Hello humans! Today’s review is for a book that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did. This Mortal Coil first came to my attention when I got a pin badge for the book in one of the Fairyloot crates – I can’t actually remember which one? So then when I was looking for a book to be my third in a three for two offer I thought I ought to give it a go. How did it turn out? You’ll have to read on!
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?
This book has such a good concept I could almost cry. I live with my husband – a computer scientist so coding and ‘hacking’ have become more of a part of my daily life than I ever thought they would. So the idea of gene hacking as a part of daily life was fascinating to me. I’m also here for disease based dystopia, most recently I’ve enjoyed Teri Terry’s books.
But this book is not just a human struggle for life against a disease, otherwise, it would basically just be a zombie novel and the market is pretty much saturated with those. In this book, a wider point is being made about the monopoly some companies hold on both software and pharmaceuticals and the dangers that hold poses for people in the future (and now). I loved the way this book talked about those issues and I think it’s a great way of encouraging young people to see the issues in the software and pharmaceutical industries.
On top of dealing with important issues, this book also has a wonderful plot. It’s fast-paced, action-packed and told through the eyes of complex and well thought-out characters. Catarina is a phenomenal character, her development throughout the book is something to behold and I can’t wait to read more of her in the sequel.
Is there romance? Why yes there is, and at times it does veer on the edge of being a love triangle. In my opinion, it’s well written and it feels natural (as natural as romance in these kinds of books ever feels).
This book got me excited about the setting/worldbuilding in a way that hasn’t happened for me in a science fiction novel for a while. The last time I enjoyed a book of this ilk this much was quite some time ago, it might even be the first time I read Illuminae. I’m not sure why I hadn’t managed to hear much about it beforehand? But if you like the idea of this tech/genetics world then you will certainly enjoy this book. It’s a good example of a book in which the setting is a strong concept but the plot is equally important. It twists and turns and it definitely managed to surprise me at times!
I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel to this series This Cruel Design and I look forward to reading it and reviewing it for you guys!
My rating: 5/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Have you read this or anything like it? Let me know in the comments below!