out with the theme of the war on terror and government attacks on innocent civilians used as a catalyst to generate support for the government’s agenda. News media is also being used a tool of propaganda to further government cause and justify state actions against innocent civilians. All of this is reminiscent of modern-day politics, warfare and media.

The Aliens in this book are essentially non-corporeal beings that have no physical form. Because of this they need to abduct humans to make copies of them to dwell within so they can easily hide among the human populations. The only problem with this idea of  being non-corporeal aliens is that the idea that they need a physical space ship. This seems almost pointless from my perspective. (sorry Tyler got to be honest). My question is if they have no physical form but are particles of intelligence or matter as described why did they get space ships and to begin with, how did they use and build them? Until the aliens encountered humans they had no idea what humans were so what sparked the war? Within the story the war started with the abductions by these aliens in their spaceships, but why did they need space ships to begin with and why did they start making copies of humans to begin with. The story says that humans got in the way of their purpose. I would love to know more about this. What is their purpose and how did humanities first meeting with this species go. Did they have spaceships then? The story suggest they had ravaged other species in their path of destruction. Was a human colony world perhaps their first encounter? Lots of questions that could really be a whole new set of books. There is a potential here to created the Ronosverse. (That’s a hint there Tyler)

One thing that I thought was a bit odd was how General Zinger was so quick and easily admited his role in the Northgate massacre. It does not make sense to me that he would be so willing to admit this fact, at least not without compelling evidence. I think it would have been better if either he denied it till the end or Mac forced it out of him with compelling and undeniable evidence which I did not think was there at the time. Why did the general feel the need to justify himself to Mac?

Some of the ideas in this book seem a bit far-fetched, such as surviving in space, not needing to breath or eat etc… These things however is what makes it science fiction, it does not have to be realistic, and, in a way, it adds to the fun of the over all story.

Mac’s motivation to join the military is clear and his determination to do what is right is respectable. The overall dialogue and story development is fast paced, high energy and intense. I have to say I love the premise of this book. A secret world with a substance that brings virtual invincibility. (though I am still struggling to understand how the mac gas and lynnrock works.) Such power makes Mac and Lynn the perfect people to end the alien menace (though whether the aliens are really the true threat or not remains to be seen) The story of Ronos is really just getting started and has so much potential to develop into an epic conclusion.

Tyler here has really put together something that is well worth the read and your time. For some, the unanswered questions may be a turn off but for me it gives me reason to keep reading. I have an insatiable  curiosity and cannot put something down till I understand what is happening. The cliff hanger at the end will leave you anxiously awaiting the next volume. I have to say, while not a perfect book and some improvement in overall writing style is needed, this was still a really good read. The few writing errors (given this is a first edtion copy I have read)  in the book can easily be overlooked in the overall story development. Given this is a self published book and Tyler did not have the benefit of an editor from a major publisher we can forgive him for the few errors found in the book. Overall this is good book and one that I would recommend.

I will give this book 6.5/10 book worms. Only because some mild improvement in overall writing would make this better. Great Job Tyler, I look forward to seeing how your career progresses, and reading Beacon, book 2 in the Ronos Trilogy.

you can buy Tylers book on Amazon or chapters websites. I reccommend you do. It is well worth the read!! You can also visit Tyler’s website Chortle My Girth

Stay tuned for an up coming exclusive interview with Tyler as well!!

  1. […] Catalyst March 1, 2016 […]

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