There is an an app called Goodreads that I use to track books I have read, keep a list of books I would like to read, and keep up-to-date on the books and blogs of my favorite writers. My to-read list in the app currently stands at 19. This list has grown so large as I have had neither the time nor inclination to read long form fiction as of late. The growing size of this list was distressing though. Being OCD, I had to take some action to stem the growing tide of books that needed to be read. To that end, I purchased Mortal Coils by Eric Nylund and dedicated some time to reading. I am glad I did.
Mortal Coils is the story of Fiona and Eliot Post. They are 15 year-old twin orphans that are being raised by their grandmother and great grandmother. Their lives are strictly regimented and order is maintained by adherence to over 132 rules that their grandmother has set forth. This oppressive regime extends even to education as the children are home schooled and therefor have little interaction with other people outside of the job that they have just recently started. As the story unfolds, we are quickly introduced to several shadowy figures that are searching for the twins. The discovery of the twins illuminates the true purpose behind all the rules under which they have lived. They served the two-fold purpose of keeping them hidden from their relatives and to keep the twins ignorant of their true heritage.
With their discovery, this coming-of-age story begins to pick up more steam. In addition to the standard problems that teenagers face, the two must come to grips with being members of two powerful supernatural families The twins very existence is cause for much consternation among both families and tests are undertaken to determine their true lineage. The tests by one family are called heroic trials while the other family undertakes temptations to discern the twins nature . With the names of the tests, it comes as no surprise to find that one family is composed of demons and the other is populated by gods, goddesses, and immortal heroes. What follows is a slow revelation of the nature of the two families and the possible place the twins have in either.
That I enjoyed this book was a little surprising. My exposure to YA fiction is somewhat limited. I have read and enjoyed the Hunger Games and Harry Potter but little else has been able to hold my interest. The families being composed of gods and demons provided the impetus to begin reading this book. The unique spin that being a child of a goddess and a demon brings to a coming-of-age story kept me reading. As I am a fan of things mythical, this additional complication added an interesting wrinkle to the story. The slow revelation of who was whom within each family was very engrossing. Clues are sprinkled about the narrative indicative of the identity of the major characters. These clues added an extra urgency to the story a I wanted to find out if I was correct in my deductions about certain characters.
I highly recommend picking up this book. It is a quick and entertaining read with a unique take on a classic coming-of age tale. It is excellent summer reading fare.