This is a fast-paced novel where the stakes and the tension remain high. The young people, and in particular protagonist Catarina Agatta, take huge risks. They face pain and violence. Certainly here we come across Christopher Vogler’s ‘trials, allies and enemies’ or Joseph Campbell’s ‘road of ‘trials’ in their respective story theories.
Emily Suvada presents us with a thoughtfully conceived world. The story takes place as the planet is swept by a dangerous virus. Some people are secured in bunkers but this comes at a cost.
People are coded and programmed like computers. Even DNA can be altered by the cleverest of the programmers such as Catarina’s father Lachlan Agatta. It’s difficult to understand this technology but Suvada herself has checked out her facts and indeed I’ve also run them past a scientist. A world like this can exist and probably will in the future. We’re heading that way already. That alone makes this book very readable.
There is some sexual tension as well as Cat operates with three young men. This is not the main thrust of the story, however.
We can read this book on two levels. It can be taken at face value as a dystopian thriller or we can see the plague itself, its side effects and the way it is tackled as symbolic of society, even of our current society.
A riddle is solved by the end of the book but we are straight away presented with another. Suvada leaves the way nicely open for the sequel.