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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Worldcatcher by Casey Waldam is a young adult science fiction novel and the first book in the new series of the same name. The plot begins with a young woman named Chloe attempting to escape from a medical prison. The attempt is thwarted, and she uses PSI in the form of telepathy to reach out to Ben Kensi, a teen amnesiac in foster care who sees the hallucinations and messages received from Chloe as nightmares. The connection to the pair is slowly revealed through Chloe's point of view, alongside Ben's point of view from his otherwise normal teenage life. When Ben finds himself being inexplicitly chased by agents and people he loves are being murdered, his world is once more turned upside down and his real education begins, and it's nothing like his classes at Central Pacific High School.
A reader places a great deal of trust in an author when we start a new science fiction series. We commit to learning about an author's worlds, social structure, technology, and often even language, and with the PSI element that Casey Waldam employs in Worldcatcher, we have yet another additional element to grasp in an already complex story landscape. Thankfully, Waldam does an excellent job in peeling through the layers so that we can effectively immerse ourselves in a cleverly written, authentic feeling novel that is mercifully free of information dumps. The progression is organic and, as a result, our trust pays off and our commitment is rewarded. The writing is clean and tight and the character development is exceptional. There are moments of heartbreak that transcend the page and feel personal, with one, in particular, being especially painful. The book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger but there are some major loose ends that are tied up so it is still satisfying. Overall, Worldcatcher is as fine a science fiction read as many classics and I look forward to seeing where the series takes us.