Monday, July 16, 2018

ARC Review: Contagion by Erin Bowman

Title: Contagion (Contagion #1)
Author: Erin Bowman

Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 432
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Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Jonathan Maberry, and horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, this pulse-pounding, hair-raising, utterly terrifying novel is the first in a duology from the critically acclaimed author of the Taken trilogy.

After receiving a distress call from a drill team on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is sent into deep space to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

When they arrive, they find the planet littered with the remains of the project—including its members’ dead bodies. As they try to piece together what could have possibly decimated an entire project, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

It's no secret around my blog that I LOVE horror! Horror books, horror movies, horror shows - I love them all. So when I saw this compared to 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, but set in space, I knew it was going to be the book for me!

Contagion begins by introducing us to the crew who is dragged into this rescue mission that they aren't at all qualified for. The main characters are Thea, a microbiology intern who's assisting a renowned scientist, and Nova, a pilot who really isn't ready for a mission this intense. Both girls were interesting characters with well developed backstories and I ended up really enjoying both of them. The side characters were equally well written, although there is of course one that I utterly despise.

Dylan, the captain of the crew, is a complete moron without a single redeeming quality. She's set up as a romantic interest, but I honestly couldn't have cared less if she'd been eaten in the second chapter. She had no qualms about risking every single other person under her command to serve her own interests. I did understand her initial reasoning, but it came to a point where I just couldn't believe that anyone in a military command position would be that stupid. But I digress.

Contagion starts slowly, but the action quickly picks up once the rescue crew makes it to the planet that issued the distress signal. Things go south quickly when they realize that they're too late. The crew they've come to help is dead or missing and they have no idea why, and no idea whether they should stay to find out.

Like I said earlier, the main selling point of this book was the horror aspect. It's in the FIRST sentence of the synopsis! And, while this was an interesting book with an undeniable creep factor, it really wasn't terrifying. I love the idea of having to unravel what happened to wipe out an entire crew, but the way that they got there and the repetitiveness of some of the horror left me wanting more. That isn't to say that it was bad, by any means! I think a lot of people who are less eager to be kept up at night with the lights on will probably love this. Personally, I expect more scares from a good horror book.

Still, the story was a good one. There isn't much I can say without spoilers, but the whodunnit aspect of Contagion was fantastically done and there were multiple twists that surprised me. This book is fast paced with a creepy atmosphere! It does end on a cliffhanger, but not a terribly frustrating one, and there is a tiny hint of romance. If you're looking for a good, creepy science fiction thriller, this is probably a book you'll love! Just don't come looking for anything as terrifying as 28 Days Later.