Verdict: KAT CUBED is an ambitious adventure that only skims the surface of its potential, but places a spotlight on the dangers of climate change.
Kat’s world swelters beneath a furious sun with the threat of raiders constantly on the horizon. Kaitlin is a science student in the next world over, working against the clock to stop the damage to a deteriorating planet Earth. Meanwhile, Katherine struggles with scientific research under the watchful eye of an authoritarian regime.
These three different versions of the protagonist are brought together when portals inexplicably open up, offering them a chance to jump between worlds. But the opportunity to share knowledge that might save each other’s worlds comes with a heavy price. All of their universe-hopping adventures wear on the fabric of reality, bending the laws of physics. Kat and her counterparts must join forces to restore balance before millions of lives are lost.
KAT CUBED is one-part science fiction action-adventure and one-part post-apocalyptic nightmare, with a dash of dystopia to top it all off. A cautionary tale about climate change, Smith’s message hits home as Kat’s world finds water scarce and Kaitlin’s version of America is ravaged by powerful storms. With Smith’s background in physics, the scientific research is implemented in unique ways, though the language and concepts become hard to grasp at times. It feels like one of those TV movies on Syfy—a high concept premise full of technobabble and flashy effects that moves forward at a brisk pace and leaves everything else by the wayside.
There’s something satisfying about Kaitlin and Katherine being the smartest women in the room, collaborating with pure brainpower and scientific fact to reach a solution to their portal issues. One of the most interesting characters happens to be Katherine’s computer Pandora, who has just gained artificial intelligence and answers in snarky comments. However, everyone seems emotionally distant from the reader, due to clunky prose that spends its time doing too much telling rather than showing. Much of the action is rushed or glossed over entirely, leaving no room to slow down and digest the consequences of characters’ decisions.
Some of the dialogue, even from older characters like Kat’s parents, comes off as juvenile or silly. Greater attention to fleshing out the characters and their relationships would have helped to give the novel’s high stakes a more believable sense of urgency.
KAT CUBED is an ambitious adventure that only skims the surface of its potential, but places a spotlight on the dangers of climate change.
~Jessica Thomas for IndieReader