A thrill ride from start to finish with all the STEM elements you could want.
Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia
No. of pages: 450
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?
This book really sucked me into its dystopian world. Emily Suvada starts the story off with a bang and keeps the pace going right up to the end with reveal after thrilling reveal.
If I’m going to get right into the nitty-gritty of my reading experience the only fault I can point out is that I wish there were a few more moments of levity or humour to break up the narrative.
The science fiction elements and themes ‘This Mortal Coil’ tackles are brilliant. Gene manipulation, body modification, pandemics, biological warfare, power struggles, intellectual property through corporate ownership, psychological programming, coding, technology, identity, espionage, and love.
The other thing I really liked about this novel is not only that there were so many interesting things going on, but also how the story wrapped up so many of these to give the reader a satisfying end, but also set up the next novel with intrigue. I can’t wait to get my hands on ‘This Cruel Design.’
At 450 pages this is a little longer than your typical YA, but because of the pacing, I didn’t feel like this book dragged at all and read it in 2 sittings over 2 days.
Catarina was an interesting protagonist, she does embody parts of number of popular tropes in YA: the warrior, born yesterday, the orphan… while Cat is not wholly any of these, there were enough traits to help the reader quickly connect and identify Cat’s role. I did find myself guessing about the conclusion a lot, forming theories, revising them, adding new ones. It is testament to Suvada’s skill that I was constantly trying to figure things out. I did guess one of the major plot twists very early on, but the rest were a delightful surprise. Some of the others may yet prove true in the following sequels… I am definitely eager to continue on with this series.
Setting Dax as a love interest early on was an interesting thread to follow, though I don’t think it was given enough justice – but then again, we still have another two books to explore this more thoroughly.
Cole as the protector and rival for Cat’s affections did not sit well with me in the beginning, but I’m feeling like they are one of my favourite fictional couples. It may all go ka-bloowey in the next book, or it may endure. I’m hoping I get to continue swooning and squeeing…
Overall, a marvellous sci-fi that totally surprised me. It wasn’t as funny and light-hearted as I was expecting, but it certainly grappled with a lot of scientific elements, which won me over. I love me some science and theories. Highly recommend this one, but more so for the lovers of sci-fi and STEM enthusiasts.
Overall feeling: WOWZER!!
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