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This Cruel Design

Mortal Coil Series, Book 2
Narrated by: Skye Bennett
Series: This Mortal Coil, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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. 

©2018 Emily Suvada (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

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a dissapointment

This Mortal Coil sets up an apocalyptic future, overrun by a virus that causes exploding corpses, and requires reverse zombie-ism for survival. Airborne particles of the virus constantly threaten the few remaining above-ground survivors as they use genetic engineering to find a cure. It was a great concept, and I loved the book. I was very excited for This Cruel Design.

Unfortunately, the author decided to abandon the survival/apocalypse theme and instead focused on the "tech" aspect of the story for the sequel. What a pity.

"Tech" is supposed to be short for "technology", but apparently the author is unaware of this definition. The super-human feats performed by some of the characters are simply "Magic", not "Tech". ie. Throwing virus that insta-kill your enemies, seeing through walls, and destroying flying vehicles and pilots with only a thought are examples of "Magic", not "Tech". You could literally replace every mention of the words "Tech", "Code", and "Panel" with "Magic", "Spell", and "Wand" respectively, and not break the story. It's a real shame that the author hammers on these concepts so hard. By the way, If I ever read about "Tech" or "Coding" ever again, I'm going to break something. seriously, every other paragraph contains these 2 generic words. For a group of characters that can alter human genetics with a simple thought, I would expect a better vocabulary to describe their tools.

By 2/3rds of the way into this book, I was bored and lost most interest. I continued to listen to it as background noise during my commutes. I will not be reading anything else in this series.

The disappointing change in direction from the first book to the second stinks of publisher influence on the author to write something that caters to a CG based movie script instead of a good story. The M. Night Shamalan type twists backs up my theory.

I'm sure the 3rd book will have Cat and Jun Bei swapping places and the disembodied Cat will battle the also disembodied Lachlan in a war fought exclusively in VR and networked "Code". at the end Cat will become a sentient "Code" and will protect all human kind from any future virus. Blech.

The reader, Skye Bennet, sounds like a teenage girl, and does a fine job speaking for a couple of the characters, including Cat. However, Skye lacks any range beyond a 16-20 year old girl, and she can't do "voices". This fact is constantly surfacing as most of the characters in this book are male and/or middle-aged. It really distracts from the flow of the story. Skye also consistently mispronounces or improperly emphasizes several words. It is very odd. She speaks "Broadcast English" but mispronounces several words with a British flair.
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This Cruel Design is not a futuristic Sci-Fi story as it wants you to believe. It is a magic fantasy viewed through "Ocular Tech" and rule-breaking physics to enable it's impossible "twists". The story abandons it's origin flavor and drowns in the syrupy mediocrity of inexplainable Technology as it tries to alter is genetic makeup to resemble Kat, The Girl Who Was on Fire.

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Better than the first one, still too much romance

It's pretty emo - but the sci-fi aspects of this book in the series takes an interesting direction regarding consciousness and cognitive functions of our brains. The author knows her science and manages to work in the cool ideas with out losing a second of excitement and action. Both books so far have been pretty much non-stop action with breaks taken for emo moments and romance/teen drama. The ideas are good enough that I soldier through the emoting - a lot of which doesn't really add to the characters - at least, in my opinion. But hey, it is young adult fiction and if it gets kids reading, awesome. I'll put up with some smootchie smootchie.