Contagion (Contagion Series #1)

Contagion (Contagion Series #1)

by Erin Bowman


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Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Mystery

Perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, Jonathan Maberry, and horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, this pulse-pounding, hair-raising, utterly terrifying novel is the first in a duology from the critically acclaimed author of the Taken trilogy.

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.


“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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062574169
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Series: Erin Bowman's Contagion Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 120,344
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.01(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family, and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin is the author of Contagion and its sequel, Immunity, the Taken trilogy, Vengeance Road, and Retribution Rails. You can visit her online at

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Contagion (Contagion Series #1) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
DarqueDreamer More than 1 year ago
Contagion is thrilling and heart pounding! It's a creepy, infection story set in the far reaches of space. This one will grip you until the end and leave you wanting more! When I heard the news about Erin's new book being a Science Fiction story, I knew I had to read it ASAP! I fell in love with her writing in Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails, and this one was no different. I was captivated from page one and read it from start to finish in one sitting. The writing was fantastic. There was never a moment where I didn't feel like I was right beside the characters. I got thrills, chills and heart pounding enjoyment. I could see everything happening clearly as if I were watching a movie. As far as the plot was concerned, I had expected a little more originality. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking about movies like Alien, Ghosts of Mars, and Event Horizon. Though the story was exciting and captivating (and I loved all those movies), there were only a few moments that felt fresh and unique. I loved the character development, though. Erin has a great way of helping the reader get to know the characters in the moment, as the story is happening, without throwing things at you all at once. With this story being told from several different perspectives, I got to know the different characters of the Odyssey without feeling like my head was spinning, and I was rooting for all of them to make it out alive! Was Contagion worth the read? Heck yes it was! It was well written, creepy, and had a killer cliff hanger ending! I loved the science behind the contagion, the adventure through space, and the interesting characters, and, even though the plot wasn't always unpredictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with this free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
Contagion is a zombie-ish horror that is a thrill ride from start to finish. Imagine watching something like Resident Evil – okay they weren’t particularly great movies but still – the tension that is built up in such a terrifying scenario? That is what Contagion maintains throughout. Personally, I felt it delivered very well on what is promised in the blurb. The story set-up, that is, the world is explained in two prefaces – one for the development of the planetary systems, and another setting the stage for where the plot will unfold – its short, to the point, and lets us plunge smoothly into the action from the first chapter. The crew from Sotor goes to answer a distress call from Black Quarry on F-1, a journey that has them traveling through light years in space. When they reach, things are eerie and spooky, to say the least. Dead bodies around, no clear cause of death, and the actual rescue team arriving more than a day behind them, their captain Dylan orders them all to do a complete sweep of the drilling operation, because her father was the commander and she wants to know what happened to him. Around the one-third mark, the horror portion of the book starts, with them being victimized by an unknown contagion that spreads rapidly through bodily fluids and scratches. Then come the zombie hordes! (Okay not exactly zombies but I liked that line) It then becomes a fight for survival and finding a way to get off the god-forsaken planet, even though Dylan is stubborn about it. One after another crew members are getting picked off, and you are left on the edge of your seat wondering about questions like who will survive, what exactly is causing it, what is the doctor hiding, and many more. I admit I had to put the book down several times because the anxiety was riding high. The book is from multiple third-person perspectives; primarily it is Nova (the pilot) and Thea (the intern) narrating, but occasionally there are also others, including the infected. It doesn’t go much into characterization, at least not overtly – the developments in the relationships between this ragtag crew is subtle, and the dynamic between most of them is hostile, which is understandable considering the circumstances. There is no romance, but Nova harbors feelings for Dylan, and which makes it difficult for her to leave her behind, but doesn’t keep her from opposing the latter’s bull-headedness. I was definitely not a fan of Dylan, because 50% of the problems arose because she couldn’t be bothered to listen to warnings, and she basically steamrolls over the other characters, risking their lives. Thea was an interesting counterpart to Dylan, because she is level-headed for the most part, and pragmatic enough to consider the best survival options. There are various antagonists throughout the book, but perhaps human nature is the biggest antagonist for them. Their troubles may be from nature, and environment but their circumstances are worsened by emotionality. The ending sets itself a bit apart from the tone of the rest of the book, maybe because it goes to explain some background as well as set up things for the next book. The politics of the two systems is lightly touched upon in this book, but it does provide a strong base for the direction of the next story. I am very excited for what the sequel will hold, even if might not be a fast-paced thriller like this one, and how Nova and Thea will prevent an inter-galactic war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! The characters are well-fleshed, with some you root for, some you love to hate, and others you just hate. Lots of suspense and thrills. Definitely a must-read, and I'm already starting the next one! I need to know what happens next!
Kimberly Francis More than 1 year ago
Absolutely devoured this book! I meant to only read a few chapters one day and then just couldnt put it down. Author did a great job of keeping the suspense going and giving plenty nail biting moments. Very excited for the next book and hopefully more books from this author.
thatnicolle More than 1 year ago
First of all, I want to say that I am loving this current emergence of YA sci-fi. I love sci-fi, but I'm less interested in the how and why of space and more of the adventure and drama. Erin Bowman captured my attention with her amazing western duology and when I saw that her next novel was a thriller set in space my attention was immediately grabbed. Contagion follows a small research crew that is diverted from their evacuation procedure to check on the status of a top secret facility on an uninhabited planet. The facility has gone dark and the crew is tasked to find out what happened and to reestablish contact. The majority of the book is told through three viewpoints; two are the crew members, one is an unknown survivor of the facility. What follows is a gripping and tense story that you won't want to put down. In fact, you'll probably want to yell at your book a bit in a vain attempt to keep the characters from making poor choices. Even though this is a sci-fi thriller, all the choices sense with the situation that they are put in. I appreciate the fact that the author didn't have her characters make a choice that didn't fit with their personality/training just to move the plot along. This reminds me of Alien/Aliens and a bit of the video game Prey. If you're a fan of either of those or are just looking for a good book to pick up for some thrilling reading this fall I highly recommend that you grab Contagion.
storiesandsours More than 1 year ago
Contagion was awesome! I didn’t even really know what I was getting into when I started this book. I thought ‘sci-fi, yeah!’, but I had no idea there was an element of horror involved. It turns out it doesn’t matter because Erin Bowman writes amazing stories no matter the genre. They always seem to start off really exciting, and this was no exception. Contagion was so intense from the start that I had to set it down until I was ready for that kind of tension. Well, I picked it back up and finished it in one sitting. It was that good. A special bonus...there was no romance!
MaleehaS More than 1 year ago
I love me a twisty, dark, sci-fi thriller! I received this book in a subscription box and I'm so glad for it because I've been wanting to read something just like this for a while, but nothing was holding my interest. This definitely did. Contagion is the book that The Maze Runner didn't live up to be. It's gripping and action-packed. I've read a few reviews that complained about "too many character POVs," but I think Bowman did a great job with it and we got to know the characters that truly mattered. I can't wait for the concluding sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not gonna lie, I've wanted this book since I heard of its existence no long before its release. Seriously though, I think I found out about it maybe two weeks before its release. I absolutely love a good scifi story with a monster-vibe. There are a lot of scifi stories out there, but my absolute favorites are ones like Contagion, and those are surprisingly hard to find. I suppose this is the time I now admit I have a thing for monster stories in general, no matter the genre. One other thing before I really get into this: the description says this is great for fans of the Resident Evil film. I haven't actually seen the movie, but it's based on the Resident Evil games and I actually played Resident Evil 5 last year. If you loved that game, then you will love this book. That is an absolutely amazing and accurate marketing comparison. Setting Lets talk about the setting and atmosphere of this novel for a second because that is quite possibly my favorite part. For me, a story really comes alive when the setting plays such an integral role in the plot. I mean, this story just would not be as incredible if it were in any other setting. Bowman plops you down on a planet you are just learning about. Many of the rules are unknown and the ones you are aware of, are enough to put you on edge. The planet itself is dangerous. Then you add in what they find on the plant? There are no words to describe it. It's absolutely chilling and brilliant. One of the things I really enjoyed about this, was that Bowman helped build the world of Contagion through conspiracy theories. If you ask me, conspiracy theories are something that we easily discount as humans but they're also something we are oddly attracted to as well. And that attraction leads us to often times store that information even though we don't believe it. I think that's brilliant. It establishes the character who's spouting the theories, and it helps build the world while keeping you on your toes. Because you don't know how much is conspiracy and how much is actually real when you enter a new world. We the readers, are depending on the characters to show us what world they live in. Who do you trust? Who's actually right? Also, abandoned spaceships are inherently creepy. Once I hit about page 120, I did not want to put the book down. Now, that's not to say the previous 120 pages were bad, I'm just saying for me, that was when the book really became unsettling in the best way possible. I didn't want to spend my day doing anything else but reading at that point. Probably about half way through the book, there was a moment when I literally couldn't read anymore. I was reading it aloud to my husband, stopped mid-page, and basically shoved the book at him to read instead. Now, I'm not generally an anxious person, but I could literally feel the anxiety growing inside of me while I read this book. I've never read any book so terrifying. I jumped at the sound of my husband opening our front door (in the middle of the day) and I was only maybe 100 pages in at that point. Characters Bowman has assembled a pretty interesting cast of character from a variety of backgrounds. We have the father, the pilot, the scientist, the intern, the captain with something to prove, and there's even a conspiracy theorist. Honestly, of all of these characters the one who has left the biggest impression on me was probably Toby. Why Toby? I don't say he left the biggest impact because he was my favorite character. I
IanG More than 1 year ago
There is a lot that's so so good about this book. (Including that it's the first in a duology, so there's another book to look forward to!) My favorite thing, however, is much more subtle: The crew is mainly female, but (while there are some jabs about how young they are) no one ever demeans them for being women or says being female means they can't do their job.
yaratrv More than 1 year ago
Minor spoilers. This had a super slow start- I didn’t start enjoying the book until halfway through but I’m glad I stuck with it. I loved how realistic Thea’s self-doubt is but how she manages to rally herself to push forward despite the hurdles life throws at her. I enjoyed the slow partnership growing between Thea and Cohen, and how it wasn’t an immediate “I’ll trust you” moment seen in many YA’s. Ending catchy enough that I will add the next book to my TBR list.
Kaleena More than 1 year ago
Friends, this book absolutely blew me away. Contagion was one of my most anticipated releases and one that surpassed my expectations completely. This is hands-down one of my favorite reads of 2018. Fun fact: when I was in the eighth grade I borrowed my grandmother's copy of The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston and decided that I wanted to be a microbiologist so I could work with contagious hot diseases for the CDC. That book sparked an intellectual curiosity in me for science that has never wavered (I almost got my Associate's Degree in Microbio before switching to Anthropology three-quarters of the way through). The science and infectious disease aspects of this book really spoke to me, beyond being an amazing piece of science fiction and horror. (Because yes, this book is terrifying and I am glad I didn't read it at night.) It got in us and most are dead. Decklan flew for help. Don’t trust the kid. Fast-paced and instantly engaging, Contagion is one of the best examples of atmospheric writing that I have encountered in the horror and science fiction arena, which adds to the reading experience as I was fully immersed in the world that Bowman carefully crafted. Each of the characters are flawed and complex, with pasts that dictate their present behavior in understandable ways (if not frustrating... my reading experience was akin to screaming "behind you!" when watching horror movies). Each character experiences growth and development, even secondary characters, and while I would definitely characterize this as a plot-driven story the reader is just as invested in the characters and their plight. "Follow the bloody footprints, they said. What could go wrong, they said." The worldbuilding beyond the contained environment that the book is set within is done organically, bit by bit as it served to bring the larger narrative and framework for the series into focus but never felt like an info dump. Underlying the horror that the Odyssey's crew encounters while embarking on their response to a distress signal on Achlys is also a complex social and political structure. Unveiled slowly and organically within the narrative, we learn that there are rebels that want to secede from the United Planetary Coalition. Was this secret drilling endeavor part of a plan to leave the union? Or a way to strengthen it? The character's discussions and varying opinions about this sounded very similar to Brexit debates. An inky blackness that swam and twisted and curled like ribbons. This book is incredibly well written and beautiful in its horror; the atmospheric writing having me on the edge of my seat for about five hours straight as I devoured the words in search of what would happen next. Mistrust and fear permeate off of the characters and carried off of the page onto me and I cared for each of their well-being. (Even Dylan, whose actions frustrated me.) I cannot wait for the second book in this series and for the rest of the world to be able to read this book! I never found myself bored and essentially read this entire book in one sitting. If you like horror and science fiction, I cannot recommend this book enough. Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing me an electronic ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exch
paisleypikachu More than 1 year ago
I really liked CONTAGION! I thought from the very start that this was a fun book, perfect for my inner sci-fi thriller nerd. I've seen a lot of comparisons to Alien and Aliens, but for me Contagion felt more like Promethius(which I LOVE), in that the story built and built on itself to an epic conclusion. The story was actually my favorite aspect of this one. I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next, why everything was happening, how it all would end. And I was really satisfied by it all when I finished reading. The ending especially felt right. As I said already, this story ramps up until the conclusion, so the ending never gave me a moment to catch my breath and relax, which is something i'm always looking for in a book. I like to be kept on my toes, turning pages as fast as I can until I run out, and Contagion gave me exactly that! Contagion's story is told through the eyes of a few different characters, which is another factor I really enjoyed. While none of the characters jumped out as my favorite, they were still a lot of fun to read. It was nice to see a diverse cast, and they each had a voice that felt unique to them so it didn't make switching back and forth confusing. One thing I really appreciated about every character is that they all had good and bad in them, making them feel very real. I highly recommend CONTAGION to fans of YA sci-fi, especially books like The Illuminae Files. It's an engaging read from start to finish that has a really fun payoff at the end. I can't wait for the sequel to CONTAGION!