Posted in Book Review, Books

This Mortal Coil (Book 1) – Emily Suvada

Title: This Mortal Coil

Author: Emily Suvada

Series: This Mortal Coil

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada was a series that took me by storm. Another gem I found while browsing my local Waterstones bookstore, it fit my need for dystopian YA Sci-Fi after Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa left me in a little bit of a slump. After reading Blood of Eden I found I needed two more things in my life; books with vicious plagues and kick-ass women leads.

This Mortal Coil did not disappoint.

With the recent release of This Vicious Cure, book 3 in the series, I felt that it was finally time to dive into the series. Plus, given the current climate of the world, I found that I just wanted a story about plagues, the end of humanity as we know it. Y’know, all the kind of light-hearted reading that I should be looking for in these dark times.

The story follows 17-year-old Catrina Agatta, a bad-ass hacker living in a world where people are implanted with technology with the ability to re-code their own DNA, changing their bodies in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. If you can think of it then there is an app for it. The possibilities of when genetech can achieve is limitless. Cat lived with her father and his assistant, Dax Crick, at a cabin hidden away from the rest of the world after the plague known as Hydra ravished the world.

Cat’s father, the legendary Lachlan Agatta, was taken by a monolithic organisation known as Cartaxus, along with Dax leaving Cat to survive alone for the last two years without knowledge of whether her family were dead or alive. She dedicates her time hacking for the Skies, a resistance movement working against Cartaxus, stealing medical code and releasing it freely to those who need it outside Cartaxus’ bunkers.

When a Cartaxus blackout agent comes looking for Cat, everything Cat thought she knew to be true is rapidly being brought into question. Her father has left her a breadcrumb trail that could lead them to a cure for Hydra. But time is ticking, the virus is evolving, and Cat has to work with the an agent of an organisation she promised her father she would stay away from.

Cat is a great female lead. Really, I love her character. She is an independent, kick-ass heroine that proves that not only is she an accomplished hacker and coder but it also headstrong and intelligent as hell. I enjoyed following her story. However, I don’t enjoy martyrdom of lead characters because you know that nothing will really come of them because they are the lead character so and their death would ultimately lead to the ending of the book so a bit of a pointless venture which definitely didn’t suit Cat’s character. I wish there was a little more to the ‘Agatta Legacy’ because it was a darker side to a family history and understanding Cat and her father a little bit more. It helped in building Cat’s identity a lot more and it was great to see her character develop and move from being ‘Lachlan’s daughter’ and becoming her own independant person.

“There’s no such thing quite as dangerous as an Agatta’s best intentions.”

The romantic interests, however, did feel a bit forced and unnecessary in places. The whole aspect of a love interest could have been completely removed and it wouldn’t really have impacted the story all that much. Of course, there are places where the budding relationship between Cat and Cole is important, especially in relation to Cole’s in-built blackout programming. But the potential of Cat and Dax was unnecessary and I kind of waned to meet Ben Jui because she was described as being vicious and I like that.

I do really like Cole though. It is often the female characters that are given the trait of the lost love but not here. Plus, Cole has really heavy backstory that just breaks your heart because who could do such awful things to children?

One thing that I was SUPER impressed with was how detailed and accurate all the talk of genetics seemed to b. Maybe it wasn’t very accurate but for a Sci-Fi story, the science behind the coding and the panels flowed so seamlessly that I almost felt like I understood these concepts. And the way that the story and world-building seems so true to humans basal instincts was just…. Whoa… Chilling. The concept of scientific ethics is there, the right and wrong of human testing and that in the face of human extinction, we would blur those lines to save ourselves.

“There’s no such thing as right anymore – that ended when the plaque hit. Sometimes we need to do awful things to stop worse things from happening… this is war, and the rules have changed.”

The world building is good. The concept of the plague is gruesome and unique. Like cannibalism for limited immunity to the virus? Gross but also a really unique detail in the story.

It is fast-paced and exciting, especially in the beginning of the book. But, all in, the plot isn’t the strongest and there is a little predictability to the story but it’s really okay because I feel like it picks up enough in other places to make up for it. Well, that is until PLOT TWIST. Definitely wasn’t expecting THAT. It more than made up for any lax points in the plot for me, that’s for damn sure.

I would give the book a 4 out of 5 rating. I did really enjoy the book even though there were a few points that were a little weak. Excellent, enrapturing book to kick of a series. I hope that the rest of the series follows suit.
The physical copies of the books are fantastic to look at, definitely a series for the shelves, as they are bold in a way that a lot of book covers don’t like to be. I enjoy the colours and, more importantly, I love the page edging.

Also while writing this I found out about the FREE Ebook These Precious Scars which is a prequel to the series (book 0.5 if you will) so I am buzzing to get stuck in about that. It is free to download from Amazon for Kindle. It is also available as an added short at the end of some paperback editions of This Cruel Design, so stay tuned for that lovely little add on!

Up next I’ll be looking at This Cruel Design, book 2 in the series.

Until next time.

These Precious Scars (Book 0.5)

This Mortal Coil (Book 1)

This Cruel Design (Book 2)

This Vicious Cure (Book 3)


"We live and breathe words." I'm Louise and this is my place for all things bookish. Here is a place for reviews and recommendations and discussion. Send me any book recommendations for reviews.