Contagion by Teri Terry
Illustrated by: N/A
Series: Dark Matter #1
Expected Publication Date: May 18th 2017, Orchard Books
Length: 459 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: YA Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Epidemic Fiction
Where Did I Get It? I snagged myself an Exclusive Early Proof at YALC
Blurb: (I can’t find an actual official blurb and Goodreads doesn’t have a summary up yet either so I’m going to copy out what’s on the cover of my proof copy instead!!)
An epidemic is sweeping the country.
You are among the infected. There is no cure; and you cannot be permitted to infect others.
The 5% of the infected who survive are dangerous and will be taken into the custody of the army.
YOU ARE NOW UNDER QUARANTINE.
Three teenagers may be the only hope against a terrifying and mysterious disease.
Love. Power. Survival. Transformation.
Eroooo… Eroooo… Eroooo…
Alarms reverberate through my skull, high-pitched and insistent. I scramble out of bed. Disbelief fights reality: how do you think the unthinkable? The fail-safes have failed. This is really happening.
My Review: I was so excited to get a copy of this at YALC – I just loved the sound of it. I have a bit of a thing for epidemic fiction (is that a thing?) and I turned up extra early one day just to try and be one of the lucky ones who bagged themselves a proof.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that this story was set in the UK – so many sweeping epidemic tales are based in America, it was nice to read one based in places I knew for a change. I say nice, it was vaguely disturbing being able to properly visualise the spread of the infection, but that’s an element I hadn’t realised I didn’t get from all the American stories.
I enjoyed Contagion – it was incredibly easy to read and I raced through it at quite a pace, unwilling to put it down unless I had to. It is very much a ‘first book’ though, presumably of a trilogy but at least a pair because the story didn’t so much end as leave you hanging off a cliff edge. Extra frustrating when you are reading it before it’s even come out – the next one isn’t going to be out for aaaaaaaages!!!
I loved how the story was told between the three main characters – Shay, Callie and Callie’s older brother Kai – giving you eyes in multiple places and different perspectives on what was going on.
Their perspectives were all very different for bigger reasons than just being different people – Callie is dead (don’t shout at me – that’s not really a spoiler, she’s only alive for about two pages at the start and you know she’s going to be dead immediately), Shay is one of the 5% who survive the infection and Kai is one of the very few who is immune to it.
After dying at the research centre on the Shetland Islands where the infection breaks out, Callie is best described as a ghost – she can float and fly and squeeze through impossibly tiny gaps, people can’t see her or hear her and she can’t touch them either. She’s eleven years old, sassy, clever and incredibly grumpy that she’s dead (as you would be).
Kai, her brother, is handsome, angry and strong. Refusing to give up until he learns what became of his sister after she disappeared, he is like a dog with a bone, even when what he discovers leads him deeper into the mystery of the infection than he has any right to go.
Shay survived the infection and is now being hunted by the army and haunted by Callie’s ghost. With Callie urging her on, Kai at her side and everyone she has ever loved in danger of dying or already dead, she is determined to find a way to end the spread of the mysterious super-disease, no matter the cost.
There were a few twists and turns in the story but I saw most of them coming – not in such a way that ruined it, but it wasn’t as big a shock as I think it was intended to be. With the exception of discovering Shay was a girl. That wasn’t supposed to be a twist but it took until page 99 for a definite gendered term or description to actually be used and I had more or less made my mind up that she was a slightly nerdy, gay guy only to discover that actually she’s a tomboyish girl. This wasn’t an issue so much as it was just a bit confusing, though it didn’t change the story in any way.
Will I be rushing out to find book 2 whenever it arrives? Probably not, but if it turns up in the library, I will definitely check it out.
My Rating: 4/5*