Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"This Cruel Design"

Emily Suvada is the award-winning author of the Mortal Coil trilogy, a science fiction thriller series for young adults. The first book, This Mortal Coil, won the Oregon Spirit Book Award, and was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and the Readings Young Adult Book Prize.

Suvada applied the Page 69 Test to This Cruel Design, the sequel to This Mortal Coil, and reported the following:
Page 69 (of the US hardcover) of This Cruel Design actually is fairly indicative of rest of the book! I mean, nobody's running or screaming, and there's nothing blowing up on that page, so I guess it's not completely indicative of the book, but it does introduce a new, mysterious character who plays an important role in the book, and even contains a small twist relating to a piece of technology that the main character, Catarina, has installed in her skull. This is a common theme in this series - it's full of implanted technology, and explores both the wonderful ways that bio-engineering could enrich our lives, along with how horrifying it could be if that implanted tech were turned against us, or were to glitch and threaten our freedom or survival.

On page 69, Catarina is building an uneasy alliance with her enemy, while trying to figure out what her plan to stop the outbreak of a mutated strain of a horrifying virus will be. Through this chapter in particular, I'm simultaneously communicating the plan for the plot of the book to the reader - telling them "this is what the characters are going to spend most of the book trying to do". Of course, like all good thrillers, once those plans are laid in place and the characters set off to accomplish them, twists are thrown at them that threaten their safety, like the minor twist on Page 69, and the characters are forced to question everything they think they know.
Visit Emily Suvada's website.

--Mashal Zeringue