Title – This Cruel Design
Author – Emily Suvada
Series: This Mortal Coil
Here we are for the stunning second in the series. I LOVED this book. Definitely strap yourself in for this roller coaster of plot twists and betrayals. You can read my take on book 1 here.
We ended This Mortal Coil with a cure. Cat and Cole managed to follow the breadcrumbs left for them by Lachlan Agatta and replicate the cure that he had stored in Cole’s panel. Working together with Cartaxus and the Skies, Cat had found a way to broadcast the cure into every human on the planets panel, regardless of whether they wanted it there or not. But while using Cat’s body as a conduit for the decoding of the Cure, Lachlan had found a way to add an millions of lines of daemon code to the end of the Cure. Lachlan wasn’t dead. He had staged his own demise, used a puppet to fool them and now he was playing them all.
Things didn’t seem to be going to plan. Cat was supposed to die during the decoding but instead finds herself being flooded with memories of her life, memories she didn’t know she had. Catarina Agatta and Jun Bei are one in the same. The code that they released at the end of This Mortal Coil is already proving to be useless as the virus mutates at an exponential rate. The group is forced into finding Lachlan before Flood Protocol is activated by Cartaxus, meaning the group have to work against the clock to find him before Cartaxus kill off everything on the surface. Cat is at breaking point, struggling to find a way to stop Lachlan from changing human instincts as well as holding back the floodgate in her mind.
This book kind of took a lot of the plot from This Mortal Coil and flipped it on its head. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It reinforced a lot of the story that seemed a bit patchy and flimsy from the first book.
Cat spends a lot of time in this book struggling with her identity. She knows that she is more that just Jun Bei but the lines are starting to blur and she feels herself slipping. Which all becomes a lot clearer as the book progresses but you are definitely along for the ride when it comes to her struggles.
One of the things that took away from book one was the love interests but This Cruel Design definitely made up for that for me. Gone is the potential of Cat and Dax which was something I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. Lee and Dax though? That’s a thing I didn’t know I needed but when it was brought up I decided that I could ship that. Although definitely a messed up kind of relationship, to fall for the guy running tests on you but then again there isn’t much normalcy to the Knockout Kids, really. Things with Cole and Cat, however, have completely changed. That rushed-into relationship has sort of sizzled out and the entire dynamic of their relationship has changed (especially with that ending!). It was refreshing to see that a female lead character can survive without her knight in shining armour to hold her together.
Mato was a new character that was introduced. I thought that I liked him, but there was something that was just a little bit off about him. He was cocky because he knew how smart he was but it made me a uncomfortable to think about how comfortable he was with the idea of an implant in your brain to clear up a bit of space in the old grey matter It was harder to follow the science talk in this book but it was still easy enough to understand if you took the time.
And the pigeons!! (I won’t elaborate)
I give this book a 5 out of 5 rating. I enjoyed this book SO much more than the first book which isn’t something I tend to do (unless it’s A Court of Mist and Fury). It was much more gripping and exciting. Honestly, I feel a bit wind-swept. We get to meet more of the Knockout Kids and we get to see the darker and more dangerous side to Cartaxus. Plus, I loved that the pigeons hadn’t been forgotten about. This book wasn’t quite as horrible as the first in terms of. y’know, eating people for immunity but I feel like it played a lot more with the characters minds. It was very cruel in the mental manipulations and violations being committed throughout the story and it’s something to be vary of if you are sensitive to such things.
I would like to mention that These Precious Scars comes at the end of This Cruel Design. I’m not sure if that is the order in which it is intended to be read however I read These Precious Scars between book 1 and 2 and that seemed to work better for me as a filler.
Up next I’ll be looking at This Vicious Cure, Book 3 in the series and ultimately the end of this epic story.
Until next time.