Thank you very much to NetGalley and Flux for my DRC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
TITLE: Fragile Remedy
AUTHOR: Maria Ingrande Mora
RELEASE DATE: March 9, 2021
GENRE(S): YA fantasy, lgbtq
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.
This was a story wrapped in tragedy and hard times, where a boy, created from love, but abandoned is constantly running for his life.
Nate is a GEM (Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue), people developed by scientists to fight a human disease that was killing by the masses. But, now that disease is all but gone, leaving no need for GEMs, aside from the fact that they are used now to make Chem, a drug that is extremely addictive. All Nate wants is to survive, but GEMs don’t live to adulthood… not without Remedy.
After his parents died, Nate bounced around a bit, learning how to become a Tinker who is great with electronics and things of that sort before he ends up with Alden, and then ultimately with a group of thieves, lead by Reed. While Alden consistently fed off of Nate for Chem, he decided to keep his GEM identity from Reed and his group in order to protect them. Not only does Reed not know about Nate’s true identity, he doesn’t know about Nate’s love for him either. How could Nate put the person he loves in danger? Scary people are always looking for GEMs.
While this book focused more on character building, the world building was quite incredible. And this story as a whole was quite sad. Nate only wants to do right by the people he cares about, but he is constantly getting sick without Remedy, a thing that is becoming more and more scarce in the dingy, dirty part of the world they are living in. And, while Alden was a drug addict who was feeding off of poor Nate, he was my favorite part of this book. Terrible circumstances make people do terrible things, but Alden protected Nate always, even if that caused himself harm.
The cast of different characters in this book is wide and varying. You don’t know who is good or who is bad, and neither does Nate. All he wants is to protect the people that he cares about, but at the same time, he is terrified and doesn’t want to die.
This was such a wonderful book that I am still trying to wrap my head around. Addiction and the human condition were written so incredibly in this tale. It left me feeling sad, but with somewhat of an understanding that some people are bad and some are good, even though you do not always know which. And that even when Nate thought he was at his worst, he still protected the ones he loved, or at least tried his damnedest.