Format: E-Galley, 432 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Fans of Alien, Outbreak, and World War Z will love this spine-chilling, zombie horror film-esque novel about a search-and-rescue mission gone terrifyingly wrong.
It got in us and most are dead.
Decklan flew for help.
Don’t trust the kid.
Responding to the distress call was supposed to be a straightforward mission. But when Thea Sadik and her crew land on the distant planet of Achlys, they find destruction and devastation . . . and no survivors.
As they try to piece together the puzzle of who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some SOS messages should be ignored—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.
Erin Bowman takes suspense to new levels in this heart-racing first installment in the Achlys duology. Fans of Jonathan Maberry, Rick Yancey, and Madeline Roux will delight in the electrifying horror that Contagion so vividly brings to life.
"Follow the bloody footprints they said. What could possibly go wrong they said."
Contagion, by author Erin Bowman, is the first installment in what appears to be a duology with the sequel releasing in the Spring of 2019. Contagion is an action-packed, intense, terrifying sci-fi survival story that reads like a zombie horror film. From the opening chapter there’s never a lull in the action, as the crew must confront the demons that await them on Achlys—and the secrets among their own that threaten their survival. Contagion is perfect for fans of flicks like Legend, Resident Evil, 28 Days Later, Outbreak, and Contagion (the homonymous movie).
Suspense and horror film fans will clamor for this hair-raising novel. Contagion is filled with dynamic characters. From the brilliant young intern (Althea Sadik) who’ll do anything to escape Achlys and reunite with a family she’s not even sure is alive, to the wanna-be military pilot (Nova Singh) who’s crushing on the crew’s captain (Dylan Lowe) who is aware that her father may be on Achlys, to the secretive doctor with a menacing past (Doctor Lisbeth Tarlow), to the mysterious lone survivor (Ceon Rivli) with strange abilities—each of the characters is incredibly vibrant and richly detailed.
Thea is only seventeen and the youngest member on the rescue team to Achlys. Her crew disparages her for her youth and inexperience (and even for being a girl), but she stands up for herself, isn’t afraid to question authority when she doesn’t trust her leaders’ judgment or motivations, and follows her instincts to survive. She’s a fierce protagonist that all readers will root for. Nova spent 18 months training to be the best fighter pilot in the Union, only to be told that she would wash out because of issues with her eyes. Not, unlike Thea, Nova has a whole lot to prove, especially to Dylan who she has a crush on.
One of Contagion's strongest assets is its world building, which shouldn't be surprising if you've read the authors previous series called Taken. There is the abandoned base that on a planet called Achlys, which is months away from where the crew originates. For one of our characters, this is a very familiar place since she was part of the original Black Quarry Project. The author's descriptions of the red smears on the walls, to no sign of any bodies, makes for a very Alien-esque setting. Add frigid temps. and the possibility of toxic air where you must stay in your environmental suits at all times, yeah, I was totally sold.
This is the kind of story where anyone can be a villain, both out of necessity, and out of something else. Will the villain be the Captain who rushes a crew of 7 to a distress signal months away? Or, will it be the brilliant doctor who finally has an intern that she can train? Or, will it be the sole survivor of something so terrifying, that anyone can be infected at a moments notice? For me, Contagion started slowly, but ramped up on the action once the rescue crew makes it to the planet.
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. And, then they meet the mysterious Ceon who I will not talk about. Why? Because anything I can possibly say about him, would border on spoiling other aspects of the story, including the shocking cliffhanger ending.
Will I read the sequel? YES! You know what happens when you ignore Ripley's warnings? Very, very bad things. So, make sure you pay attention to the warnings before proceeding, or your life may be in jeopardy and you may never get off the planet!