Street magician Mavrin Leed doesn’t believe in what he can’t see or prove. His performances are mere tricks; the only true magic in Aelda comes from the benevolent, god-like Aspects circling it. As long as They keep the Lifesphere intact, he stays out of Their way.
Labeled a heretic, Eyasu Temergon is convinced that Aelda’s true history was hidden, even from the Aspects. He scours forgotten shadows for proof of the Raw, creatures of energy tied to the fracturing of his world. When their sudden emergence leads to destruction and chaos, Eyasu puts aside his estrangement with his old friend, and hopes Mavrin can do the same.
Ex-soldier Deyeri Renn has a mystery of her own: why are her city’s leaders so interested in the Raw? She spent too long fighting in the Winds to let a myth harm her city, and too many years alone to accept the life-worn man who bumbles back into her home, with no right to ask for her help.
As Deyeri, Mavrin, and Eyasu unpack the secrets that once drove them apart, every seal in their relationship means one more crack that could unravel Aelda’s very existence.
Catalyst is the stunning debut by Ottawa author Brandon Crilly, a fantasy tale of magic, friendship, and holding a broken world together.
“Imaginative worldbuilding at its finest. Crilly manages to not glaze over, while still infusing every character with deep humanity. Catalyst is a buffet for epic fantasy readers!” – Hugo winner Brent Lambert, author of A Necessary Chaos
“A vastly imaginative novel, filled with meticulous detail and fascinating worldbuilding.” – Nebula and Aurora winner Premee Mohamed, author of The Annual Migration of Clouds
“Brandon Crilly’s debut novel is a beaut. A fast-paced, character-rich, highly entertaining romp that soars on the wind over a shattered realm with more wonder in each paragraph than most books give you in a chapter. Bravo! Highly recommended.” – CSFFA Hall of Fame inductee Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Gossamer Mage
“Catalyst is a breath of fresh air for the fantasy genre. Set in a creative, immersive world filled with post-apocalyptic imagery, mysterious gods, and true magic, Brandon Crilly’s debut novel subverts tropes and upends expectations while still delivering the excitement and wonder that fantasy readers demand. His heroes span different ages, genders, backgrounds, and experiences, but all feel grounded and distinct, and while they face horrific challenges, even the darkest moments are tempered by light and human empathy. This is an author truly engaging their chosen genre, thoughtfully exploring the established cannon while also forging their own unique voice.” – Dan Stout, author of The Carter Archives
“Epic worldbuilding meets layered characters in this not-to-be-missed debut novel. Hopeful and with lots of heart, pick this up if you love an engrossing read. Can’t wait for the next one!” – Marie Bilodeau, bestselling author of the Heirs of a Broken Land series
“Well-crafted characters and deep worldbuilding make Catalyst a memorable and moving tale of magic, power, and impossible choices.” – Alex Livingston, author of The Knave of Secrets
“Brandon Crilly’s debut novel, Catalyst, introduces a finely detailed world with an innovative magic system and compelling characters. I enjoyed the novel very much.” – Violette Malan, author of the Dhulyn and Parno series
“Layered world-building and taut, troubled relationships are the heart of Catalyst, but genre-bending fantasy is its soul. This intriguing novel is one part magic, one part post-apocalypse, one part Getting the Band Back Together, and all of Brandon Crilly’s creative spark.” – Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine
“Pack your bags: you’re going on an adventure. Catalyst is an exciting journey into a world of marvels. This book stole my heart.” – Aurora winner Kate Heartfield, author of The Embroidered Book