Few understand the true horror that lies in the empty unknown of space, but Erin Bowman nails it in Contagion. Read this one with the lights on!
Gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures, Contagion is the perfect intersection of science fiction and horror I couldn’t look away.
A twisting, turning, edge-of-your-seat blend of science fiction, thriller, and horror. The pace, action, and tension are explosive from page one.
Hevetz Industries intern Althea Sadik is in the Trios planetary system assisting renowned microbiologist Dr. Lisbeth Tarlow when a storm forces the evacuation of their research facility. Most personnel are sent home, but the forewoman orders Thea and Lisbeth to board the Odyssey, which is traveling to the planet Achlys to investigate a distress call. The ship arrives to discover the remote rock strewn with corpses. A now-deceased engineer has left a disturbing video advising Hevetz to abandon the operation, plus a note scrawled in blood: “It got in us and most are dead. Decklan flew for help. Don’t trust the kid.” The Odyssey crew combs Achlys in search of survivors and the cause of the carnage. Unfortunately for them, they find both. First in a duology, this horror-tinged sci-fi thriller from Bowman (Retribution Rails) unfolds from multiple viewpoints via a kaleidoscopic narrative, developing character while escalating pace and ratcheting up tension. Bowman’s plot is intricate and action-packed, her worldbuilding is impressive yet economical, and the book climaxes in a gripping cliffhanger that sets up the sequel. Ages 13–up. (July)
★ “Bowman’s plot is intricate and action-packed, her worldbuilding is impressive yet economical, and the book climaxes in a gripping cliffhanger.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A twisting, turning, edge-of-your-seat blend of science fiction, thriller, and horror. The pace, action, and tension are explosive from page one.” — ALA Booklist
“A solid, creepy page-turner” — Kirkus Reviews
“Gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures, Contagion is the perfect intersection of science fiction and horror I couldn’t look away.” — Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae and Unearthed
“Few understand the true horror that lies in the empty unknown of space, but Erin Bowman nails it in Contagion. Read this one with the lights on!” — Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series and Star Wars: Rebel Rising
“Erin Bowman’s Contagion is everything I want in my science fiction: a cast of smart characters on a desperate rescue mission forced to confront an elusive and unstoppable enemy. I absolutely loved this layered and thrilling adventure and can’t wait to dive back into this world again.” — Veronica Rossi, New York Times bestselling author of the Under the Never Sky series
Gr 6 Up—In this sci-fi thriller, Bowman switches genres once again in this first installment of a planned duology. After a distress signal is received from a far-off moon, a rescue team is hastily assembled to investigate; members include Dr. Tarlow, an aging microbiologist; Thea, her teen intern; and Nova, a temp pilot who was forced to leave the military due to a medical condition. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, which helps to move the narrative along and to build empathy for some of the protagonists. Some characters, though, are less developed, such as Toby, the computer specialist who spends most of his time either picking on Thea or spouting conspiracy theories, and Dylan, the leader of their team, who is unbelievably incompetent and impulsive. Nova's crush on her has no discernible basis, other than serving as a plot device. Appropriate technology is explained and does not overtake the story. World-building is handled in a short prologue and in brief descriptions embedded in the story which do not detract from the action. The plot does rely on several tropes, namely a powerful, evil corporation, a secretive rebel military, as well as a mysterious infection. VERDICT A strong pick for readers seeking a fast-paced story with capable female protagonists, limited gore, and an emphasis on survival rather than romance.—Judy Poyer, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD
A search-and-rescue mission on a hostile planet results in a horrific discovery in this dread-filled sci-fi thriller.In response to a distress signal, the Odyssey crew sets out to investigate a drilling base on Achlys, a fringe planet harboring something sinister beneath its harsh surface. Seventeen-year-old Thea Sadik certainly values her internship at drilling conglomerate Hevetz Industries working for esteemed microbiologist Lisbeth Tarlow, but the young intern suspects that Tarlow's tragic past may help to uncover Achlys' evil secrets. Nova Singh, an 18-year-old brown-skinned pilot, meanwhile tries to act as peacemaker for her fiery cousin, a Hevetz mechanic, and wrestles with her feelings for the headstrong female captain, Dylan Lowe. The team's search for survivors leads them to an abandoned ship full of deceased personnel as well as a stack of bodies in one of the drilling sites. Using an omnipresent third-person narration to clue readers in at key moments, Bowman (Retribution Rails, 2017, etc.) sets up an intriguing universe, providing small doses of political intrigue that suggest something more grandiose in a potential sequel. Self-serving acts plague the Odyssey crew from the onset, and the author does an admirable job of explaining their motivations even if the answers prove unsatisfying at times. When one of their own is infected by an unknown contagion, the group must fend off an aggressive outbreak. The book assumes a white default.A solid, creepy page-turner. (Science fiction/horror. 13-adult)