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Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #1)

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This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada // VBC ReviewThis Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1)
Emily Suvada
Published: Nov. 7, 2017 (Simon Pulse)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased 

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Cat is a hacker—but she doesn’t just hack computers. She hacks genes, people’s DNA. Most people have been implanted with machines that control apps, and the apps control people’s features. Want a tail? Grow one. Want different color eyes? Change them. But then, along comes a virus—it spreads by causing its host to explode, spreading far and wide in a cloud. People either give up all non-approved apps (many of which are life-saving) to go live in shelters run by a large corporation, or they live on the surface and take their chances with the virus.

Cat is one of the latter. Her father, the world’s best geneticist, was taken by the corporation to try and create a vaccine to the virus. He hid her and warned her to never be taken—to live on the surface and hide. Then she is tracked down by an app-ed up soldier sent by her father, and Cat’s life—and everything she believed–will be changed.

I was absolutely blown away (no pun intended) by this book. I was lucky enough to meet the author on the day it was released, and I was already curious—so I took home a copy of the book. I pretty much didn’t put it down until I was done. The world and character building are excellent, and the science that is such a huge part of the story is blended so even a layman like me can make sense of it.

Cat is a strong girl, who has been living on her own since her father was taken. She does what she has to in order to survive, which for those living on the surface, means getting immunity from the virus by eating those who have it. Not a pleasant existence, but one that is vital to her survival away from the corporation. The solder who finds her, Cole, is also much more than he seems. There are more characters, but those are the two most central—though all of them feel human to the reader in the best way. Relatable, even when so much of their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses may not be “normal” in our current lives. Even those who may not have been “good” people were written in such a way that they are not just textbook “evil”—they had motivations that may have seemed important to them, but may have hurt others in the process. For a debut novel, these characters really shine. They are just as complex as we in the real world are.

The setting is not really much different than what any of us may see looking out the window. Granted, much of the world has changed somewhat on the surface, but those changes are subtler, based on how humans have had to adapt to the virus’ presence when they live on the surface. The descriptions of the bunker and the towns are excellent, and I really felt like I would know them if I saw them.

One of the best parts for me was the integration of the science component. Suvada has a gift for incorporating her love of science and math into the storyline without it feeling heavy-handed or over-the-top confusing. I rarely (as in, almost never) compare authors or books, because most of the time it just doesn’t make sense. In this case, however, This Mortal Coil utilizes science in just as excellent a way as The Martian did. Very different science, to be sure. However, it works and makes the book so much more terrifying in the thought that this might one day be real.

I am quite impressed by this book, and the fact that it is a debut novel just makes it even better. I have very few authors that I put on “auto-pilot purchase,” meaning I get the next book without even really knowing a lot about it. I can honestly say that the next book in this series will be such a purchase, as I can’t wait to see what happens with the revelations that Cat uncovers.

Sexual content: none

One Response to “Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #1)”

  1. Shannon says:

    Great review! Added book to my TBR list.

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