Mortal Coils: Intellectually-challenging YA fantasy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book review Eric Nylund Mortal CoilsMortal Coils by Eric Nylund

Eric Nylund’s new novel Mortal Coils is a young adult urban fantasy which is lacking in werewolves and vampires. Thus, Mortal Coils is a wonderful entry into this genre and it doesn’t have to fall back on all things cliché.

Eliot and Fiona Post are twins being raised by a strict controlling grandmother in a small town in Northern California. They don’t get to do any of the normal things that their peers get to do. Their education is non-typical and excellent, but they are forced to live by a constantly growing list of rules that prohibit fun, imagination, and music.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsBut, the lives of the Post twins is not what it seems. Just before they turn 15, they discover that they are actually Immortals and Infernals — sort  of the equivalent of Greek gods and Arch-demons (which they are not allowed to study) — and are caught up in a continuing struggle between the two groups of super-powerful beings.

Mortal Coils does not immediately jump from the start, but takes probably 50 or so pages to get going. After that, it’s challenge after plot revelation after character development clear to the end. A truly fast-paced thrill ride that is both rich in story-telling and intellectually fun to play with. Nylund constantly injects intellectually-challenging ideas and uses excellent vocabulary. He also introduces obscure, but interesting, mythical and religious ideas. Therefore, Mortal Coils is not a weak romantic novel toned down to meet the requirements of a YA audience. There is romance, there is teen angst, there are conflicts as young people test their wings, but these events are only parts of the story and not the story itself.

I highly recommend Mortal Coils to audiences young and not so young. Eric Nylund’s work is well-wrought and leaves you hoping for further adventures with Eliot and Fiona.

Mortal Coils — (2009-2010) Eric Nylund plans five books in this series. Publisher: Nestled between San Francisco and the heart of California wine country is the quiet community of Del Sombra. Among its many residents are Eliot and Fiona Post, twin fifteen-year-olds who want nothing more than to get out from under the oppressive force of their grandmother, Audrey. Audrey controls every aspect of Eliot and Fiona’s lives: she homeschools them, forces them to work at a local pizzeria, even attempts to control their interests and actions through an ever-growing list of rules. On their fifteenth birthday, they learn why. They are the offspring of the eldest Immortal Fate, Atropos, and the Infernal Lucifer, and their very existence is a threat to an ancient neutrality treaty between gods and fallen angels. When news of their existence hits each family, a cold war erupts, each side vying for control of this new breed. In order to establish their proper place and rightful allegiance, the Immortals and Infernals devise tests for Eliot and Fiona. The gods devise three heroic trials inspired by urban legends, taking them into deeper and more dangerous pockets of mythology incarnate in the modern world. The Infernals fashion three diabolical temptations for the children, each one an attempt to forever isolate brother from sister. Eliot and Fiona will need to band together if they are to have any hope of staying alive, for allegiances are never quite what they seem in this ancient battle for supremacy. And they just may need to call for their parents’ help if they hope to stop these secret worlds from exploding into an end-all battle…

Eric Nylund fantasy book reviews Mortal Coils 1. Mortal Coils 2. All That Lives Must DieEric Nylund fantasy book reviews Mortal Coils 1. Mortal Coils 2. All That Lives Must Die


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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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