I’ve been wanting to read this for so long and I read the first 30 pages about 10 times (when a book is on your currently reading for 2 months but you keep not getting around to actually reading it) and boy did this surprise me when I FINALLY read it all. My inner science nerd is thriving off this series!
When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.
Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.
There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5/5)
Like most times when I read a book, I either read the blurb and forget or just not read the blurb at all. In this case, I think I didn’t even read the blurb because the book is just stunning, I’d seen it so often around Instagram and my paperback copy has the coolest DNA pattern sprayed on the edges. To my surprise, this book was the awesome futuristic sci-fi fantasy I’d been craving for so long since Thunderhead.
If you didn’t read the blurb above, this book is set in a future where human genetic alterations have been taken to another level through the invention of panels that live within our arms and can download apps to change our appearance and traits. However, as you quickly learn through the protagonist’s attempts at staying alive; a bad virus has been going rampant for the past 2 years. Plot twist: to avoid the infection, you have to EAT the infected or risk exploding into a million pieces that spread the virus even more. This virus was a little mindblowing at first and the whole world has such an awesome concept that you usually see in movies, so to read it was a nice change. The best part of this book, in my opinion, was how well everything was explained, specifically the science.
Throughout the whole book, there is a lot of science involved in how the genetic alterations are made and Emily Suvada did an incredible job at explaining it all. As a bit of a nerd who loved her genetics and biology in high school, it was pretty breezy for me to get through and have some previous knowledge but her explanations, in general, were so simple, to the point and easy to understand that I know for a fact that anyone would understand the complex genetics concepts involved in the world building and plot. Who needs to fact check when everything makes so much sense with a well-written explanation. This is the best thing that stood out for me for this category!
Emily’s writing, in general, was so well-done, easy to read and made me want to read more and more. The chapters were fast-paced and jammed with action from start to finish. There were only a few instances in the plot that wasn’t super enjoyable, most notably the romance. With better writing, those plot points may have been integrated a bit better (with a tad less cringe). The romance wasn’t horrible by any means but needed much more development and seemed too predictable to my liking.
The characters themselves were good, the protagonist Catarina was such an interesting character that showed a lot of strength and determination. I also liked that her character was so smart, confident and also so different to other characters I’ve read from before in a strange, unique way. Her skills as a genetic coder and hacker are so underestimated throughout the book though that I sometimes forgot she was so good at it. I guess the damsel in distress part of the plot seeped through in some areas.
Cole was also another interesting character that was a bit stereotypical in YA – the silent, brooding, quietly caring and amazing yet SUPER duper strong and all powerful. Finding out his past and his history was still one of the most mysterious aspects of the books that give him quite a nice character development. I honestly didn’t pay much attention to other side characters, and unfortunately, maybe because I didn’t, they certainly felt a bit too 2D for me. I was too busy trying to devour the book because it had me on the edge of my bed! It was so enjoyable, it was packed and I mean PACKED full of plot twists and turns at every point. So many events became pivotal in the story and I’m genuinely so excited for the sequel (which I hope I can buy soon!).
Overall, I’m honestly so happy I finally got around to reading the rest of this book. I highly recommend this to other sci-fi YA fans and other science nerds like myself. It was one wild fun ride.
Have you read this novel? What did you think? I’m sure keen for This Cruel Design!
Until next time,
xx Tracy ヽ(･∀･)ﾉ