Hello humans! I am delighted to be reviewing This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada today, a book that I actually won in a giveaway from the publisher. I am so pleased that I did, as this was one of my most anticipated reads for the latter part of this year. I read and reviewed the first book in the series This Mortal Coil and absolutely loved it, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this world once more.
Spoiler warning for This Mortal Coil but spoiler free for This Cruel Design.
Cat thought the Hydra epidemic was over, but when new cases pop up, Cat must team up with an enemy to fix the vaccine before the virus spirals out of control in this thrilling sequel to This Mortal Coil, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable.’”
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.
Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.
When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.
But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.
It seems odd to say, but the thing I love most about both of these books is the pacing. This is perhaps even truer in This Cruel Design purely because second books in a series tend to be a lot slower, especially if it’s not a duology. But no, the quick pace of this book helps pull you through the story quickly enough that you never get bored, but with enough dips and lulls that you have time to process some of the complex goings-on. It’s masterfully done and it makes this high concept, very twisty turny story work in a way that it certainly would not have done otherwise.
In true sequel form, this book introduces quite a few new characters to the mix. Again, I’ve seen sequels massively mess this up, but in this case, it was done well. There is the whisper of a love triangle there, but it never goes full Hunger Games so we can forgive that for now. No, I thought that this did a great job of expanding both the reader’s and the characters’ understanding of the world in which they live. I love stories that take the conclusion of the prior book and turn it on its head and this book does all that and then some.
The gene-hacking aspect of the world is certainly the hook that got me interested in this series. Thinking about it now, it plays a bit less of a part in this story, if only because the characters are too busy moving from place to place to really get into it, but that only serves to make the moments where gene-hacking is used or comes into play even more powerful. What could have been a conceptual gimmick, is actually a well-utilised tool for the plot.
Worth warning readers that there are still a few moments that are a little bit squicky for those more sensitive to these things. If you don’t like it when things that should be in the body are out of the body then perhaps get a friend to read this first and cover the relevant passages with post-its?
As with book one, Emily Suvada knows how to hook you and not let you go. I read this book cover to cover in one day and honestly, I would have read more, I want to read more, please give me more! I need book three this time yesterday but will, sadly, have to wait with the rest of the world until 2019.
Punchy, epic and overall just amazing – you need to read this book – unless you haven’t read the first one, in which case you need to read both.
My rating: 5/5 stars
I received an advanced copy of this book for free from the publisher through a competition. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Are you going to read This Cruel Design when it comes out at the start of November? Let me know in the comments below!