This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This Mortal Coil

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...

Title:This Mortal Coil
Author:
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Edition Language:English

This Mortal Coil Reviews

  • Caitlin

    this was much better than I expected (sorry for saying nothing else about this book but I currently have no power and shitty reception and an injured dog so that’s all for now)

  • ☙ percy ❧

    ((2.5 stars, rounded up for THAT plot twist))

    hoo boy this is going to be a bitch of a review to write. i don't think i've ever been so conflicted about a book in a while.

    i'll start with the stuff i liked first. the plot and the concept was

    there have been no shortage of apocalyptic plagues in speculative fiction, but both the concept of the virus itself and the circumstances surrounding it were extremely original. i mean, bodies exploding and floating around in a giant Death Cloud??

    ((2.5 stars, rounded up for THAT plot twist))

    hoo boy this is going to be a bitch of a review to write. i don't think i've ever been so conflicted about a book in a while.

    i'll start with the stuff i liked first. the plot and the concept was

    there have been no shortage of apocalyptic plagues in speculative fiction, but both the concept of the virus itself and the circumstances surrounding it were extremely original. i mean, bodies exploding and floating around in a giant Death Cloud??? that's the kind of macabre shit i can really get behind, man. there were also so many plot twists, and i wasn't expecting at least half of them.

    but then...

    there was so much potential, but it was just watered down by the writing and the characters. i mean, it should have tipped me off when the book opened with Unnecessary Bird Death (i love birds so if you kill them that's a huge fuckin black mark, my friend) and then the annoyances just multiplied from there.

    first off,

    yeah, i know. this is like, a mortal sin in YA literature in the year of our Lord 2017 and it ticks me off that the editor didn't go, "hey, you know, you don't need this #Drama with the old love interest, you can just have the new one. or, maybe, none at all, maybe just a strong platonic love because romantic love is not the be-all and end-all of human relationships"

    but romance is kind of, not my thing. i don't mind m/m and f/f relationships, simply because i'm a Huge Queer and i love seeing people like me in books, and that feeling of "YAS QUEERS" usually overrides my "ew romance" instinct. unfortunately, this was neither a gay relationship nor a particularly exciting and nuanced romantic relationship that i could get behind. because hey, i'm not like,

    , i like lots of m/f relationships, it's just my Bullshit Tolerance Level is always lower.

    and this, my friends.... was a lot of bullshit.

    i just don't see the point in having a romantic relationship when a platonic relationship would do just fine. and why the HELL do boys smell so nice in YA books. sweat doesn't smell nice, it smells like gorillas, mkay?

    it was kind-of instalove-y. not

    , but it was nearly there tbh. i didn't feel a lot of chemistry between them, and the characters themselves just seemed pretty flat to me. like i said in one of my updates, cat did not seem particularly genius-like most of the time, but rather naive, and cole was like a lovesick, less-cool version of bucky barnes. and dax, the Old Love Interest who reappears, was POINTLESS. i mean come on, why???

    the writing was also lacklustre. first-person present isn't my favourite tense and perspective, and i think it's becoming a bit overused. i suppose it worked to some extent, as that POV is best for an action/suspense filled narrative and there was quite a lot of that going on, but it seemed too simplistic at times, despite the massive Plot Twist Bombshells that were being dropped left right and centre towards the end.

    overall: this was an excellent concept, but was ruined by a messy execution and pointless romance. this has a pretty high rating overall though, so if you like romance in your books you'll probably like this a lot. but if you don't, be warned.

    ------------------

    pre review:

    idk if this is going to be good but the title is a reference to both shakespeare and a gothic rock band, and it contains a plague a.k.a. my fave sci-fi/fantasy/etc. trope, so hell yea i'm fuckin reading this

  • emi

    Who is this cover and where can I marry it????

  • Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 4.5 stars.

    I have read a slew of post-apocalyptic novels in which a deadly virus has wreaked havoc and culled the majority of our species. What ordinarily happens is that a portion of humanity devolves into zombie-like creatures, another into opportunistic gangs, and a lone few are left to somehow save the world. That is exactly what this novel does. But where as many of the other titles I have read perform to their stereotypes and deviate little from this generic outline, this mana

    Actual rating 4.5 stars.

    I have read a slew of post-apocalyptic novels in which a deadly virus has wreaked havoc and culled the majority of our species. What ordinarily happens is that a portion of humanity devolves into zombie-like creatures, another into opportunistic gangs, and a lone few are left to somehow save the world. That is exactly what this novel does. But where as many of the other titles I have read perform to their stereotypes and deviate little from this generic outline, this managed to deliver something different.

    Whilst I have read the basic premise for this novel before, Suvada managed to make it appear fresh. And she does that by making it feel believable. The scientific whys and hows to this novel are explored from every angle. Instead of just allowing an unexplained and unknowable phenomenon to befall us, an understandable and functioning explanation is provided. The reader is given an authentic-feeling insight into computer coding, DNA sequencing, and gene mutating. Now I know little about any of these things so maybe someone with a background in these topics would be able to call bullshit, but to the uninitiated this felt like a very real exploration of the potential future of our species.

    In addition to this authenticity were the characters, I initially feared the dreaded insta-love trope was once again going to rear its ugly head, but this, fortunately, managed to remain trope free! Each of the characters felt like well-rounded and real individuals and so I believed in each of the chaotic episodes they found themselves in.

    Whilst I enjoyed every portion of this novel, the ending was its phenomenal crowning glory. Twist after twist mutated the plot until it was unrecognisable from its original conception and transformed into something truly unforgettable. If I wasn't sold by the rest of it, this ending would keep me reading an eternity's worth of instalments in this series. So with that said, when is the next one due?

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Emily Suvada, and the publisher, Penguin, for this opportunity.

  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 stars.

    If your father was responsible for the apocalypse would you try to set it right? That's the dilemma Catarina faces when a mysterious man shows up at her cabin after a virus wiped out most of humanity, and drove the rest underground, two years ago. But there's more to Cole than meets the eye - genetically enhanced to protect, he arrives to guide Catarina towards the cure they've all been searching for, and she's the key.

    The

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 stars.

    If your father was responsible for the apocalypse would you try to set it right? That's the dilemma Catarina faces when a mysterious man shows up at her cabin after a virus wiped out most of humanity, and drove the rest underground, two years ago. But there's more to Cole than meets the eye - genetically enhanced to protect, he arrives to guide Catarina towards the cure they've all been searching for, and she's the key.

    The writing for this was wonderfully descriptive, and the overall plot and pacing was good. I never felt bored, or feel the need to skip text to get into the action - the action was pretty much continuous, and I didn't want to stop reading.The world building is also done well, and fully explores the world in which the characters inhabit. However a downside to this was that I wanted to send more time with Catarina on her own in the world, especially when we first meet her. More time spent exploring the horrors that the people left behind must face, and the sacrifices they make, would have helped to better understand the virus itself, and why everyone is so afraid of it. I feel I could have understood the former Neurosurgeon and his family more, and perhaps had more sympathy for them, if I had a better understand of what they'd been through. As it was, I just really wanted Catarina to punish them, and I felt a little let down by her actions.

    Aside from this, I liked Catarina as a main character. She's intelligent yet insecure about her abilities, brave yet still reckless and foolhardy. I would have liked to have seen her portrayed in the eyes of the other main characters as someone who can look after themselves though. Too often I've seen these YA protagonists portrayed as fragile young women who need protecting. I want more badass female characters who don't need wrapping up in cotton wool. However, that said I did enjoy her early interactions with Cole, and the playful too-ing and fro-ing of their relationship with some obvious chemistry. This later evolved into something a little forced in my opinion, and it lost the early charm that the author had managed to develop as soon as their feelings progressed.

    I would have liked to have seen more interaction with Agnes, her friend first introduced early on. She's quickly dropped as soon as Cole arrives, and barely mentioned again aside from a few offhand comments about her comms link. It felt a bit like she had served her purpose to the early plot, and was quickly left without any further thought until near the end.

    However, I did like the moral ambiguity that we see with all the characters throughout the novel, especially with Catarina's father Lachlan. Often the characters are put into morally questionable situations and must decide what course to take. Questions such as: to save millions, is it ok to let a few suffer? What would you do to survive?

    The most unique aspect of this book was the inclusion of DNA and technology as the driving factor behind the virus, and humanities growing reliance on it to maintain all aspects of their life. Genetically modified food which tastes like nothing unless an app is downloaded. Apps that allow a person to alter their sight, make them fast, strong. Although sometimes the jargon got in the way of the story at times, I appreciated it for the unique quality it brought to the text.

    The ending left me feeling a little bit left down. Not giving anything away, I had very mixed feelings with regards to how the novel developed and I felt I invested a lot of my time in a character that ultimately turned into something else entirely. I thought it was a little bit like taking the easy way out.

    That said, this is still a decent science fiction YA novel, and I'd read the sequel.

  • Sabrina

    Checkout my full review + giveaway (ends 11/12) on my blog!

    THIS BOOK! In my opinion this should be required reading for science classes because the science level in this book is beyond from what I've seen in any YA book. It's amazing. The cast of characters are so unique in each way. Cat and Cole seem to come from different worlds but they have so many similarities And the reader "thinks" they know what's going on but in reality there are so many twists a

    Checkout my full review + giveaway (ends 11/12) on my blog!

    THIS BOOK! In my opinion this should be required reading for science classes because the science level in this book is beyond from what I've seen in any YA book. It's amazing. The cast of characters are so unique in each way. Cat and Cole seem to come from different worlds but they have so many similarities And the reader "thinks" they know what's going on but in reality there are so many twists and turns that are so unexpected. I was left on the edge of my seat. This Mortal Coil is one of my favorite books in 2017 and maybe one of my favorite books ever. I love the complexity and the science behind it. I'm so glad I found this book and I wait eagerly for book 2.

  • Jill

    I finished this book a while ago and totally forgot to write a review for it OOPS ITS FINE

    Basically, this book was beyond fun and sooOoOO interesting guys. It gave me slight The Darkest Minds vibes and I’m not really sure why it just did xD it’s like a sci-fi tech version of The Darkest Minds.

    I just had a few problems with the characters and the plot was a bitttt slow at some points. But, overall, it certainly kept me reading and entertained!

  • Paromjit

    Emily Suvada has written a brilliant dystopian science fiction thriller set in a future where humanity is threatened by a deadly plague that has people exploding into toxic Hydra clouds. Catarina Agatta is a talented hacker, 'bobcat', working with The Skies resistance movement against the monolithic Cartaxus Corporation. She is the daughter of the most able scientist in the country, Dr Lachlan Agatta, working on a solution to the plague. He and his assistant, Dax, were forcibly taken by Cartaxus

    Emily Suvada has written a brilliant dystopian science fiction thriller set in a future where humanity is threatened by a deadly plague that has people exploding into toxic Hydra clouds. Catarina Agatta is a talented hacker, 'bobcat', working with The Skies resistance movement against the monolithic Cartaxus Corporation. She is the daughter of the most able scientist in the country, Dr Lachlan Agatta, working on a solution to the plague. He and his assistant, Dax, were forcibly taken by Cartaxus,, to work for them two years ago. Before he was taken, he drummed it into Catarina that she must never trust or have anything to do with Cartaxus. However, a Cartaxus soldier, Lieutenant Cole Franklin, now seeks her out, under the radar, to inform her of the death of Lachlan, and that he succeeded in developing a vaccine. Cole is implanted with the latest technology, including the vaccine, but the coding is beyond them, the only way they can save the world is by working together and making their way to a Canadian Laboratory.

    Suvada creates an intricate and complex post-apocalyptic world where people can be implanted with technology to recode their DNA, to potentially become whatever they want to be. Healing Apps are in everyday use, and the scientific explanations, given in some detail, are clear and easily understandable. Cat is not certain she can trust Cole, but it soon becomes clear that her father has coded him so that he will protect Cat as his most overriding mission. As Cat and Cole endeavour to reach the Canadian Lab, they face betrayal from every corner and nothing is as it seems. Cat is astonished to discover that a Cartaxus bunker is nothing like what she expected it to be. Cat's journey leads her to discover that there is much more to her than she was ever aware of. This leads to momentous world shifts as Cat is forced to rearrange her realities. In the meantime, Cat and Cole's relationship assumes a chemistry and importance that neither see coming.

    This is an atmospheric and gripping story that you cannot stop reading until you reach the climactic end. There is clearly more to come in this story as the issues are not resolved. Suvada has taken established science fiction tropes and given them an original spin in this novel. The narrative is imaginative, has considerable depth, and the story is impressively plotted. The characters grab your interest, are well developed, and nuanced. Cat is tough, vulnerable and courageous, willing to put the interests of the world above her own. I have no doubt that this is a book that is going to do well, and quite frankly it deserves to do so. A fantastic and absorbing read that I highly recommend. Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.

  • Cait (Paper Fury)

    I read a

    of books. More than, like, five okay, so this literally felt like a remix of a ton of other sci-fis to the point where I was actually giggling because it was so obvious to me what would happen. HOWEVER. That could be just

    , considering...ya know. My voracious book appetite.

    that I really am quite peeved right now. Because the cover IS great. The cover is exactly what happens when I drop a piece of strawberry jam

    I read a

    of books. More than, like, five okay, so this literally felt like a remix of a ton of other sci-fis to the point where I was actually giggling because it was so obvious to me what would happen. HOWEVER. That could be just

    , considering...ya know. My voracious book appetite.

    that I really am quite peeved right now. Because the cover IS great. The cover is exactly what happens when I drop a piece of strawberry jam toast on my face too.

    I have this huge fear of books over 400 pages. And when it takes

    I know my fear is founded, unlike, say...my fear of cheeseless pizza. I mean I've never been subjected to that so it's probably an irrational fear. But my fear of 400+ page books is just CEMENTED here because this waffled on and on and just wooooow. No.

    It's like Xmen but without the X and not many men. More like angsty teenagers. (But hey I love angsty teenagers, so well done them.) I also LOVED the twist that to cure the virus, you had to EAT the people with the virus. Zombie reversal?!? <-- that's inspired.

    Also gross ew.

    Just give me a second...nope. Give me an hour. LOOK I'M TRYING. She was a Special Snowflake™ from the start, just by being introduced as this genius scientists daughter who is really clever with coding etc. etc. And then it just got progressively

    in leu of her actually showing a bit of personality. (OK SHE LIKED WAFFLES SO THAT'S A PERSONALITY I GUESS.)

    But she's like:

    "I'm allergic to all the modern tech!"

    Me: sure

    "My dad is a super good and wholesome genius who would never work for the evil company!"

    Me: right

    "My dad tortured small children to turn them into super soldiers. But he loves me!"

    Me: r u sure m8

    "I am the key to everything."

    Me: of course you are

    I had the whole book predicted by page, like, 2. (Or maybe I just read too much.) But it was like

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ,

    , and

    . Dude, I'm not kidding. I have read the plot THAT MANY TIMES. God, I need a new hobby. Waffle making perhaps.

    For starters we meet SuperSoldier Cole who is in love with another girl and Catarina has a "thing" with her dad's lab partner, Dex, (not...creepy...at all) but OF COURSE THEY WILL EMOTIONALLY CHEAT AND IT'S OK BECAUSE THE WORLD IS ENDING.

    Mate. Would you sit down. Look it's great when a guy saves a girl and a girl saves a guy. If this didn't happen the world would have much less people in it. (HEY WAIT THAT'S A GREAT IDEA---excuse me) But it was really tedious how Cat couldn't

    anything because Cole was all over her. He was sweet! I did like how sweet he was! But he also needed to sit down.

    The book goes into a LOT of detail about sciencey stuff and DNA and yes. I just said "sciencey" so you know this is not my league.

    It seemed very detailed, although I haven't a frikkin' clue how it holds up. ANYWAY.

    How the heck do you run on an app. I just don't get it. I DO NOT. Except it makes the joke "hey are you tired? we've got a nap app for that" a lot more funnier haha. Excuse me.

    We are all cyborgs in the future.

    I'm going to go eat a lot of potato chips and be glad I live in 2017 <--- SOMETHING I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SAY WOW.

    Someone check my gentech wifi since the

    is down ahah hahha. Ok yes that was a terrible joke. I should go.

    It's also VERY low on the romance so if that's your thing, yaaaa this book likes you. And hey there's gunfire and explosions! Good stuff! I also appreciated that they remembered to eat, like, once the entire book.

    Dangggg I need some potato chips.

    Yes I'm going now. If you enjoy this book: I'm really happy!! I hope you do!! I need to stop reading sci-fi because it doesn't often work for me!!

  • Amber Robertson

    Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

    R A M B L E

    I went into this book with some low expectations. I’m not exactly sure why. I had requested it from Penguin a few months prior and had been really excited, but by the time I received it I was a little apprehensive. I’m not sure if it was just because I wasn’t in the mood for a dystopian or what but I decided to pack it when I was visiting my friend, partially b

    Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

    R A M B L E

    I went into this book with some low expectations. I’m not exactly sure why. I had requested it from Penguin a few months prior and had been really excited, but by the time I received it I was a little apprehensive. I’m not sure if it was just because I wasn’t in the mood for a dystopian or what but I decided to pack it when I was visiting my friend, partially because I wanted to read it and so did she (she later bought the book anyway).

    This Mortal Coil is good. Like, amazingly good. I truly didn’t know what I expected but it wasn’t this. The fact this book is a debut shocks me as well. It reads like an author who has been writing for years. Truly. There were some cliché lines throughout, but honestly those lines don’t bother me like they bother so many in the book community. I believe the ‘I let out a breathe I didn’t know I was holding’ line is used but, guys, I’ve actually let out a breathe I didn’t know I was holding so I don’t give two shits about that line in the slightest.

    The only reason I didn’t give This Mortal Coil a full five stars is purely for the weird romance featured throughout. I’m incredibly picky with my romances in books though, and most of the time I don’t enjoy them as much as my friends. Also, I had a bit of confusion with all the scientist lingo and coding language. This could have been something I missed while reading and left me confused later on, but I nonetheless I enjoyed this book immensely.

    Furthermore, the author of this book is Australian. I love supporting fellow Aussies in the publishing world since I feel I don’t do it enough. So, when I found out Emily Suvada was a fellow girl from Aus I was pretty stoked.

    P L O T

    This Mortal Coil is a complex dystopian that focuses on the me vs. you that so many of us have. In this world, there is no cure for a virus besides eating the flesh of the infected. Resources are dwindling away and friendships no longer matter in the circumstances of life. Especially since Cat’s father told her not to trust the very people who took him and have been trying to create a cure.

    The plot was incredibly interesting to me. I was completely absorbed and unable to look away. It barely mattered that I was staying with my friend because I finished this book in two days. It was amazing.

    The author includes so many jaw-dropping moments in the 400 pages that truly leave you wanting more of her writing and world building.

    C H A R A C T E R S

    For this section, I’m only going to talk about the main character very briefly. I don’t want to give too much away within the book by talking about all the characters of importance and relevance to the story. I really feel Cat is truly the most important character, as well, especially with how this book ends.

    #C A T A R I N A

    I’m not too familiar with hacking or coding. Which may be why I stay very far away from dystopian and science fiction novels. Terminology is lost on me and I truly am just stumped. However, Catarina was the perfect main character. Sure, some parts were a tad confusing for me (but seriously, I know nothing about tech) but I really feel like each component was explained in a way that the most clueless person (me) could understand what was happening.

    In terms of Cat as a character, she was incredible. I personally found her wholly unique and unlike any other character, I have personally read about. I absolutely adore discovering characters like that too, ones that are so unlike others. Cat had fear, she had distress and she had moxie (to reference one of my favourite books).

    O V E R A L L

    I’m incredibly excited to read more of Emily Suvada’s work. This Mortal Coil definitely hits straight into my favourite books of the year. It also hits one of the prettiest books I own because the pages on the UK/AUS version is gorgeous!

    I also apologise since this isn’t my best review, I’m a bit out of sorts since it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written and I’m playing catch up on the few books I read. I hope that isn’t too much of a problem!

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