This Mor­Tal Coil

SFX - - Reviews - Dave Golder

re­leased OUT NOW! 450 pages | Paper­back/ebook

Au­thor emily suvada Pub­lisher Pen­guin Books A post-apoc­a­lyp­tic fu­ture rav­aged by a virus that makes peo­ple ex­plode – great con­cept, right? But that’s only the start of This Mor­tal Coil. 400 pages later and Emily Suvada’s de­but novel has thrown in ev­ery­thing from ge­netic en­gi­neer­ing, mad sci­en­tists, sub­ter­ranean so­ci­eties and con­spir­acy the­o­ries to su­per teens, body hack­ing, un­cle Tom Cob­ley and the kitchen sink.

The story is nar­rated by teenager Cata­rina Agatta, a sur­face-dwelling hacker ex­traor­di­naire. When not avoid­ing the poi­sonous clouds cre­ated by ex­plod­ing In­fected, she fights evil cor­po­ra­tion Car­taxus. Most peo­ple live in virus-free bunkers run by Car­taxus, hav­ing given up their right to have non-li­censed soft­ware in their gene-hack­ing cy­ber-im­plants. Cata­rina’s dad, Lach­lan, is a bril­liant sci­en­tist kid­napped by Car­taxus and forced to work for them. But it seems he’s left a vi­tal clue to the cure for the virus in Cata­rina’s genes.

A fast-paced, unashamed page-turner, This Mor­tal Coil is pop­ping with great ideas and en­ter­tain­ing set-pieces, but they’re all fight­ing for space, and there are so many twists that rev­e­la­tion fa­tigue sets in And Cata­rina spends the en­tire novel bleed­ing from so many in­juries that you feel like a voyeur at an S&M club.

It’s cer­tainly a fun read, but it could eas­ily have been three dif­fer­ent – less crammed – nov­els.

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