This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Summary: 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?
My Rating:★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: Suvada’s debut brilliantly explores genetics and gene-hacking in this YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia! This Mortal Coil follows hacker Cat Agatta as she uncovers the secrets her father left behind when he leaves her with a mission to release a vaccine alongside a Cartaxus soldier, Cole!
Ever since I read the summary for This Mortal Coil, I put it on my tbr right away and considering I don’t usually read much YA Sci-Fi, from the summary it sounded like such a fascinating read. I mean a teenage gene-hacker, futuristic genetic tech., and mysterious organizations? This book sounded like something I’d really like & after finishing the last page, I didn’t just like it, I adored it ❤ !!
Due to the technological advancements in this world, everyone has panels connected to their arms which allows them to genetically enhance or alter themselves and for those who are able to hack into these panels, can amplify natural abilities, among other fascinating things! However, there are plauges and viruses that have taken over and because of that, corporate organization Cartaxus has stepped in and taken control of this technology, causing a divide between the people (those protected from the plagues/viruses by Cartaxus & those left to fend for themselves).
In comes Catarina Agatta, genius gene-hacker and coder, who at the start of the novel attempting to catch a gene-hacked pigeon and examine its DNA in the forest where she's been off the grid, living in a cabin for the past 2 years with her neighbor and friend, Agnes.
Through her geneticist father, Lachlan Agatta, she has learned and taught herself the ins/outs of genetic hacking and coding. With that, she has become part of a secret group called the Skies (an independent network), which hacks into Cartaxus and gathers medical codes that the organization keeps for itself and releases them to the public.
I found the way Suvada developed and introduced Cartaxus was brilliant. There are so many layers and sides to this organization that really added depth to the world.
The story continues to pick up when Cartaxus Lieutenant, Cole Franklin manages to find her and tells her of a vital mission her father left behind for Cat to complete.
It turns out there is a vaccine to bring an end to Hydra, one of the most dangerous viruses. And Cat is the only one who can unlock the vaccine to save the world. Both Cole and Cat have to work together to figure out a way to unlock it and release it, but luckily he father leaves behind clues to get Cat on the right track.
But Cat knows she can’t trust this soldier, considering he’s from Cartaxus the same organization that took he father and childhood friend Dax away from her 2 years ago. Regardless, she undergoes this journey despite the danger ahead of her because as it turns out, Cole has been coded with the latest Gentech to not only help her along the way but also protect her.
The plot went in such unexpected directions and truly surprised me as I found myself flying through each chapter. The world, secret organizations, the gentech, characters, themes, and riveting story all weaved together so perfectly!
I loved the relationships that Cat develops between the characters of this book, especially the mysterious soldier, Cole! With his mission given by Dr. Agatta to take care of her and ensure she unlocks the vaccine, Cat begins to better understand the different sides to her father and Cartaxus along the way through him. While Cat doesn’t really trust him at first, she soon finds that she has to in order to help others, but does grow to better understand him as well throughout the story. The dynamics of their interesting relationship were built so well with the fast-paced plot and intriguing world.
The characters were all so well written! Even those who are only introduced for a brief amount of time, you feel you know them from just a few sentences. I adored Cat as a character, no matter how many times she is put in danger or takes risks, she always considered what was best for others, always. Even when tough decisions need to be made, she always thought of what would be best for the people she wants to save with her mission.
The writing-style was spectacular. Told through a 1st person POV, we follow Cat as she uncovers the mysteries her late father left behind. Suvada really builds in genetics, coding and hacking throughout the whole plot. So if you like stories about female hackers and love genetics, I feel you would really love this book.
I found myself looking up terms and concepts brought up throughout This Mortal Coil which made this book so much fun to read because I found myself learning new things about genetics I’d never considered or knew.
It was an aspect of the book that really stood out and made this book shine. Through it Suvada builds so many layers into her world. Because its through a 1st person POV, the way technology, genetics, politics and the ability for the characters to recode their DNA, works so well in this story, and is weaved together in a unique way and really made sense.
The technology introduced was so complex but fascinating! The panel within people’s arms allows them to download apps (such as Healing Apps) or if they can hack, allow them to input their own codes to create and use their own apps.
Suvada’s writing also made this book feel very cinematic, so from the fast-pace to the twists, and development along the way, it felt very much like watching a movie and really came to life as I read it!~
Your kept on the edge of your seat as Suvada builds and uncovers the mysteries of the genetic technology and what Cat discovers as she attempts to complete her mission.
Above all, its clear from the brilliant writing and details of the world, that Suvada put so much heart into this story. Its books like This Mortal Coil that remind me why I love Science Fiction~
My only minor issue was that I just wanted a little more background and development on some side characters and the atmosphere of the world.
This Mortal Coil is a brilliantly detailed and immersive YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia that weaves genetics and technology to deliver a fascinating tale! With such originality, the world-building, wonderfully developed characters, fascinating plot, tons of twists, turns, action, and intrigue that will leave you hooked till the final page!