by Maria Ingrande Mora
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Pub Date 09 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 22 Mar 2021
North Star Editions, Flux
Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—a Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue—created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and taken into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinkerer, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy who makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic fail-safe in their GEMs—a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay—and die—with the boy he loves.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 119 members
"His kind had been developed by scientists to fight the lung-rot outbreak, and later -- when the lung-rot was gone -- to be used up. Harvested by the wealthy. Kept endlessly asleep or left awake to participate in the horror of it. At least that's what people said when they whispered about GEMs...Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue. He wasn't supposed to be here."
Nate is sixteen and an abomination. At least, that is what he had been told. He knew he wasn't like everyone else in the Withers. He was starving and scraping together a meager existence, just like everyone else who had the bad luck to live in The Withers - a slum filled with people who would not hesitate to kill you for food, or for anything they could use to trade for Chem to feed their addiction.
Nate knew that if the members of his gang discovered he was a GEM, they would either kill him for putting their lives in danger, or they would turn him over to the Breakers - never to be seen again. He didn't want to put his friend's lives in danger, especially Reed's, but he loved being a gang member, they were the closest thing he had to a family. And, although he had never admitted it out loud, he not only loved Reed, he was also IN LOVE with him.
Just surviving the streets of The Withers was challenge enough, but Nate had another problem, his genetically engineered DNA (and that of all GEMs) had been modified so that his body would deteriorate and he would perish before ever reaching adulthood. He needed to find a way to survive, and he knew it would not be easy.
The world-building in FRAGILE REMEDY is second to none. With vivid descriptions of the slums known as The Withers so descriptive it is impossible not to form pictures of it in your mind. I love the fact that the world in which Nate lives is comprised of islands, and instead of water separating each island, and each social class, from the other, there is a vast ocean of toxic sludge which is fatal once submersed in it.
There are numerous parallels between our own society and the issues planet Earth is currently experiencing to the world of FRAGILE REMEDY. For example:
The society in FRAGILE REMEDY is segregated between the 'Haves' and the 'Have Nots.' The high class citizens live in the Towers of Gathos City and never leave their perfect lives to see how anyone else lives. It is these people who create and keep GEMs so that they can extend their own lives by using the GEMs blood and body parts. This may sound far fetched, but cloning already exists, and stem cells are already being used in medical treatments. Is it really so unbelievable that in humanity's quest to extend human lives, something like creating a clone for the purpose of using 'it' as a personal organ bank may be inevitable.
Of course, it would be expensive to create a clone, so only the uber-rich would be able to afford such a luxury, thus creating another socioeconomic division amongst the world's population.
Once the clones are created, the rich clone owners would want to protect their assets. This could easily lead to physical segregation similar to that of the islands on which Nate has spent the entirety of his sixteen years of life.
ADDICTION is another of the central themes of FRAGILE REMEDY. Instead of being addicted to alcohol or opiods, the addicts in this story are fiends for a substance known as Chem. "They'd all been regular people once. People who'd made choices - good and bad. Chem had wrenched those choices out of their hands."
Another theme is HOPE. In FRAGILE REMEDY, Nate may not have many possessions, and he is aware that he will die sooner rather than later, but he still has hope. He hopes that he can do some good before he dies. He hopes that Reed feels the same way about Nate as Nate feels about Reed. And in a wider sense, the inhabitants of The Withers scrounge a meager living on a daily basis, but they still have hope that at some point, the doors to Gathos City will open to admit them.
I love the fact that the characters in this story are diverse and multi-faceted. Sparks is Trans, Nate is Gay, Alden is Queer, and other characters are Cisgender. Skin color is so rarely mentioned that I chose to believe that it was not a factor in their society.
Central to the story and to life in both Gathos City and in The Withers is the ethics of cloning as well as the question of what it is that truly makes a person human. With the increasingly complex technology and the numerous companies and laboratories working on the advancement of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence,)
There are plots and subplots, there are individual histories for each character, there is the storyline where their lives intersect. There are romances and romantic entanglements that will satisfy even the most diehard romantic. And, finally, there is the theme of Family, and the fact that sometimes the people you choose to invest your emotions in make a more loyal family than those who share your DNA.
I started reading this book yesterday morning and was unable (and unwilling) to put it down. I spent twelve straight hours reading FRAGILE REMEDY and they were hours well spent.
There is only one rating I would even consider giving to this book and that is the best possible one. So, I rate FRAGILE REMEDY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am sincerely hoping that author MARIA INGRANDE MORA is planning to write additional books in this series. I will be first in line to grab a copy of any book she writes.
*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of
"He [Nate] longed for the simplicity of believing in something good. He'd seen too much of the bad to have faith."
"He had no right to love Reed. But the soft, private smile on Reed's lips when their eyes met still sent a current of affection through him."
"Nate approached slowly, the way hungry kids stalked sludge-rats."
"'They'll make him sleep like they do in Gathos City.' His voice went ragged. 'They'll cut him apart. What were you thinking coming here?'"
"I feel the need to remind you that my grandmother also believed that the cockroaches in her bedroom were trying to get a look at her knickers."
A thousand thanks to Flux, North Star Editions, and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
The writing here is pretty fantastic and immersive, especially for a debut novel. The world building came at a good, steady pace, and didn’t feel like info-dumping like most SF stories I’ve read. The plot as a whole didn’t take long to wrap my head around, and I eventually gathered the ins-and-outs.
The characters were a mixed bag (but in a good way)— Nate was a favorite, as well as Pixel (cool and adorable) and Alden (because I dig a character with depth, even when they’re teetering between crooked and sympathetic). The fact that there is lgbt rep (several of the characters), trans rep, as well as having the main character be biracial (I’m guessing from his surname and father’s name, and also his physical description), and the love interest another person of color... it was great! (To note: This is an own voices book. The author is a queer woman).
I don’t think there was one character I disliked (even including all the fleeting side characters and awful antagonists). There are a few small redemption arcs, too, that I’m glad came out: tragic characters with tragic backstories do not deserve tragic endings. Let me just say it again: I am awed that this is a debut novel!
What really surprised me was how often I got teary-eyed or emotional. That doesn’t happen often, and again, it really goes to show how wonderfully Ingrande Mora realizes her characters, their relationships, and dramatic plotting. Also, let me tell you, I liiiiiiived for the angst!!! It’s certainly not a light and fluffy book; There is blood and violence, poverty and sickness, dirt and grime, death and sadness and anger. But Nate’s ragtag group was a shining spot of hope and family.
If I had to make a complaint, it would only be the story at times suffers from redundancy: Nate’s constant worries and anxieties— his thoughts on Reed and Alden and all else— tends to always contain the same arguments over and over again (but it’s all thankfully less-so after the 50% mark as new troubles arise).
This book was a surprise, and I am glad to have found it (and been given the chance to read it!). We can expect great things from this author.
I've never been drawn into a book world as quickly as I was with Fragile Remedy. Nate is such a well written nuanced character and Maria Ingrande Mora knows how to tell a story.
Nate is a GEM, a genetically engineered medical surrogate created to help combat the lung rot. Once it was gone, GEMs were used to keep the wealthy healthy. A life Nate has avoided after being hidden away in the Withers. A quarantine zone.
These characters are all so well written, all so believable. The world is easy to see and feels real. Nate's just trying to survive in the beginning but he's never sure who to trust and it only gets worse.
This book is strong and gorgeously written. Disparities between rich poor, healthy sick, people abusing themselves with a drug called chem. Even Nate's supplier for a substance called Remedy is abusive.
A fantastic introduction to a new to me author.
I am still thinking about Fragile Remedy, this beautifully painful little gem of a story.
Maria Ingrande Mora's debut is a mix of dystopian and Science Fiction, I'd say, and it's unlike anything I've read before.
I was immediately there with Nate, the main character, thrown right into action and the gritty world in which he lives. Life in the Withers is hard and painful, many people are addicted to a drug named 'chem', doing horrible things for just the next shot. And Nate, fragile, couragous, precious Nate, keeps a big, dangerous secret hidden from his small found family of outcasts...
Mora writes a great scenery and pulls the reader straight into the story with her fantastic characters and great worldbuilding. She doesn't shy away from hurt, loss, abuse and the horror of what deep addiction can make people do.
What I loved about her characters was the natural way in which they were written, their uniqueness and their way of life never their main feature, although they are beautiful in every way: people of color, transgender, gay, addicted.
And although there are cruel, painful and sad moments, the ultimate themes of Nate's story are hope, love and family.
I also have to mention Alden, beautiful, broken Alden who, despite seeming heartless and hopelessly addicted, loved deeply in his own way.
The biggest thank yous to Flux, North Star Editions, and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.
This book talks about the social difference between riches and poors (highlighted by physical separations), addiction, murder, death, torture, the importance and meaning of family, above all the one you can create, love and relationship.
Nate is a GEM (Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate) and he was created by Gathos City, to keep the healthy alive and happy (his blood has healing and wondrous proprieties). To save and give him a chance to live and not to be abused all the time, his parents smuggled him out into the Withers, a place separated from the elite city, a lawless place where he learned to survive as a Tinker, finding his own family with a scavenging gang. But Nate's days are threatened and counted, since the scientists of Gathos City buiilt a failsafe, making the GEMs' bodies deteriorate with age, if they don't take regularly their medicine. When remedy's supply (his saving medicine) is threatened and Reed, the boy he loves, is badly hurt, Nate finds himself into a difficult position.
I really, really loved Fragile Remedy. Nate is an amazing main character, weighed down by his past. He was abused by cruel scientists and he's burdened by own lies, since he's scared to tell the gang he's beginning to see as a family the truth about his origin, scared they, to survive, could sell him out.
Into a zone where people look for GEMs and their blood, where they are devastated by the drug named chem and subjects to Gathos City's whims, Nate doesn't know who to trust. His relationship with Alden, his remedy supplier, is complex and abusive, weighed down by wants and needs and feelings, while in the one with Reed there are so many lies and half-truths, even though it's clear they really love each other and the other with Pixel, the young girl in the gang, is sweet and protective.
I loved the characters' complex relationships. They would do anything to protect each other and to survive and when one of them is in danger they are ready to do the impossibile, against the cruelty of greed and people. Their creating a family with each other was a wonderful thing and their loyalty, their love was inspiring and absolute. It was comforting and sweet reading how they have each other's backs, how they support and love one other. Intelligent Nate, resolute Reed, sarcastic Sparks, strong Brick and sweet Pixel.
This book wrecked me, emotionally, because it was impossible not to love its characters. Not to want to protect and love Nate, Reed, Brick, Sparks and Pixel, cheering for their safety and happy ending.
I loved the family they created, their fierce loyalty to each other. The complexity of Nate and Alden's relationship and the intense and complicated one with Reed are beautifully written and it was a pleasure to discover their intricacies.
How both Alden and Reed were ready to fight the world for Nate, each of them in his own way. I loved the writing style and I felt so involved I cried and laughed with the characters, feeling sad, cheering for them, squealing in delight. The author got me hooked since the very beginning, pushing me to read more and more, because I needed to see them safe and sound, to see how the story would pan out.
I liked how, through a story about love, survival, family and relationships, the author talked about the abuse the riches inflict on poor people. The gap was clear through physical separation (the gates) and because the Withers were depending on the City's supplies (food, remedy and so on). It was interesting reading the way its inhabitants struggled to survive, many surrending themselves to drugs, and others struggling to have a home in a place abandoned by many. Reading how many people in the Withers choose to drug themselves indicated their suffered and bleak life. How, to escape a grim and hopeless reality people were attracted by drugs, wanting to forget, to "fly", as they said in the book. Wonderful and inspiring was reading, instead, how Reed's gang mantained their morals and wanted to avoid conflicts with the majior players: the A-Volts, the Breakers, but they were ready, though, when one of their own was threatened and hurt..
Fragile Remedy lays important questions about morality and science, pushing the reader to think the lenght the science should go.
If a clone was created to save people's lives, what should his/her rights be? He/she should be considered a human being? What exactly being humans mean? Should science appeal to humanity and decency or shouldn't? The end justify the means and so on.
I found the social message really important and on point. It was intense thinking about that, above all because the reader sees through Nate's eyes, his feeling trapped, used and hurt, his life created to be in other's service, his own blood used to heal others while weakening him, his own life depending on medicine his captors created. Nate's reality was awful and incredibly complex and he wanted to survive and, at the same time, he was ready to sacrifice himself for the people he loved the most.
It was hard to read about Nate's story, because I felt acutely his feeling trapped, his hopelessness, above all with Agatha.
I was impressed by Alden's character, too, because both he and Nate, in their own ways, were forced to do things to survive, things that left them wrecked with shame and guilt. Alden's life, like Nate's wasn't easy, so he resolved to drugs and to forgetting. I loved Alden's personality and appearance, so flashy, so flirty and sarcastic all the time. He's one of my favourite characters.
Reading through Nate's POV was an intense experience. It was sweet, embarassed and cute when he was with Reed and I loved their interactions. Nate and Reed, they are amazing together and their relationship was a slow burn, until, the wonderful and hopeful ending. Their touches, their gazing, their being embarassed were absolutely cute and loving. The way they are fiercely protective of each other and their family, how unsure were of the other feelings. I loved everything.
The review will be posted on Lu's books on June 16
This YA science fiction is totally engrossing, with its best feature being its strong and nuanced development of the main characters. Through the stories of Nate, Reed, and Alden, the book tells a story that is as old as time, even as the book itself is set in a future world. It is a story of love, loss, wanting to belong somewhere, and learning to love with all the risks that come with loving someone, including their loss. and possible betrayal.
Where the book is slightly less successful is in fleshing out the conflict between the Gathos City and the Withers. I think if this conflict had been fleshed out a bit more, the dystopian element of the book, i.e. its engagement with contemporary social and environmental crises, would have emerged more clearly. Still the book touches on many contemporary topics that should be of interest to young and not-so young readers: the moral and political implications of genetic research and reproductive technologies, the social ramifications of environmental destruction, the social and economic costs of the opioid crisis, and the relationship between wealth disparity and the allocation of resources. And thus, it is well worth reading as a story of love and loss and as a piece of dystopian fiction.
This book was absolutely fantastic. The premise of the GEMs is unique, and the worldbuilding makes it feel real. The pacing is phenomenal. There's lot of fast action, but it's tempered with tension breaks at the right times.
** this ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review
As I first read the description of this book, I was both intrigued and sure that I was going to like this book.
And I was right.
As a real fan of a good SF/dystopian book, I truly enjoyed ‘Fragile Remedy’ for this ‘The Island’ vibes. The set-up was clear and steady and I was rapidly immersed in the universe and the conflict between Gathos City and the Withers. Dystopian worlds have the tendency of looking a bit the same with a repressive and conservative regime, but I like that this book went a bit further from that especially by questioning the link that exists between wealth and health, the use of of technology on our own bodies. I think pain has never been so well-written in that kind of books and even if it was sometimes quite hard to read (thanks to the beautiful writing-style) I really liked that part of the story.
Pain is nor a motivation or a determination for our main character Nate. He was by far my favorite character of the book because he was complexed and clear as water at the same time. He remains true to himself, true to his heart, without being this big hero. You can always find a way to my heart with the trope of the hero-who-doesn’t-realise-he-is-one. And Nate is one of a kind.
I loved the relationship between the characters. The whole « family is what you choose » is something that always works in that kind of books when all the members of the family have this marvelous connection and personalities. The slow passion that settles between Nate and Reed was absolutely beautiful ; I love how the physical contacts and the looks were written like it was something forbidden but so much desired.
I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave my review there. But this book is fantastic. I could not believe it was a debut novel as I was reading it. A major tour de force!
This was a fascinating world to discover. The world-building is very well done and it really makes you want to learn more. There's a lot of missing details because there's a lot Nate doesn't know, but it just adds to the desire to discover the secrets. The characters were all multi-dimensional and interesting and I really enjoyed the book.
Thanks to North Stars edition, Flux, and Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
I absolutely love this book and had a great time reading. " Fragile Remedy" has an interesting plot, great characters that you'll root for and good conflict.
Nate is a GEM, a person who was made in a laboratory to improve the health of the wealthy ones. He now lives in the Withers with his gang and hides this secret from them, which ends up causing problems and misunderstands in his relationships inside this crew. He also has to deal with the dependency of "Remedy" to keep himself alive. When his supplier, and kind of friend, starts has lacked the product, Nate's big problems begin.
The writing is amazing. Marie introduced us to this world and these characters very easily and we feel their pain, their fears, their love, and their doubts. The characters are very human and we can emphasize with them. Nate is a sweet boy who tries his best and has a great heart. sometimes too great. Read, the leader of the gang and LI is protective and brave. The dynamic between them and the rest of the gang is very well done.
There is a character who abuses Nate in a way and later has a redemption arc and is forgiven and I couldn't buy it, you know? Even with the tragic past and the help to Nate, it doesn't change the ways he used Nate to get what he wanted. I think that's the only thing that bothered me. The way that Nate forgives so easily people who hurt him a lot. But this is just personal.
There's a lot of LGBT representation, including a trans character and an m\m slow-burn, friends-to-lovers couple.
I also liked the way the author explores the thin lines between hero and villain and justice and revenge with the antagonist.
It worth check it out!
review posted on my page on goodreads
Oh. Wow. Where do I start? I had intended to slowly read this book, but ended up finishing it in two sittings (a break was necessary for sleep and work, unfortunately).
Fragile Remedy is beautiful, painful, and absolutely wonderful. The main character Nate is a GEM, a Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue, who relies on a steady dose of Remedy to keep him healthy. Unfortunately, his existence as a GEM must be kept secret and Remedy is hard to come by. When his illegal supply of medicine runs out and his true nature is exposed, Nate finds himself, along with his friends, in danger, and he's forced to make some hard choices.
Where Fragile Remedy shines the brightest is in its characters. The characters and their relationships with each other are wonderfully nuanced and deep, and within just a few pages, I was ready to fight for the Alley Cats and their happiness. It is so easy to fall in love with them and sympathize with their struggles while also recognizing their flaws and complexity. My favorite character is Alden who is so lovely and broken, and his relationship with Nate is twisted up in need, power imbalances, secrets, addiction, but also deep, unwavering love and affection for each other. Then you also have Nate's relationship with Reed, sweet, tentative, and innocent, but also touched with guilt, mistrust, and hesitancy.
Ingrande Mora creates a world where children have to scavenge and fight for moldy scraps to eat, risking their lives on a regular basis, and around them, many people <spoiler>including Alden and one of the Alley Cats' siblings</spoiler> are addicted to a drug called Chem. It is raw and heartbreaking, but the story is constantly underlined with constant themes of love, family, and loyalty.
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Fantastic, diverse, lovable set of characters whom we join in a dystopian world where the haves and have-nots are severely divided not only by wealth and privilege but by location as well.
Withers is the quarantine zone. Even though there is no longer danger from "lungrot", the people remain segregated in this run-down, poverty stricken town wholly dependent on the wealthy Gathos City for their basic necessities such as food and medicine.
As often happens in real life, people who find themselves alone and struggling can and do form their own "families". I call them families instead of groups because they tend to treat each other very much like true blood relations including all the love, bickering and care with each other.
Our protagonist started life in Gathos City as a GEM (genetically engineered medi-tissue), but in an effort to save his life, his parents secreted him away to the care of an elderly lady living in Withers. Unfortunately, she didn't live long enough to finish raising him and he found himself alone on the streets. Fortunate enough to join a group of other outcasts doing their best to survive without escaping into drugs or immoral behavior. Their world is gritty, dark, and unforgiving. Their struggles draw us readers in to cheer, fear and fight with them.
Maria Ingrande Mora is a fresh new voice in the genre of sci-fi dystopian novels.
Loved this book. It was suspenseful and Every page made me want to keep reading. I couldn't put the book down, I think in all It took about five hours for me to read, I truly loved it.
It was a little difficult for me to get sucked into the story, but once I did it was a thrilling ride. The world and character building are done very well and the story feels fresh and original. I loved our weary band of misfits. I cheered, worried, and was heartbroken for them time and again. My only real critique is that it feels like there should be...more? I could tell the book was wrapping up and I was just like woah woah woah - that can’t be it. It’s left -very- open-ended, and I have no idea if the author plans to write more.
If YA dystopian books are your thing I think you’d enjoy this a lot and I’d definitely recommend giving it a go.
I'm not really one to fall in love with sci-fi, but this is definitely up there for me! It was immersive, and the characters each had qualities that I actually enjoyed. Alden is perhaps one of my favorites, although the other characters are great as well. The diversity in this book is handled well, and none of it feels out of place at all. The story itself took some time for me to get on board with, but I did end up looking forward to reading the next chapters. While this isn't my favorite sci-fi, I definitely had a good time reading and would recommend giving it a try.
An absolutely wonderful book. The world-building is by far the best part, but the whole novel left me hanging on the edge of my seat ready for more. I'm so glad I got to read it early and I can't wait for more from the author.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of Fragile Remedy.
Wow! Where to start?
This was a very clever storyline, pretty original. It had a lot of detail, even down to gory, gross descriptions of things.
Nate is a GEM (which is basically a genetically modified human), and his character is well written.
The parallels between the story and life now are pretty clear, rich vs poor, what people with money will do to help themselves.
This was a good dystopian/sci-fi, that I feel pushed the boundaries of morality. Very good read.
Whoa boy. Where do I even BEGIN?
First of all, I received a copy of this book via Netgalley (thank you!) and this review is very very honest. I swear, the tear tracks are still fresh on my face.
From the first moment I read the synopsis of this book I knew I’d love it. Everything about it screamed “oh my god Lauren this is it!” and when I read the first chapter I sank into it so quickly and easily and all I wanted was to know more about the backstory of the world. Speaking of which, the world building is a marvel, I could almost smell the streets described within, and the characters were so alive and rich.
I don’t want to spoil anything about this, because it’s a book that is worth finding your way through page at a time not knowing what will happen next; my heart was in my throat several times, for several different reasons, and it’s the first book I’ve cried physical tears over in a while. It hit the found family trope with perfect precision, which is the definition of my weakness, with a slow build background m/m love story and friendships that are sometimes sharp and painful, and in some cases quite unique. The connection between Nate and Alden was one of my absolute favourite parts of Fragile Remedy, and it was one of the best, most interesting takes on a friendship I’ve read in recent memory.
I really hope there is a sequel planned. It doesn’t necessarily need it, as I think it does stand alone, but there are so many more answers I need, so many different aspects of the world still there to explore, and I really need to see more of the Alley Cats.
The cover really appealed to me, which is why I wanted to request this ARC at NetGalley in the first place, but then I read the synopsis and I was sure: this would be a book for me! The story sounds amazing, I love dystopian novels and it feels like this synopsis promises impressive things. The cover is a bit too blue to my taste, but it also got a little something because of it.
I was absolutely surprised while reading this book! Dystopian books are my favorite, but in reality it seems hard to really establish a good story within a well-developed world. Fragile Remedy gave me a world that gave me chills, because it feels so real. It tackles poverty, minorities, diversity and LGBT+, and all of that without really exaggerating it so that it would feel unrealistic. The story about Nate and his 'gang' really hit me, because it shows that life can be tough and this cruelty was really present in the story, but it also showed that there will always be warmth and love in some way. Nate and Reed developed a cute relationship, in which they went deeper than they thought they would. Nate is an over-thinker, but I thought that brought a strong aspect to the story: don't we all over-think and be anxious about things? I did feel like all of his thoughts slowed down the story and could've been done slightly less in my opinion. I adored Pixel as a character, but felt like all of the characters were well developed and grew throughout the story. The story was fast-paced, raw and made my eyes moist one or two times (which doesn't happen very often!). I think Maria Ingrande Mora will give us so much more in the future, but I really enjoyed this debut novel, so I'm a fan. Fragile Remedy is a strongly written dystopian novel that doesn't scare away from being raw, real and harsh, but also knows how to tackle emotions and fill up the heart., I know it sounds a bit unreliable, with Fragile Remedy being my first NetGalley ARC, but I'm honestly positive about the book. I'm giving it 4,5/5 stars!
*Thank you so much to the publisher Flux, and to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was such a pleasure to read this book!
This book is amazing. The writing is captivating from the very beginning. It took me a couple of chapters to completely grasp certain terms and locations created for the purpose of this novel, but the text and plot are so immersive that I was eager to catch on. The characters were so detailed and realistically crafted that I empathized with their pain and felt their frustrations. Alden was particularly well-developed, blurring the line of good and evil, and served as a reminder that so many people are doing the best they can in difficult situations. My favorite character was Pixel, sweet and sensitive yet brave and strong, comforting others when she was afraid herself, willing to do whatever it took to help out those she cared for. Nate was a complex character in so many ways, and I loved that I was continuously learning new information about his capabilities as a GEM and the different facets of his personality. I also thoroughly respect that the author included a lot of controversial topics (LGBTQ, drug use, gangs, etc) and was able to cover them without criticism or self-righteousness. I would love to see more books written by Maria Ingrande Mora in the future.
I loved this unique story!
This was so interesting and kept me intrigued from the beginning. The idea of genetically developing humans with DNA that can replicate and heal itself and then using them to heal others isn't as farfetched as it seems. Science can be amazing, but how far is too far and where is the line drawn? Nate was a sweet, intelligent kid and I felt so bad that he was on his own and lying to his friends because he couldn't truly trust anyone. His relationship with Pixel was my favorite, she's adorable and must be protected. Reed and the girls were good friends and I'm glad Nate had them and they cared for him.
The story was well paced and the world building was great. I definitely understood what was happening without needing major info dumps. This concludes wonderfully and I devoured it all in one sitting. I'm excited for this to come out so everyone can check it out!
Thank you to NetGalley and North Star Editions for this advance copy. All opinions are honest and my own.
~~ Thanks to Flux, Netgalley and Maria Ingrande Mora for allowing me to read the ARC and give my honest review ~~
I have to say that I was surprised at the beginning I did not get so hooked with the story but then I started loving the characters and enjoying the experience. I just loved Nate and his struggle. Even do its a dystopian fantasy I saw a new element in the story, I felt that this is something that can happen as the medicine is going towards the creation of perfect kids analizin the DNA and choosing the best option, I know this is not the same as the book, but it gave me a big vibe.
The book covers a LGBT without stressing it to much and making the book an excuse to just show a LGBT story, loved how it is a story that has a LGBT character not a book about LGBT (I Know I repeated LGBT to much sorry)
I give this book 4.5 Stars for its originality and its lovely experience.
Thanks to North Stars edition, Flux, and Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Science Fiction and LGBT representation is not a new thing. It's probably the most popular genre for new writers to tackle on because it's so easy to craft an intriguing new worlds with different societies and complex laws and whatnot. Fragile Remedy is no different but it grows up and above from that mold. It's really surprising that this is a debut, because Maria Ingrande Mora written a book that feels like a she's been writing for ages and this is her 5th or 6th book in her career.
The story is set in the future, where things are bad at Gathos City and living in it is just as terrible. People are addicted to drugs, vandalized or pillage due to no jobs, security, food or a home and it's every man for himself out there, unless you got a gang to relay on. Nate belongs to one and he's pretty inviolable thanks to his tinkering but he also has to keep his identity as a GEM, an genetically engineered medi-tissue (man made to be used to replace badly damaged failed organs and other terrifying purposes). Things get a turn to the worse when Nate's gang are pulled into the spotlight when the police are searching for a runaway GEM and they are in the middle of that chaos.
I cannot begin how refreshing the story was. Everyone was so multi layered and gray, from the main character, to the love interest and the secondary characters. Each one wasn't shoved aside or wasn't touched upon and it was so nice to see that they are all flawed but yet willing to do everything to survive in this world and not give up on their values. The romance was fluffy and didn't take too much from the plot or felt too rushed either. The representations of queer characters, disabled and POC and biracial was so great.
Maria writes such a beautifully and yet tragic words that tug on your heart strings. Sometimes it hurt and yet you can't withdraw your attention away because you can't abandon Nate and the gang. You want them to succeed, even if the means don't justified the end. You want Nate and Reed to be together and yet even if the world keeps bringing all the reasons why which makes sense you know it won't stop those two dolts to fulfill whats in their hearts.
If you looking for a good read for 2020 that will exceed your exceptions of the YOUNG ADULT SCI-FI genre then this is the book for you. Please purchase the book, I highly recommending it <3
Dystopian, Young Adult, AND MM Romance? Count me in! All of my favorite genres rolled into one fantastically exciting read from a new-to-me author I'll be sure to keep my eye on in the future.
Nate is a GEM--genetically engineered--who has to use a drug to survive. His sole use for being created was to save the elite from some fatal lung disease, but he was smuggled from the lab to the outlands. When he loses his only supply of the drug, he's forced into a life he never wanted, but if he refuses, he'll die and lose the boy he's in love with...
Oh, the angst, the amazingly descriptive world-building, and the page-turning excitement of this dystopian adventure filled with a cast of diverse characters and intricately woven plots that'll keep you up well into the night. I loved every minute of it.
I was provided with a review copy by NetGalley, but the opinions are my own. 5 well deserved stars!
Fragile Remedy is a fast paced dystopian with a heavy sci-fi plot line surrounding genetically modified humans created in a lab that function as “medical treatment” for wealthy residents of Gathos City. Though this book features interesting world building and a compelling plot, it really shines through the characters and their bond.
Nate is a GEM (Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate) smuggled into the Withers as a child, a place outside of Gathos City quarantined during an outbreak of lung-rot. He lives with a group of other young people, all of them scavenging and selling supplies to survive. Nate is struggling for another reason though - he needs a steady supply of illegal medicine to live, and his supplier is running out. Nate has to find a new solution to his problem, all while grappling with questions of his own humanity, the secrets he has to keep from his found family, and an increasing number of violent riots in his city.
The characters in this story are hands down the best part. Nate has strong feelings for everyone in their gang, but has a special connection to Pixel, a young girl with an affinity for tinkering with tech. He also has romantic feelings for Reed, the de facto leader of their group, but tries to ignore them. Sparks and Brick have their own roles within the group, and all of these characters have a unique bond and way of interacting with each other. Alden, an additional secondary character, is not part of the group but has a complicated history with Nate.
This book also has casual queerness, which I love. There is a romantic relationship between Nate and Reed. I don’t believe it was stated on page, but subtext leads me to believe Nate is gay and Reed is bisexual. Sparks is trans, and Alden is coded queer.
In addition to stellar characters, this book deals with tough subjects in a sensitive way. It heavily discusses poverty, addiction, and the link between the two. It discusses socioeconomic barriers to health care, the ethics of cloning, and morality. Though it deals with such heavy subjects, the overall tone of the book is very hopeful.
The only critiques I have for this book is that I believe the conflict between Gathos City and the Withers was underexplored and left me feeling very disconnected from the more dystopian aspects of the book. and one of the villains we encounter felt comically dramatic.
CW: Major character death, terminal illness, suicidal ideation, addiction, violence, explicit descriptions of living in poverty.