Emily Suvada’s “This Mortal Coil” follows Catarina Agatta: a hacker and daughter of the renowned geneticist, Lachlan Agatta, who lives in a world where it is normal to inject technology into one’s body. A lethal virus epidemic, the hydra, is spreading around the globe and Lachlan is thought to be able to produce a vaccine. When a government-type organization called Cartaxus kidnaps Lachlan and his protégée, Catarina’s love interest, Dax, Catarina is left alone.
The last words her father said was to not trust Cartaxus. After living by herself for two years, Cole, a soldier from Cartaxus, meets Catarina and tells her that her dad is dead, but he developed a vaccine for the hydra before he died. Cole is under the impression that Catarina can and will discover the vaccine, but Catarina is not so confident that she can.
Catarina was a fun point of view, both likable and a little difficult to read. Putting readers right in the middle of the action, Suvada’s instant brutal nature of this world holds nothing back. The story begins a little confusing, but as more past moments are revealed, the reader becomes more and more unable to put down this novel.
At the beginning, the virus side effects were shockingly disgusting, but still fascinating enough to continue reading the novel. Since the book is fairly long, one would expect it to take a couple of days to finish, but that was certainly not the case. Each chapter seemed to warrant a new twist of its own.
The story was well researched. The science aspects are described in depth, focusing on genetics. One can certainly tell Suvada has a background in science and understand genetics.
The book is both science fiction as well as futuristic, it also contains many plot twists. Some of the plot aspects were not completely original, but most of the plot and setting were different from anything you’ve ever read. Sci-fi is definitely one of the best and hardest genres to create totally unique ideas, although this has definitely been done in this novel.
Her intricate genetic-centered universe and intriguing story deserves more praise. Sci-fi lovers are definitely going to love the self-discovery quest of Catarina in this fearsome world. For readers who love cutthroat, futuristic cultures combined with the ideas of romance, plot twists and friendship, this book is a must-read. Suvada’s second book in the series, “This Cruel Design,” is already available for readers.