The Operation Awesome theme for the #atozchallenge 2021 is book reviews (even though we're a blog about the publication journey, not a book review blog-- the team loves to read!). I've selected books by Debut Authors that I've interviewed on this blog. Read Maria Ingrande Mora's interview here.
Fragile Remedy -- Publisher site
LGBTQ+ Science Fiction
I'm giving this book only five stars because that's the highest quantity available on review sites. (There's no "click here to give all the stars in the sky" ... that I know of, anyway.) To say this book is good is an understatement. Exceptional, marvelous, superb, wonderful-- I LOVE this book. I had to update my NaNoWriMo profile to reflect having a new favorite. Can I add some hearts instead of just stars?
Set in the fictional future (which doesn't feel so fictional-- thanks, 2020), on the poor side of town- the quarantined island, everyone struggles to survive. Nate wasn't born but created, and his blood can do amazing healing on others, at a painful cost to him. (It sounds like "donor babies," but since they're grown in a lab, people care even less.) The world has a drug problem (like the opioid crisis) and a respiratory problem (do I even have to mention the "C" word that ruined and ruled all of our lives in 2020???). All the science in this science fiction is plausible. You might think that kind of reality-smacking-into-fiction would make this harder to read, yet I found the opposite to be true. Because the book isn't really about those things, that's just well-written background noise. The book is about relationships, making your own family, loyalty, love, and giving everything and anything for the one you love.
It might not sound like it, but this is my honest and unbiased review. I got an ARC copy of this book when I interviewed this debut author for Operation Awesome. (To be clear-- this is a DEBUT book! 😲 Ground-level fandom. Start the party!) I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a really great story with a teenage chaotic good main character. There's diversity in that most of the main characters are extremely poor, multiple characters are gay, Sparks is probably trans ("when her appearance matched who she was"), and various skin colors are mentioned (bronze, brown, pale). I don't read a lot of science fiction, but I do love diverse books and especially ones with such well-written characters and storylines, and this book is an example of the kind of scifi I like the most. I would absolutely read another book from this author. Even though Fragile Remedy is a stand-alone book, I'm hoping it will turn into a series. The ending does wrap up the story, but it leaves room to add to it. (Reed for mayor, president, whatever leadership roles exist!) Plus, I want to read about Pixel growing up, I want to see her improve the world. And what about other GEMs in the Gathos City towers? We need more books so Nate can go save them!
This book is realistic fiction with a bit of science that hasn't happened yet. It was happily-ever-after (as much as it can). It's romantic in that will-they-or-won't-they way where the reader can see how perfect Nate and Reed are for each other but Nate's anxiety needs to get out of the way first. (And also, shower first, guys! There's a great scene where they kiss, but it gets interrupted by sneezing. LOVE that part of the book.) Fragile Remedy is thrilling, action-packed, fast-paced, and has many plot twists. (The current book description, that's just the first third of the story. There is so much more!) It's fun and entertaining (especially Alden). "Only Alden could make falling asleep a dramatic exit."
It seems like the antagonist is everyone from Gathos City, since they've abandoned all of these people, leaving them with sickness and poverty. But there's another antagonist who is revealed later. "We didn't start riots, people did," the antagonist says. Similarly, the backstory of how the characters met each other is skillfully woven into the book, each revealed at precisely the right moment. Also excellently done is how Mora wrote Nate's fear of heights without being direct about it.
I learned the term hiccoughed from reading this book. A word that instantly makes sense and has an obvious meaning and sound, yet I've never seen used before.
The scratchy blue cover with the crumbling city and the vial makes sense when reading the book. The title also matches the story. I saw only one possible typo in the entire ARC.
I imagine Pixel is the author's favorite character, though there are many excellent characters in this story. The book was hard to put down because there is so much action and so much heart. Every action, every choice, has a purpose in this book. I could relate to several of the characters because of my life, and I've known some people who remind me of several of the characters. (Notably Alden and Brick.) Speaking of Brick, I enjoyed that the character names were easy to remember because the names "fit" the characters. Though there's a strong romance element, it just barely hints at PG-13 level of steam. The setting is well fleshed-out, allowing the reader to feel the poverty and ruin in which the characters reside. Nothing came easy for any of the characters. The book absolutely holds up a mirror to society, to how we too often treat the sick, how people can turn on one another and use each other, but also how people can really love and give everything for someone. It's the very best of people versus the very worst, which is what makes it so wonderful.
|J's favorite books and authors- NaNoWriMo profile|
To what website do you think Operation Awesome should give our next recommendation award?