Hello and welcome to my stop for the Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora book tour, organized by Tbr and Beyond tours! Thank you so much for this chance! I’m so in love with this book and I can’t wait to freak out with you all about it!
Please, check the tour schedule here!
Content warning: addiction, violence, characters being held against their will, human trafficking and infertility, For full content warning please see the author’s website: https://www.mariamora.net/books
Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become 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 that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his 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.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review and I thank them and the publisher so much, because this book is really amazing!
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 relationships.
Nate is a GEM (Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate) and he was created by Gathos City. 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 built a failsafe, making the GEMs' bodies deteriorate with age, if they don't take regularly their medicine. When his saving medicine's supply is threatened, violence erupts in the Withers and Reed, the boy he loves, is badly hurt, Nate finds himself into a difficult position.
I LOVE Fragile Remedy. It's an AMAZING dystopian fantasy, full of incredibly relatable characters. The plot is intriguing and skillfully written, the worldbuilding is brilliant and complex, the themes and the way the author dealt with them superb, pushing the reader to think about relationships, love, science and life. The bonds between characters are intense and strong and I loved the trope of queer found family.
Reading through Nate's POV was an intense experience; he's 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 what he is and he doesn't know who to trust. It was such a pleasure reading his POV. He's brilliant, stubborn and smart and one of my favourite character! I was really involved in this story!
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.
This book wrecked me, emotionally, because it was impossible not to love its characters. I loved the family they created, their fierce loyalty to each other. How their bonds are intense and complicated, beautifully written and it was a pleasure to discover their intricacies.
The writing style is superb 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, how they choose to escape their reality and life and how Nate and his family fight to survive and be together. How the author dealt with sensitivity and care important themes like addiction, death, torture, pain and grief.
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/their rights be? He/she/they 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 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 do anything 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 and also his love for his family, his fierceness and stubborness.
Fragile Remedy was one of my favourite book I've ever read and I'm so in love with everything. The characters are impossible not to love, the story important and I totally recommend this book to those who love a wonderful queer found family, the profound bonds of love and friendships, fights for freedom and love, against injustice and social differences and the strenght of love and protect one other.
I LOVED AND LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!
Maria Ingrande Mora is a marketing executive and a brunch enthusiast. Her love languages are snacks, queer joy, and live music. A graduate of the University of Florida, Maria lives near a wetlands preserve with two dogs, two cats, two children, and two billion mosquitoes. She can often be found writing at her stand-up desk, surrounded by house plants. Unless the cats have already destroyed them.
I’ve also had the pleasure to interview the AWESOME Maria Ingrande Mora! Here’s my interview:
- Where did you get the idea for Fragile Remedy?
I was driving and listening to music and had a vivid image of Reed and his gang sorting through tech. Nate slowly formed from my daydreaming about that scene, and I started playing with it.
- How many things changed from the original draft? And which ones?
Quite a bit changed! I fully rewrote the book twice. In the original draft, Nate was actually a fairy. Hard to believe now, right? The final 30% or so of the book was rewritten entirely twice.
- What is the easiest character to write and the most difficult one?
Alden was the easiest to write. He was the “loudest” in my head, and the most fun to write. I had the most difficult time with Nate, who didn’t want to be particularly forthcoming about his emotional state.
- In Fragile Remedy Nate is a GEM, he was created by scientists. Where did you get the inspiration for that?
I wish I could draw a line to one single point of inspiration, but I think this was the result of growing up watching Star Trek movies, Star Wars movies, and loving Anne McCaffrey’s books as a kid.
- Fragile Remedy makes the readers think about the length the science should go and lays important questions about morality, abuse and power. What do you think would happen if, in an hypotethical future, people like Nate existed?
I think that we’re already in dangerous territory when it comes to dehumanizing entire populations. It doesn’t feel particularly far-fetched to me that people like Nate would be mistreated and that complacency would win out over pushing back against this kind of unethical medical practice.
- How much of you is in your characters?
I relate to Nate’s issues with self-worth, and I relate to Alden’s tendency to deflect and attack before he allows anyone to talk about his feelings. I relate to Reed’s protective vibes. I relate to Brick’s exasperation and Sparks’s tenacity.
- Could you describe Fragile Remedy in three words?
Queer found family
- Do you have any headcanons post Fragile Remedy? Maybe about Reed and Nate? I love them so much.
I believe that Pixel grows up and becomes part of a group that upends Gathos City’s unjust government. Nate and Reed stay fairly under the radar in a support role and help young people develop engineering skills and safety nets.
- Could you tell me about your future projects? Do you think you will get back to Fragile Remedy’s world?
I am currently working on a fantasy set during an alternative industrial revolution. Surprising no one, all of the main characters are bisexual. It also features an m/m/f throuple. I am pumped.
- What are your favourite books?
Swordspoint is a comfort read. I read it every few years and it always devastates me. I loved Weetzie Bat as an older teen and it has a special place in my heart. More recently, I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea, Ember in the Ashes, We Set the Dark on Fire, and Sorcery of Thorns.
- Could you tell me five random things about you?
I love paddle boarding, I collect enamel pens, I’m 5’9″, I’m super scared of snakes, and I love anchovies.