Today I’m going to do a little double review for the first and second books in the Mortal Coil series by Emily Suvada. I originally picked up This Mortal Coil, the first book in the series, on a whim. As some of you might remember, I live in Washington state, USA, but close to Portland, Oregon. I was innocently browsing Barnes and Noble aisles one day when I struck up a conversation with one of the employees. We discussed some of her favorite books at the time (and added a few to my TBR, as well) and she also told me that an author has dropped into the store the day before. That author was Emily Suvada, who is originally from Australia but now lives in Portland. She had apparently gone into the store for her own shopping, had been excited to see her own book on the shelves, and had signed a few copies while telling the employees about it. Now, I’m a sucker for both an author that would be so adorable and for signed books. I immediately added it to my stack.
I read This Mortal Coil in two sittings, I believe. It would have been one, but adulting happens while we’re busing making other plans *sigh*. The story has all of the things I love in a novel. A strong heroine, to-die for covers, a dystopian future, wicked cool technology, a bit of cannibalism, daddy issues, and an evil overlord government that may or may not want to destroy humanity. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the cliché love triangle. But at least it was pretty mild, and really, what is a YA book without a love triangle, hmm?
The first novel introduces us to Cat, a girl trying to survive on her own when a virus outbreak is killing people left and right, while also trying to figure out how to save her dad from previously mentioned evil government, who kidnapped him so he can write a cure that saves everyone from this virus (btw he’s a genius geneticist). She’s also a badass hacker that specializes in DNA hacking. You see, in this future, people have technology panels implanted into their arms, which are their access to the internet and also allow them to mess with their natural state of being whenever they want. Hello, flawless skin and 6-pack abs of my dreams. But of course, it’s hard to enjoy that perfect skin when you’re running for your life from the infected like its the final-4 of the Hunger Games.
Our male protagonist is Cole, a rogue soldier that wants to help Cat save the world after word comes that her father has been killed. I liked Cole well enough. He was a bit typical brooding-dude at times, and a little macho “let me save you” at times, but he’s also trained for battle and stuff, so I get it. He’s the muscle and Cat is the brains. The addition of side character Lee, another soldier, really made me happy. And his relationship with Cat was fun to watch develop. The twists and turns of the story were exciting and unexpected, especially the final two surprise reveals. This book definitely showed me that not everything is what it seems and not everyone can be trusted. It was fast-paced, action-packed, clever, and left me on a steep cliff-hanger. I found myself questioning the identify of basically all the characters, and who could have been lying to Cat all along. Basically, it gave me trust issues. But in the best way. I couldn’t wait for the sequel.
Fast forward to this year, when This Cruel Design was released. I picked it up fairly quickly, but for some reason, I didn’t read it right away. Maybe I wasn’t in the right state of mind. A couple days ago, I was pondering the beautiful spine art, and decided, to hell with whatever else I was reading. It was time.
I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to pick it up! This is no sophomore slump. This Cruel Design picks up right were This Mortal Coil left off, right after a bombshell reveal and failed assassin attempt. We find Cat and her friends struggling with what to do next. There are many questions on the line that would involve spoilers, so I’ll be vague. The virus might still be in play, the daddy issues are very real, new enemies are creeping in, and Cat lost her coding panel. There also might be a few new romances blooming.
There was no loss of action in this sequel, and no fewer surprises either. I loved seeing the gang travel to a new city, Entropia, that is filled with coding innovators and isn’t under the government’s thumb. I’d have liked a few more scenes set in the city, building that piece of the world a bit more. I also really liked the new characters we meet along the way, Mato, Anna, and Regina. They both felt well-developed and mostly believable. The technology described in this book is both awesome and frightening. It feels close enough to reality that I can imagine humanity developing that type of tech, ethical issues and all. But it’s also just so cool. Like, I want a panel in my arm that gives me night vision and mermaid scales for skin. Hold the deadly virus, please. Even the continued touch of love triangle didn’t leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, because everything about this book just felt so refreshing. The trust issues continue, right up until the end. And some characters I thought I might have started to hate might not be so bad after all.
I flew through This Cruel Design and it definitely left me feeling two things: weirdly proud and wanting more. I’m so pumped for the release of the third book, for which we only have a title and release date, This Vicious Cure, out December 31st, 2019, according to Goodreads.
This has been a lengthy post, so thanks to everyone that is still here. Virtual hugs and cookies for everyone! In short, 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 to both of these books. They are a perfect mixture of dystopian and sci-fi and all-too-real life. I highly recommend them to anyone that likes science,, technology, strong female characters, a bit of diversity, a little gore, a splash of romance, and identity issues.
Thanks for reading!