Emily Suvada’s debut novel This Mortal Coil unleashes upon young readers a world of science and fantasy, combined perfectly to teach them wondrous things about their world, simultaneously allowing them to enter a whole new one.
An enchanting, dystopian story for ages 12+, This Mortal Coil follows Caterina Agatta, whose technological know-how and volatile experiences yield a plot that will shock even the most intuitive of readers. The determination of the cast to persevere despite their seemingly impossible circumstances weaves a tale of hope and promise, providing an inspiring source of advice for young adults.
The tale begins in Caterina’s secluded valley in Black Hills, where she has remained ever since the apocalyptic events of the past few years. From speedy advancements in genetic mutation technology and the swift rise to power of huge corporations, it becomes clear that her reclusiveness is essential to her survival.
Despite her talented hacking skills and survivalist tendencies, Caterina can’t escape the horrible misery that has come from losing her father Lachlan, who was taken by force to work for monolithic company Catarxus. In his pursuit of a vaccine for the Hydra virus, it has plagued the Earth with infection and left their family separated from one another.
When Catarxus soldier Cole appears with bittersweet news about her father, Caterina is forced to reconsider who it is she can truly trust, and put her coding abilities to the test. Caterina and Cole join forces to investigate sly Catarxus forces and the truth of her father’s escapades, and in the process realise their fascination with each other.
Constant twists and turns lead the reader down a gripping path with an impressively plotted story dotted with simple, but realistic scientific explanations. Tales of gene mutation and DNA sequencing are woven throughout clever and emotional moments between the two characters, evoking a genre-defying sense of reality. Her simple descriptions of technological phenomenon build a world that feels imminent, without straying far from the familiar woes of teenage adventure.
This Mortal Coil engages young adults in the fantastical beauty and confronting potential of modern science. The relatable, but fiercely intelligent Caterina provides a determined female who is willing to put the needs of the world before her own, and in doing so, learn most importantly about her own strengths. With every chaotic episode they experience, Cat and Cole become stronger in their yearning for justice, and readers grow more deeply intertwined with this longing.
About the author:
Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.