Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada 
Release Date: November 27, 2017 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian 
Source: Library 
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In this gripping debut novel, seventeen-year-old Cat must use her gene-hacking skills to decode her late father’s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague.

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?

Books with lots of hype worry me. Why? Because I don't want to be that one person who doesn't see the greatness. So even though I've been dying to read Emily Suvada's This Mortal Coil since the moment I first heard about it, I've been putting it off; however, a couple of weeks I decided to get over my worries and order a copy. As it turns out, I'm so glad I did, because now that I've read this book all I can think is: "Why did I wait so long to read it?!" and also "WHAT?! NO! I NEED MORE!?" but I'll get to that portion later on. 

This Mortal Coil is a very smart book. It's easy to tell that Emily knew what she was talking about it, and more importantly, she does a great job of conveying the science behind the virus and its implications. I have a chemistry degree so I was already familiar with the majority of science she talked about it; however, even if I didn't have that background, I would have had an easy time digesting it. Better yet, even though this book was incredibly science based, it didn't read like a textbook; instead, she perfectly intertwined the science into the characters, romance, and action, leaving me a very happy reader. Basically, this book shows that science can be so COOL, and as a science nerd/lover, this made me so incredibly happy - my heart was rapidly beating from the excitement of it all! 

Catarina, the main character, was easy to like. She was strong as well as talented and always willing to go the extra yard to help the people she loved and valued the most. When the story first begins, she's in a bad place. Living on her own has only gotten harder since her father's disappearance. She's running out of food and supplies and the virus is closing in her more and more as the days continue. Because of this, she trusts almost no one. She's been taught to believe that no one, especially Cartaxus, can help her.

As the book progresses, though, she begins to open up and starts to question and ponder the things she knew about her father, the supposed truths he told her to live by, and her world is torn upside down. I felt bad for Catarina. It's bad enough to loose a loved one, but to loose a loved one and then learn some shady stuff about them? Even worse. I thought Catarina did a great job of weighing both sides to the story - she was never quick to jump to a conclusion. I also liked that she learned to stand on her own in this. Yes, she was strong when the book began, but she got even stronger and grew confidence in her smarts and talents. 

The Mortal Coil also introduces Cole, Catarina's love interest and protector. Sexy, strong, and mysterious, Cole's the kind of boy I love in a dystopian type novel. I especially enjoyed that Catarina's influence and eventual friendship humanized him to a point. At first, he was so cold and aloof, but by the end, he was the kind of guy you'd want on your side no matter what. Also, Catarina and Cole were an unstoppable force. Most of the book only involved them and their adventures, and honestly, I could read about those all day. Seriously, book boyfriend right here, ladies and gentlemen! 

The plot described in two words? Action packed! Honestly, I don't think there was one time where this book lagged or made me feel bored. The twists and turns kept me on my toes, and while some of them seemed slightly out there, I could deal.  

My only compliant? The sort-of love triangle that occurred. In The Mortal Coil, we're presented with two boys: Cole and Dax. I've already talked about Cole above so I won't go into anymore about him other than to say: team Cole all the way. Dax, on the other hand, is the best friend/young teenage crush. When the story begins, Catarina hasn't seen him for two years, as he was taken away with her father, but she's been pinning about him to a certain degree. We're introduced to him in an flashback scene, and at that point, I mostly liked what I saw - he was a tad bit arrogant but him and Catarina had some good chemistry. Then flash forward to the point where he's eventually introduced in present times, and gosh is he now such an arrogant piece of work. I couldn't stand him, and I just wished he would go away. He treated Catarina like dirt so all I can say is please don't let the tables turn in the future - let him stay a forgotten crush and a current annoyance. 

In all, This Mortal Coil is smart, fresh, and fast paced. Despite its large size (over 400 pages), I raced through it in one sitting. Simply put, The Mortal Coil is reminiscent of The Hunger Games just with an extra large helping of mad scientists and DNA. 

5 stars!! 


  1. I love the sound of everything in this book other than the love triangle! Cole sounds amazing though as does the rest of the characters and the book in general. I'll have to give it a try.

  2. Love triangles are annoying, but I do love the sound of the action and the characters! I also love this cover.

    Happy you enjoyed it, Lauren! I need to give it a go, I think.

  3. It's great that you loved this one! I did as well. :) If you are interested, the sequel is available on NetGalley. I don't know if you like NG or request e-galleys, but I thought I'd let you know! I also didn't like the love triangle that much, but I would be surprised if that came up in the second book.


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