Review: CATALYST GATE by Megan E. O’Keefe

Publisher: Orbit Books
Page Count: 566
Release Date: June 22nd, 2021
Series: THE PROTECTORATE, Book 3
Rating: 5/5 Stars – Loved it!!

Warning: Possible light spoilers ahead for previous books in the series. You can read reviews for earlier books here: VELOCITY WEAPON, CHAOS VECTOR

Catalyst Gate

Humanity’s days are numbered. At least they are if Rainier gets her way. The strange entity would have wiped out the human race if Sanda and her crew hadn’t interfered, but Rainier isn’t going to let that be the end of the story. With her fingers in multiple factions across the galaxy, Rainier is poised to start turning groups against each other to burn everything down the old-fashioned way. But Sanda has a lead on something that might be the key to stopping Rainier once and for all – but only if she can stay out of Rainer’s grasp long enough to find it and figure out how it works.

CATALYST GATE is the smashing finale to a trilogy that was already poised to be one of my favorites of all time. Both VELOCITY WEAPON and CHAOS VECTOR were fantastic reads, and CATALYST GATE manages to follow them up with an adrenaline-pumping whirl of action, suspense, and twisty mysteries, mixing them all together into one satisfying finale. There were a lot of balls in the air at the end of CHAOS VECTOR, and O’Keefe catches them all and puts them to rest with ease. Answers about the gates, their origins, and humanity’s role are finally on the table, and it’s nice to see the payoff. One of the few quibbles I had was it occasionally felt like an absurd number of bad guys emerged at the eleventh hour, but in a final book that is trying to continuously up the stakes, that’s to be expected.

Sanda, of course, is the star of this finale, the weary hero who keeps getting back up and taking on one insane task after another. She’s got a mission and she’s going to see it through, but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t get to be a sarcastic pain the entire way. Unsurprisingly, Tomas was my second favorite character – he broke my heart in CHAOS VECTOR and he continues to be a person trying to make sense of an increasingly bad hand of cards that life has dealt him. His trajectory continues to be a fascinating to watch, especially when I look back to his seemingly simple origins in VELOCITY WEAPON.

Perhaps most surprising was the development of Biran into a worthy defender of the galaxy. Biran’s always been a bit of a weak link POV character. Part of the elite and secretive Keeper organization that guards the gate technology, Biran has been a bit naïve if goodhearted, always outmaneuvered because he’s not even aware there’s a game being played. But after fumbling around for the first few books, Biran finally grows up. He still is the kind of man who wants to give peace a chance first, but now he’s prepared to back up soft words with an iron hammer if someone goes against him. I found myself actually looking forward to his POV chapters for once, and I’m glad that he evolved into someone I could root for.

A series as twisty as THE PROTECTORATE is always in danger of falling apart at the finish line, as the author scrambles to provide answers in a rush (answers they may or may not have thought of when beginning the series). CATALYST GATE, however, completely sticks the landing. It delivers a few last-minute twists to keep readers on their toes, but is ever-driving towards the finish line. If you’re a fan so far, you’ll be well rewarded; if you haven’t started the series yet, rest assured that it’s a journey well worth taking.

Note: I was provided a free review copy by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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