(DNF) Review: “The Death Code” by Lindsay Cummings

Title: The Death Code (The Murder Complex #2)22836576

Author: Lindsay Cummings

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Rating: ⭐

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

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I didn’t recommend The Murder Complex, the first book in Lindsay Cummings’ debut duology. But that one ended in a cliffhanger and the curious part of me still wanted to know how things turn out for Meadow, Zephyr and the rest of the characters still alive at the end of book one, so I picked up The Death Code.

I did not finish it.

The Death Code was, more or less, like its predecessor in that both books had the same problems. Though there were definitely more effort put into worldbuilding and character development, it still felt patchy and half-cooked.

The first part of TDC was the best part of the whole duology. Continuing where TMC left off, we find Meadow and Zephyr separated – Meadow captured and, together with Sketch, imprisoned and tortured by the Initiative; Zephyr, meanwhile, found safety with the Resistance. Things became more interesting when Lark’s twin sister, Sparrow, finally surfaced.

However, in the second part, things started to get weird.

After being rescued by the Resistance, Meadow, Zephyr and Sketch venture out of the Perimeter. They are captured by a group of outsiders who, because of lack of food, eats human flesh (😲‼️ 😲 ‼️) Just before being cooked, the trio were (again) rescued. The man brings the trio to the New Militia – a group built upon what remained of the US military (at least that’s how things seemed to me).

Getting a short history lesson from the General, one of the NM’s leaders, Meadow finds out more about the world her mother ruined. The general then asks Meadow to join the NM and fight with them. She agrees seeing this as her only way to rescue her family who are being held captive by the Initiative at the Ridge, another experimental site which was said to be more brutal than the Shallows.

I stopped reading 66% into the book. The weak writing was just too hard to ignore. Add to that the stilted character development and the wonky worldbuilding.

I really wanted to like this duology because the idea behind it was interesting and I honestly think Lindsay Cummings could have done more with it. Instead, she gave readers something unoriginal. Both TMC and TDC strayed too close to the lines drawn by earlier YA dystopian series -The Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium, The Maze Runner – almost to the point of copying them. It was just something I couldn’t ignore.

This duology was a big let-down for me.