A breathtaking debut about one girl's quest for answers in a genetically and technologically advanced future.
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.
Only 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 organization 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.
Review by Tanaya Lowden
This Mortal Coil is one of the best YA debuts I’ve read this year, and one of the most unique YA dystopians I’ve read in a long time. It’s filled with action, adventure and some really well written plot twists making this a book you’ll want to devour in one sitting.
Set in a world with a deadly disease that sees victims explode into plumes of pink dust, the story follows Catarina. Cat’s father is the world’s leading geneticist and the person responsible for finding the cure to the disease. When he is killed, he leaves Cat clues to complete his work and ensure the cure is delivered in the hands of everyone and not the chosen recipients of the company he worked for.
This book has so much occurring in it that this plot summary really does not do it justice, and it’s one of those books that you can easily go into knowing not much about and still thoroughly enjoy.
Something I really loved about this book is how genuine the world building feels. Emily Suvada is a scientist with a particular focus on genetic engineering. In a world where DNA coding has become a part of society, Suvada’s area of expertise shines through and is highly appreciated. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the best at science, and although I sometimes didn’t quite understand the scientific explanations in the book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and having them influence my overall perception of this world.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that I’ve not want to put down. Suvada writes in a way where little revelations are dropped regularly throughout the book, normally at the end of chapters, and this along with the fast-paced plot made me want to read it in one sitting. The twists and turns throughout the book are fun, refreshing, and for the most part unpredictable. The last fifty pages in particular were incredibly well done, and have made me desperately want the sequel now!
Overall, This Mortal Coil has all the elements I love in a YA book. There is a fast-paced and action-filled plot, a likable main character, an incredibly detailed and fascinating world, a sweet romance, and twists and turns that have not been overdone. With the YA dystopian genre well past its prime, This Mortal Coil is worth the read and a fantastic example of why we love these types of stories so much.
About the Author
Emily Suvada was born in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. Her interest in science and tech never waned, particularly in genetic engineering and the question of what it means to be human. She thought it would be fun to explore these interests through characters running for their lives in a futuristic hellscape, so she wrote This Mortal Coil. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen.