Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.
Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?
Mortal Coil is an original, inventive, and highly entertaining beginning to a new YA dystopian series, that checks off all the right boxes.
I’ve read a ton of post-apocalyptic books where the plot is centered on some sort of deadly plague which has wiped out most of humanity, leaving zombie-like creatures, survivors desperately trying to save the world, and opportunistic villains who either caused the calamity to begin with, or who are now trying to exploit it. While this novel follows this formula, it also deviates into something different and refreshing.
First, although this is science fiction, Emily Suvada makes the events that transpire believable. I think I’ve mentioned before that I do not have a scientific mind, so with all the DNA sequencing, gene hacking, computer coding and nano-technology that’s in this story, it would have been all too easy for someone like me to get lost. Instead, Suvada provides an understandable explanation for everything, and she accomplishes this without slowing the story down.
What also adds to the authenticity are the characters. Each of them are well-rounded and came across as realistic individuals, which allowed me to become fully invested in them and the increasingly dangerous situations they found themselves in. There’s a semi love triangle that happens, but there’s so much action going on that I didn’t find it nearly as annoying as I usually do in YA books.
There are also quite a few twists and turns, some of which I guessed, but there was one in particular that took me completely by surprise. These helped move the story along even more quickly and I wound up finishing this in two sittings.
This Mortal Coil is definitely one of my favorite science fiction reads of 2017. By the time I was halfway through the story I was already thinking of my dream cast if this is ever adapted for film or tv. I would caution though that it’s quite graphic. For example: people explode, hence the cover. Because of this I recommend the book for older teens and adults. With a kick-ass heroine and fantastic world-building, this is sure to have wide appeal. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy, so I can’t wait to see what the second book has in store!