Blurb from Goodreads
Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.
Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?
God this book was such good trash. I was 100% living my best life reading it. I’m BESOTTED with the premise.
The book is set in some sort of future version of earth whereby we are all walking around with lumps of tech embedded into our arms that help us in all sorts of ways… from improving vision to allowing us to interface with VR. It can make us look pretty AF with all healthy, glowy skin cos it helps us to heal super quickly etc etc… basically you think of it then there’s an app for it.
So there’s this nasty virus known as Hydra that has infected earth and it’s rather unpleasant what with the whole infects you and then causes you to blow up….
HAHAHA when you realise what that pretty burst of red colour on the colour actually symbolises!!!!!! Prepare to wretch….. ONCE SEEN IT CAN NEVER BE UNSEEN!!!
ANYWAY!! Just before you blow up you get super antsy and basically wanna go around eating people… cheery little side effect that right?
So what’s a society to do…
Well when there’s a big old corporation involved it’s obviously create underground bunkers for people to live safely in BUT make it so that you have to give up any non-regulated tech which includes tech upgrades for people living with unsexy illnesses. You know the type, so rare that corporations couldn’t be bothered putting money into funding research to cure them. So basically if you’ve got someone in your family that is only able to be healthy thanks to unregulated tech then prepare to kiss them goodbye if y’all wanna live underground together….
So my point is society is divided.
You’ve got corporation Cartaxus living underground versus the rebel style Skies group living overground… but everyone wants a vaccine because people underground are scared and confined. And people overground are also scared and creepily have discovered the only way to create short term immunity from the virus is to eat the flesh of those infected…. IMMUNITY MEAT BALLS ANYONE?? (My friend Gabby came up with a bunch of hilariously titled human flesh dishes during our book group’s readalong of this….we have a particular kind of humour I’m guessing)
I don’t know what’s the point of this review so far. I’m just trying to set the scene for much craziness and ingenuity of plot. And this brief little taster (HAHA FLESH EATING PUN) is just to show you the great thought that’s gone into the world / society building of this novel. It’s slightly icky with all the blood and zombie style characters but it’s super compelling and you can just really get a great sense of the care and effort the author put into creating this fictional world.
The main storyline follows a girl Catarina, whose genius scientist father was taken captive by the big bad corporation, and then two years after his capture she is called upon to continue his work to once and for all complete the vaccine for the hydra virus.
And many twists and turns happen thereafter.
I’m not saying much more than that. This is the type of book that deftly peels back its layers in ways that will have you coming up with all sorts of crazy theories after each chapter… and that is the fun. The joy of guessing where this rollercoaster ride will take you.
Is the book tropey? Hells yeah… snowflakes, chosen one, insta love, love triangle…. but honestly it’s all done in a way that isn’t annoying. It’s just massively entertaining. I quite liked the main character of Cat. I thought she had a really interesting character arc in the storyline and made for quite a compelling MC.
But more than anything I loved the science in this. There was just the right sprinkling of genuine science that made this fabulously believable. And naming a character after Rosalind Franklin is worth an extra star in my book! Pairing said character opposite someone called Crick was geekily hilarious to this nerd too…
I think the best praise I can give this book is that after about 1/4 of the way through I immediately reserved book two from my local library and I intend to start reading it as soon as I finish this review…. (and I did exactly that finishing book 2 within a day and then pre-ordering book 3….)
A very satisfied four stars.