Series: This Mortal Coil #2
Published by Penguin Australia on November 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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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.
This review contains spoilers for This Mortal Coil, the first book in the series. Check out my review here if you haven’t read it yet (which you should)!
When it comes to action-packed, science fiction about gene manipulation, you can’t get any better than this series. I absolutely love how this series covers DNA manipulation, hacking, bodily enhancements through technology and viruses used as biological warfare – which sounds complicated, but it’s all explained in such a straight forward way.
This Cruel Design follows straight on from the first book, as Catarina continues her search for Lachlan, accompanied by Cole and Leoben. The plot is fast paced and action-packed, as she continues to escape from Cartaxus and encounters new and old acquaintances along the way. There’s a lot of interesting side characters that reveal more about her past – from Mato, a hacking genius who seems to have secrets, to Amanda, a soldier who immediately dislikes her from the get go.
She’s receiving flashbacks of Jun Bei’s past, intermingling with her own memories, while struggling to secure her own identity. Although they are one and the same person, Jun Bei’s personality and the choices that she makes are as unfamiliar to her as ever, as she deals with the aftermath that she left behind after her disappearance. Where did Jun Bei disappear to for the last 6 months and what happened to her? Can they still trust her and does Catarina remember anything about what happened? There’s so much to unpack here and the story fills us in on the back story behind her disappearance.
After all the reveals of the last book, I loved how This Cruel Design continues to surprise us with unexpected twists and turns, motives and identities. It’s definitely a series that keeps you on your toes with constant tension of who Catarina can trust, and whether she will finally meet Lachlan and prevent the Hydra virus from overtaking the world. There are some interesting concepts here about gene manipulation and technology, like modders who hack their bodies to make enhancements, compared to naturalists who believe humans evolved like that for a reason. From untapping the subconscious mind and bringing forth memories that may be hidden, to controlling your own body and not letting your mind take over, This Cruel Design explores some interesting and complex concepts.
If you’re looking for an intelligent sci-fi series about gene manipulation, biological warfare and the impact of science and technology on humans, look no further than this series. While it explores some complex theories, it’s definitely easy enough to pick up and dive into due to the straightforward explanations when it comes to these. Paired with a smart, determined heroine, constant surprises and a dependable romance, This Cruel Design delivers as a great follow up to the first book.
Rating: 4 out of 5
This Cruel Design is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$17.99 or from The Book Depository.