Title: Fragile Remedy
Author: Maria Ingrande Mora
Publisher: North Star Editions
Length: 331 Pages
Category: Dark Dystopian, Sci-Fi, YA/Teen Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: Fragile Remedy isn’t a light read, but it’s a beautiful one—bleak yet gorgeous, and one of the best I’ve read so far this year. Just prepare to have your heart broken a little in the process.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Nate is a Gem—a Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate—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 into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that 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 failsafe 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.
Review: Fragile Remedy is an absolutely stunning novel, bleak yet gorgeous, and one of the best I’ve read so far this year. It’s a story set in an unforgiving dystopia where the Haves are rarely seen in the Withers, and the Have Nots see too much of its filth—the vermin, the dirty water and the stench of raw sewage, the food shortages and the plentiful chemical addictions that numb those who go down that path to escape the ugliness and suffering for awhile. The Withers is a place where basics like hope, comfort, solace, security, and happiness are close to, if not entirely, extinct. It’s a place where compassion and kindness are at a premium, and anyone who holds on to those things all but suffers for it.
Nate is a GEM, a boy who was genetically engineered to keep the wealthiest people healthy and well, and at the age of sixteen is facing his expiration. GEMs weren’t designed to live long, they were only designed to stave off a plague, but there is a serum called Remedy that will keep Nate from suffering and extend his life . . . if only he can get hold of it. What Nate exchanged for Remedy, with a chem dealer, Alden, an addict who is also something like a friend, something like a comfort to Nate, was ultimately unsustainable. His need to escape was how Nate ended up with a ragtag group of scavengers. He’s a Tinkerer who had a skill to offer in exchange for their alliance, but he keeps the fact he’s a GEM to himself for fear of being sold out. Because, in the end, Nate is valuable, not for who he is or for what he can do, but for what he is.
In case I haven’t made it clear, Fragile Remedy is a dark and dystopian novel, and oh my, how I wept at the loss of a character I grew to love. Maria Ingrande Mora set these characters down in a harsh and brutal world and then made them heroes, not through heroic feats—though, in this world, fighting to exist is utterly heroic—but by showing readers their humanity and how they held on to each other even when it might have been easier and safer to let go. Brick, Sparks, a little girl named Pixel, and the leader of the gang, Reed, become Nate’s family. In fact, Reed means so much more to Nate, but in a time and place where everything is fragile, falling in love could break him. A life on the run, a life in hiding, a life of near-constant danger, a life that will be shortened with the lack of Remedy, is a life with no room for love. Until loving each other is the only option left, and they find the spark of happiness they earned.
Fragile Remedy isn’t a light read, but it’s a beautiful one. Just prepare to have your heart broken a little in the process.
You can buy Fragile Remedy here:
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