Length: 432 pages
Release date: 30 October 2018
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.
“If there is a design that underpins us, Caterina, then it is cold, it is violent, and it is cruel.”
If you read this book’s synopsis without having read This Mortal Coil, I’m afraid that you’ve already been spoiled for several of the first book’s most ingenious twists. I probably say the following more often than I mean to, but this time I actually mean it: This is a series to go into blind.
It’s nerdy, impeccably plotted and altogether unputdownable. Take my word for it–I’m drowning in work at the moment yet finished This Cruel Design in two days, while other novels have languished on my Kindle or my shelf for months. (Not proud of that fact, but it goes to show just how good this one is.) Suffice it to say that Emily Suvada knows how to time her twists, and there are a lot of them. It felt like a new truth bomb was dropping every few pages. That’s not an exaggeration–flipping through the last lines of each chapter, around half of them amount to a revelation or cliffhanger.
Some of the twists are all but foretold for anyone with experience reading YA, but others are truly remarkable, drawing on concepts rarely found outside hardcore sci-fi to create a story equally thrilling as thought-provoking. You will not guess everything that’s going to happen, great news for those fed up with the same five tropes rearing their ugly head across every YA SFF release.
I’ve mentioned before how gruesome This Mortal Coil gets at times. Although not in the horror genre, this series is genuinely scary and frequently violent. Speaking of which, remember this tweet?
Not going to reveal exactly what it is, but just be aware that Emily’s cover designer hasn’t suddenly decided to bless us with lovely innocuous blue mist.
What we do get are seriously badass new characters. As an effect of the premise literally none of the main characters isn’t the best in the world at their field, so that we don’t waste any time with incompetence. That’s not something I can take for granted reading most other YA authors, but it is when I’m with this one.
For better or for worse, This Cruel Design has left me with sky-high expectations for the last book. I’m really holding my breath that Emily Suvada will deliver, which I’m confident she has the ability to do. In the meantime, let me take a stab at guessing the title for Book Three: This Mortal Coil…This Cruel Design…how about This Twisted World, with a green cover after the red and the blue? I’m probably way off, but whatever it’s called, I already have the trilogy conclusion marked down as a contender for the most explosive finale of 2019.