Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings: Review


With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read.


"You just have to be strong enough, fearless enough, to open your eyes and really look."

The Murder Complex was one of my favorite books last year. Fast paced and brutal, it was one hell of a ride. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said to The Death Code. In fact, after a year and a half (because I read the ARC of TMC six months before its release) of waiting, the book just can't live up to my expectations. Of course, The Death Code is filled with action, survival and fighting by default, but this time, there are some things that have gone, um, somewhat wrong that diminishes the awesomeness of the whole thing.

Meadow Woodson is one of those things. This is the part that infuriates me the most, because I. Love. Meadow. She's a force of nature, always fighting for survival, always putting her loved ones before anything else, always logical and cunning and smart. While she's still some of those traits, the others have gone into smoke. I understand why that happened. I won't give any spoilers here, but after that ambush at the end of TMC, you can expect a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally, for Meadow. Is it enough to break someone's mental stability? Yes. But is it so drastic that it can make someone loses his or her perspective on what's right and wrong? Is it so extreme that it completely changes one's judgement towards another person? I don't think so. Meadow changes so much in personality that it's almost ridiculous, and she's a shell of her former self in this book. I miss the Meadow in TMC terribly and the one in The Death Code just makes me want to hit her.

We also gain a lot of valuable insight in the book. The history of The Murder Complex, and clandestine experiments. It has enriched the background of the story greatly. The world in TMC is anything but simple, and I appreciate the richness. But good as it might be, it also has its downside, because while the extra information help, it doesn't really change the ultimate goal of the whole series - taking down The Murder Complex and be done with it. I'm not saying that a straightforward goal is a bad thing, but some of the extra information seems redundant when it does absolutely nothing to change the course of the story. However, the extra info does seem to help the book live up to its sci-fi-dystopian-YA-thriller-hybrid, so it isn't a big problem. 

The review won't be complete without talking about the other protagonist - Zephyr. He's virtually the same as in TMC, if not a little bit more cautious. He's still kind of a baby, yeah. But his loyalty and protectiveness really shines in The Death Code. I guess the reason is that Meadow was doing most of the protecting in the previous book, and we were unable to see his true personality. He's also a little bit more radical, which is also fine by me, because he was conservative in The Murder Complex. His loyalty is a constant in the book, and I respect this guy for it. However, despite all his potential, he still doesn't make an imprint in my mind. He's one of the few good things in The Death Code though, and I cherish it.

The Death Code, in terms of action and brutality, is still more than decent. But the sort-of unnecessary emotional wringer that I have to go through (yes, me, because I'm thoroughly annoyed by Meadow) tarnishes the experience. It's not a sequel that I'm completely satisfied with.

Rating: 5.5/10 

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