Book Review: This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil is a dystopian novel.

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Book Review: This Mortal Coil

Mohss Elaine, Staff Writer

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Emily Suvada’s gripping novel details a world in which humans are genetically enhanced in order to survive. Every single human is paired with strands of DNA they weren’t born with, some for cosmetics, and some to survive. These stands are implanted like apps on a phone, only they mean life and death. Catarina, unlike many in her time, cannot use these codes. Catarina lives her life with outdated tech and old tactical weapons, and even then she has to sacrifice some part of her humanity in order to live. When Catarina’s life is put in grave danger, she has to find a new way to keep herself, and her coding, safe.


Catarina’s life is surrounded by the threat of death and disease. Despite constant technological advancements, pathogens and bacteria are developing to the new genetic coding, threatening to kill everyone who can’t afford to withstand a life-threatening plague. Catarina Agatta is one of the few, if not only, people who cannot have these implants, as they make her deathly sick. The irony is at its best in this novel, as the smartest genetic codes are built by Catarina’s own father, a distinguished geneticist.


With threats from the government to take away her codes, her father, and her life’s work, she is forced to enlist the help of many who are running from the government. Catarina’s life depends on the help of a “Black out” soldier named Cole, who was enlisted to take Catarina straight into the government’s hands. Secrets are learned, bonds are created, and sooner rather than later, Catarina has found the start of a universal cure. The only problem is she doesn’t know how to decipher it. The answer could be hidden in plain sight, or hidden deep within codes upon codes in any living thing. The code is hidden within the form of a poem. For all Catarina knows, it may not even work.


As the stakes get higher, the pressure to find the cure is at its worst, and people seem to not only be dying at a rapid pace, but the government has promised to keep citizens “safe” by taking their healing technology, and placing them in what seem to be like fallout shelters, keeping them locked away with no rights.


Catarina is forced to put her life, and the life of everyone else she knows, at risk to save them, from running from the technologically advanced government to simply finding the will to survive. Catarina’s decisions will weigh life and death right in front of her, and it’s up to her to save everything she knows before time and tech run out. Can she decipher the poem in time before the next wave of disease hits?


The boom of dystopian fiction has led to literary masterpieces, and Emily Suvada’s novel is no exception. She has taken real world events, biological order, and life-threatening plague into effect and spun them on their heads. If a reader is willing to stomach the threat of complete government control, a reigning plague, genetic alteration, and people literally blowing up, the reader can withstand the literary tidal wave that is This Mortal Coil.


Emily Suvada is no newcomer to the world of science, as a scientist herself. After her studies in mathematics, data sciences, and astrophysics, she decided to write her outstanding novel. While still interested in scientific experimentation and writing algorithms, she is a lively person who continues to build her imaginary worlds greater than before.


The second book in this three-part series, This Cruel Design, is available on multiple sites for pre-order.

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