Contagion — Erin Bowman

Contagion (Contagion, #1)

TITLE: Contagion
AUTHOR: Erin Bowman
SERIES: Contagion, #1
RELEASES: July 24th, 2018; HarperTeen
GENRE: Sci-fi/Horror

SYNOPSIS: 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.

I am a huge fan of sci-fi/horror mash-up stories, whether they’re in books, film, whatever, and after how much I enjoyed Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road duology last year, I knew I had to check this out! It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, but I was also a little bit nervous because I wasn’t 100% sure whether Erin’s writing would translate as well to this setting.

It got in us and most are dead. Decklan flew for help. Don’t trust the kid.


Thankfully, it absolutely did, and I was hooked from the very first page. This story was fast-paced, creepy, and full of intrigue and back-stabbing. There are so many different catalysts coming together to create this perfect storm of dread and suspense, whether it’s the infection itself, the people who already are infected, the storms on the planet they’re trapped on, malfunctioning equipment, or even just the fear that comes with not knowing who on their team they can or can’t trust—the distress rolling off of these characters is downright tangible, and you can’t help but fall right into that fear alongside them.

“Trust me when I say the last thing you want to test is the power of nature.”

Not only is the fear factor there, but the atmosphere in the storytelling is fantastic. Part of why I struggle with sci-fi sometimes is that it can be hard to fully immerse myself, but with Contagion, I felt like I was right there on Achlys with the crew. Something unique to this story, among other “infection” stories, is that everything feels perfectly plausible and imaginable, which lends another layer to the terror—there’s no major suspension of disbelief required to get sucked in to this one.

Every lie he’d told—every half truth he’d yet to utter—was purposeful. If the Odyssey crew didn’t fight him, he could potentially save them all.

On top of everything else, the story switches perspectives (all in third person, so it flows very smoothly), constantly giving you just pieces here and there of a character’s motives. Right to the end, even the reader can’t ever be entirely certain of who to trust, and it’s such a fantastic touch! There are several characters, each of them genuinely important, though some feel more three-dimensional than others, of course, such as the teen girls who serve as our two primary “narrators”: Thea, a Korean-Turkish biomedical intern, and Nova, a queer black pilot with a sight impairment (and the representation is executed well, in my opinion).

“Follow the bloody footprints, they said. What could go wrong, they said.”

All in all, Contagion was a delightful read from start to finish. I never once found myself bored, and honestly, now all I can think about is how long I’m going to have to wait on the sequel, which I desperately need right now! So, if you’re a fan of sci-fi or horror (but especially both), I strongly recommend this one.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to HarperTeen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!




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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

29 thoughts on “Contagion — Erin Bowman

    1. Thank you! ♥ I wish I had pre-ordered a finished copy. Now I’m on my book ban, so I just added it to my wishlist instead. My partner is great about buying me finished copies of ARCs that I loved whenever my birthday and Christmas roll around (whereas my mom will go, “Didn’t you already read that?!” lol!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel you, I’m trying to make a little list of pre-orders I want to place (and pay off) when my ban is not in place for that little while at the end of August. I know I for sure need to pre-order the UK hardback of Muse of Nightmares and I may also pre-order the new Six of Crows collector’s edition.

        Liked by 1 person

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