I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada. I love these books and just recently met Emily. She is so incredibly nice and intelligent. I hope you get a chance to listen to her talk about her books and science. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.
This Cruel Design
by Emily Suvada
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Genre: Young Adult — Science Fiction
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.
– Deleted scene
Oooo, I’m excited to share a deleted scene from This Cruel Design. I’m a writer who makes wild, giant changes to their manuscripts while editing them, and an entire plotline in the first act of This Cruel Design was reworked in edits because it wasn’t working for the pace of the book.
First – a warning: if you haven’t read the first book, This Mortal Coil, there are SPOILERS in this section! Don’t do it! STOP NOW AND TURN BACK!!! This will seriously spoil large elements of the book!
Okay – let’s keep going 😀 This scene was one I loved but ended up cutting completely – Cat has been taken by Cartaxus and was knocked out at the end of the last chapter. Let’s join her as she wakes…
I wake to the sound of voices. Fleeting, muffled, strange. Dragging me from my sleep and back into my skin. I want nothing more than to ignore them and crawl back into the quiet corners of my mind, but I can’t ignore the growing sense that something is wrong.
“She’s waking up.”
The voice is familiar. My audio tech sharpens the sound, filtering the muffled tones away, dragging it into clarity. I open my eyes, but my vision is a blur, and everything looks strangely blue. There’s a pleasant warmth enveloping me, but my sense of gravity is wrong—like I’m standing up and lying down at the same time. Strands of hair tickle my face, brushing my eyelashes, but when I try to push them away, my hands won’t respond.
I can’t move them at all.
Adrenaline kicks through me. I yank my arms forward, trying to free them, suddenly remembering Cole’s panel crashing, the EMP blinking in the back of the jeep. Cartaxus took us. Metal cuffs bite into my wrists as I struggle, and there’s something chillingly strange about the way my body is moving.
Not moving. Floating.
I blink desperately, trying to clear my vision, and my surroundings sharpen into a room with polished concrete walls and triangular lights on the ceiling. Two figures are standing by an industrial genkit on the wall, a row of uniformed guards behind them. Everything still looks blue, and my vision is warped, a strange weight tugging behind me when I twist my neck.
I’m underwater in a tank in the Zarathustra lab, and there is a cable jutting from the back of my head.
Panic takes me like a fire. I cough, my lungs locking. Logically, I know this liquid is breathable, but I can’t make my body believe it. I choke, swallowing a gulp, my instincts urging me to kick upwards, to spit it out and drag in a lungful of air, but I can’t. The tank stretches all the way to the ceiling, curved glass with no buttons or handles, keeping me trapped beneath the surface. Memories of experiments from my childhood batter my senses. I’ve been trying to protect myself from them, to keep them at bay, but waking like this has shattered something inside me. Suddenly I am eight years old again, locked in an immersion tank, waking screaming from a badly-coded anesthetic app. I jerk against the handcuffs, screaming into the liquid, images of scalpels and wires racing through my mind like a flock of panicked birds.
“Dammit, drain it!” One of the figures by the genkit presses his hands to the glass. A red-haired man, his green eyes wide, warped by the tank’s curved walls. A jolt runs through me. Dax. He’s in a white lab coat, its front splattered with blood. His ear has grown back, but he looks haggard, with dark shadows hanging beneath his eyes. “Catarina!” he shouts through the glass. “You need to calm down. Do you want them to sedate you?”
Them. The word chills me. Dax isn’t the one in charge here. My eyes cut to the row of guards lined up against the wall, the figure at the genkit. The guards are all wearing mirrored visors and sleek hex-weave armor, and the man at the genkit is wearing a pale gray uniform I haven’t seen before. They must be from another division of Cartaxus. One with the power to override Dax. My stomach twists. I don’t want to be sedated. I need to get out of here and figure out what the hell is going on.
“No!” I try to shout, but the sound comes out garbled through the liquid, and the effort burns my throat. I shake my head desperately, choking in a lungful, trying to force myself to relax.
“Okay, hold on, we’re draining it!” Dax shouts.
A click sounds beneath me. A metal drain opens at the bottom of the tank, a rush of silver bubbles rising from narrow vents, racing over my legs, lifting my hair in a hurricane of long, dark strands. The handcuffs around my wrists unlock, and the cable in the back of my head retracts with a jolt, snaking back into the floor. The blue liquid in the tank spirals down in a whirlpool, pulling me with it until I hit the drain. I fall into a crouch, the surface breaking over my head, dragging my hair across my face. The liquid drops to knee-height and stops, sloshing against the glass, and the drain at my feet clicks shut again.
I stand unsteadily, my muscles weak and shaky without the support of the liquid. I press one hand against the glass for support, using the other to shove my wet hair from my face. Without thinking, I drag in a breath, and air rushes into my lungs.
My chest shudders instantly. I retch, doubling over, tears swimming in my eyes. I drop back to my hands and knees, choking, coughing up a mess of mucus and blue liquid. My sinuses had just got used to the sensation of breathing underwater, and now the rush of air through them feels like I’m swallowing fire.
“Just try to breathe normally,” Dax says, his hand still pressed to the glass.
I gag, spitting out a mouthful of the liquid, and drag my hand across my mouth. “C-Cole,” I splutter, staring up through the wet strands of my hair. “What have you done to him?”
The man at the genkit, the one in the pale gray uniform, turns around, frowning. “Really? That’s your first question?”
I blink, scraping my hands over my eyes to clear away the nanosolution. The man steps away from the genkit, unjacking a cable from his panel. He runs his hand back through his dark hair and looks me up and down, his brow furrowed. His eyes meet mine, and my heart kicks in my chest.
I know him.
Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.
Prize: 2 copies of This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (USA only)
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Thank you for stopping by today! If you haven’t yet, make sure you pick up This Mortal Coil (book one) and This Cruel Design!