This Mortal Coil
Synopsis: When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements, she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine. But only if she can find and decrypt it… if she can unravel the clues he left for her.
The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organisation with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back. There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.
Author: Emily Suvada
I’ve discovered so many new authors that I absolutely love this year and Emily Suvada is up there as one of my favourites with her debut novel, This Mortal Coil. This Mortal Coil is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi but one that is vastly different from all other books I’ve read in that genre. It’s an addictive and thrilling read. One of the best YA sci-fi books I’ve read in, well, ever!
As the synopsis reveals, there is a virus in this world that could spell the end of humanity as they know it. Kind of a big deal, right? It’s such an important aspect of the plot that it needs to have been properly fleshed out (pun intended) so that the reader knows exactly what is at stake and how dire the consequences would be if a character contracts it. Suvada blew that right out of the park! The virus she created is not like any other I’ve ever come across in a book or film. It’s unique. And dangerous. Suvada is an emotive writer that you can feel how terrified the characters are of this deadly plague. I was getting goosebumps from reading about it!
Nature designed this plague as a double-edged sword: it either takes your life or it takes your humanity.
As can happen with sci-fi books, the science involved can be quite overwhelming, but I did not feel that way with this. The way science had evolved in this was not at all unrealistic. It’s something I could actually see happening in the future and not in the too distant future either! The concept of gene-hacking really interested me. It’s different and that’s something I love about it.
I really want to tell you all the reasons that I loved it but I don’t want to give anything away and it’s HARD! Never underestimate just how much a book reviewer/blogger is holding out on you because damn I want to tell you everything!
When it comes to the characters, I loved all but one of them (Dax, I’m looking at you).
While I did have trouble connecting with Cat in the beginning, mainly because she starts off as a badass, the further into the book I got, the more a connection to her was formed. I loved her interactions with the other characters. I love how determined she was. I loved how pure her intentions were despite all the horrors she had seen and endured. Cat starts off as a hardened, battle-worn teenager who has had to do everything she can to survive up until then, and throughout the course of the book, you begin to see through the demeanour she has had to adopt in order to make it in her world.
Cole was, for all intents and purposes, a walking trope… and I’m unusually okay with that. Tropes are perfectly okay if they’re done well. Suvada took well and raised it up a notch or two. Cole’s abilities and the details of his past were thoroughly interesting and kept me guessing. Cole eventually became one of my favourite characters. I can’t wait to see more of him in the sequel.
This book was full of twists and turns. The ending… oh god, the ending! I just imagine authors sitting at their desk and scrolling through our reviews and tweets, searching for the ones that curse them out for ending their books on a cliffhanger and laughing maniacally over it for the pain it causes us readers… or is that weird?* That’s exactly what I imagine Suvada doing over this ending.
For a debut novel, this was bordering on perfect. It was addictive. Turning the final page did nothing but kept me craving more. I have never read a dystopian that was as raw and powerful and enthralling as This Mortal Coil.
*this is what I’m going to do when I’m an author – okay, let’s be realistic if I ever become an author.