[ARC] ‘This Cruel Design’ – Emily Suvada

Rating4.5 stars


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.

Release Date

US; 30th October 2018
UK: 1st November 2018

This Cruel Design - Emily Suvada


I was sent this book by Penguin in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Ellan at Penguin for sending me a copy!

This was a really great and interesting follow up to This Mortal Coil (review for that can be found here) and this book really didn’t disappoint! I often worry with series that sequels won’t live up to the first book but the opposite was true of this series! I definitely enjoyed the first book, but this follow-up was really great!

This book picks up exactly where This Mortal Coil leaves us and we follow the same cast of characters, along with a few appearances from some really great characters (but I will get to that in a moment). The story in this book was far more developed than the opening book in the series and moved much quicker, and overall I was just a lot more invested in this book and I really enjoyed that. I also thought that the plot in this book was even more original and interesting than the previous book which is impressive considering how good the first one was! All in all, I loved the plot in this book, and it has most definitely left me extremely hungry for more, I am so excited for the next book in the series. I can’t really talk about any specific as there would be far too many spoilers, but trust me the plot goes in an extremely interesting direction and will keep you on your toes all the way through.

I think my absolute favourite aspect of this series is the technology and its uses! I study Engineering and so have a good basic knowledge of technology and coding so seeing both implemented in new and original, but still relatively believable ways, is absolutely fascinating! I also love how within a work of fiction, Emily Suvada has introduced scientific aspects that are of great interest in today’s scientific community, specifically the sequencing of DNA and therefore working out how DNA expresses itself in outward characteristics! These things are frequently spoken about and it was really interesting to imagine a world where these had now been achieved and hence we could start to edit our own DNA and reap the benefits. I haven’t come across any dystopian or sci-fi novels with this theme and so to me this is a very original and amazing idea!

I really enjoy the characters in this book, though I do find that I tend to prefer the secondary characters to the main characters. Cole and Cat are fine, but they are a little stereotypical as the lead couple in a dystopian novel, whereas the side characters were much more varied and interesting! My favourite two characters were Leoben and Mato. There were some other characters, such as Dax, who played a very interesting role in this novel, and Regina was also a compelling addition, but those two are definitely my top two.

Leoben is a character who features quite heavily in book one, and then plays an even larger role in this sequel. He is funny and upbeat but also just incredibly sensible and level-headed, he seems to be the only character who makes sensible decisions most of the way through this book! I loved reading about him and he added both the comic relief this novel definitely needed as well as some sense of logic when many of the others were just working off pure emotion! Mato was also fascinating in a completely different way. In the first book, we mainly follow people and communities who are at least slightly sceptical of the technology available, especially those under the influence of Cartaxus, so seeing a character who had grown up around this amazingly advanced technology and had fully embraced using it to its full potential was amazing! He also added some fantastic variation to the characters in the cast of this book.

To close, I would like to comment on this writing in this book. The writing style itself may not be anything spectacular, it isn’t lyrical and metaphorical like many of my favourite authors, but it was extremely effective! A few days ago I saw a thread of tweets by Emily Suvada talking about how she writes and the structure she uses, and with this informations, reflecting on the book it was fascinating to see how well she had implemented this and just how effective it was! I absolutely cannot fault the structure of the writing in this book, the placement of every event was used to keep you guessing and wanting to keep reading but without overwhelming you with bombshell after bombshell or too much new information. That takes a lot of skill and I was thoroughly impressed. Also, it is really great to see how much Emily Suvada has grown as an author since her first book came out last year! I actually reread This Mortal Coil just before starting This Cruel Design as I wanted all the detail to be fresh in my mind, but I actually slightly struggled to read it! I still enjoyed the story but something about it just didn’t drag me in, but This Cruel Design caught my attention straight away and made me never want to put it down!

I think it is fair to say that I am very much anticipating the next book in this series, and cannot wait to be immersed again in this world (though I am guessing that wait will be at least another year, which is a little heartbreaking!) I would recommend this to so many people, especially those who love science and engineering, or anyone who loves the dynamic of the characters in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, as that aspect is very similar in this series, and equally as fantastic.

– Maddie Browse

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