Posted on February 13, 2013 AT 06:13pm
People kept telling me I needed to put down Dead Space 3 for a few minutes and maybe read a book. Following their advice, I decided to pick up B. K. Evenson novel Dead Space: Catalyst for a change of pace. This book, set in the universe of the acclaimed EA franchise, has some great twists and makes good use of the license by taking the insanity theme for the series and expanding upon it.
I was very excited to dig into this book, because it’s not the first by this author based on the Dead Space franchise. The title that came before, entitled Dead Space: Martyr, focused around the character Michael Altman, who if you’ve played the games you might recognize as the founder of the series’ infamous religion of Unitology. While it took quite a while in this original novel to arrive at a place where people were being attacked by necromorphs, it did a great job of slowly building the tension and paranoia being experienced by the characters.
This second novel, instead of focusing on canon characters, follows Jensi Sato and his mentally disturbed brother Istvan. Throughout the events of the story, Istvan, not right in the head from birth, comes into contact with one of the markers in a penal colony. While Jensi rushes to save his brother, the marker slowly drives the other prisoners mad and strangely feeds off of Istvan making him the most sane person left in the compound.
The thing I’ve always loved about exploring the various areas presented to you in the series is each individuals slow breakdown. As the marker gets deeper and deeper into the mind of each person, it gets harder to see what’s real and what the marker wants you to see. Evenson has quite a talent for crafting these characters who are having a hard time gripping reality. Istvan is very interesting in that he often means well, but simply doesn’t understand the world.
Very similarly to his last book in the series, B. K. Evenson took his sweet time getting to the necromorphs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about this. In both books, he spends quite a bit of time exploring the intricacies of insanity before actually getting to the gore. While the slashing and dismembering part is lots of fun, I greatly enjoy the slow build-up as tensions mount. Catalyst takes this even a step further by introducing a main character that is already insane and explores what happens when someone who’s already lost their marbles is introduced to the insanity of the marker.
If you’re looking to squeeze in a little bit more Dead Space in your life, this may be the book for you. If you’re more interested in some intense necromorph action from start to finish, you may be a little disappointed, but the insanity spread by the red markers are here in spades and Evenson fills the book with interesting and dynamic characters. You’d have to be insane to not check out this book.
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