Release-Day Review: Contagion by Erin Bowman (Contagion #1)


Contagion by Erin Bowman // VBC ReviewContagion (Contagion #1)
Erin Bowman
Published: July 24, 2018 (HarperTeen)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

After receiving a distress call from a drilling crew on the planet Achlys, the crew of the Odyssey is instructed to head out to the far reaches of the Fringe for a standard search and rescue mission.

However, once they arrive on planet and discover everyone dead and everything in chaos, they know that this isn’t a standard mission.

Now they’ll have to figure out who, or what, could take out an entire team of people all while trying to survive until backup arrives. But as secrets and suspect motivations start to come to light among the crew of the Odyssey it might become every man and woman for themselves.

There are four perspectives readers get: That of Nova, the pilot of the Odyssey, kicked out of the military due to a genetic disorder—she has a lot to prove, and potentially lose, with this piloting job. Thea, an intern with Hevetz Industries helping one of their top scientists—she’s overlooked due to her young age, but she’s resourceful. Dr. Lisbeth Tarlow, the aforementioned scientist, infamously known as the only survivor of a previous attempt to drill on Achlys—she definitely has kept her own secrets all these years. And finally, Toby the IT technician who is opposed to everything the Hevetz Industries stands for and is very out spoken in his disgruntlement.

The beginning of Contagion throws a lot at readers. Besides setting up all the various characters—those with perspectives and those without—we are also getting a background on the current political climate within the Union (aka United Planetary Coalition) which, based on how things play out in the story, will probably come more into play in the next book. Contagion itself focuses mainly on our ragtag group of people figuring out what happened on Achlys.

I did love the way Erin Bowman weaves the various perspectives into the story and with that how she sets up this mystery of potential goings on behind the scenes, sowing this sense of distrust. I feel hard pressed to say I completely trusted any of the characters.

However, I felt like Thea represented the “every(wo)man.” She kind of speaks for the reader. She’s the character who is the most removed from any political ties, that her perspective really took a step back and was good at showing the full picture of what needed to happen to survive. I really loved seeing her character go from being overlooked due to her intern status, to being the one making some tough decisions.

Erin Bowman really crafted an engaging and visual story in Contagion. I could see everything playing out in my mind as I read the words on the page. It calls to mind the best sci-fi movies. Fast-paced and full of twists and turns. There’s still enough mystery left regarding the Contagion itself to propel things towards the sequel.

Sexual content: none

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