This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
From Goodreads: 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?
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve heard a lot of hype about This Mortal Coil on book blogging sites, and I knew it would appear in quite a few subscription boxes, so I was quite keen to check out what all of the fuss was about. Essentially, it is about a hacker who discovers that her father, a genius taken hostage by a government company called Cartaxus, has died in a mysterious lab explosion just after discovering the cure for a plague which rolls in like a mist and destroys the people it touches, turning them into raging monsters.
I liked the idea that the main character, Catarina, has a very quick and intelligent mind, but she also has a disease which prevents her from being able to use a panel [the gene-altering machinery inside each person] to do anything but the most simplistic tasks. Considering how many ‘chosen one’ books exist out there, this was quite refreshing, and it definitely was a limiting factor throughout the book, becoming a serious obstacle on several occasions. Cararina was a very interesting character, funny and with a voice that I found both easy to read and amusing. She also had many important traits needed for a hero, but she did also have a humane touch, which I really liked.
The other characters though, hmmm. I didn’t dislike them, but I didn’t like them much either. I cared about Cole a little, but only because he was there so often. He didn’t seem all that different from a hundred other YA males I’ve encountered in books, and the whole I’ve-been-programmed-to-protect-you thing got old reeeaaally fast. Even though there were some interesting moments where this turned into a double-edged sword, I’m totally over the over-protective male trope.
The other thing I found a bit off-putting were the twists towards the end. I’m not giving anything away, since I’m trying to be spoiler free, but I felt almost as though it were a novel of two halves. I liked the first, but the second seemed determined to throw as many plot twists at me as physically possible without really taking too much time to explain them. One, one I could deal with. Maybe two. Definitely, by the time we hit number three, I’m ready for a breather. Also, they don’t make a whole lot of sense? They seem to be there for the sake of tension and impact, and I just couldn’t get away with it. It was a shame, because the first half of the book was so good, and I did enjoy this, but I just felt a bit underwhelmed at the end.
I’d give it 5/10 stars, and I’m glad I got a chance to read it, but I probably won’t be buying the sequel when it’s released.