Hello humans! Today you will be getting not one but two book reviews. I couldn’t contain myself enough to spread these over two days so be sure to click back later today for part two of this series review. Of course, if you’re reading this in the future you’ll be able to read both of them straight away – lucky you! Without further ado, I’d like to talk about the first book in the ‘Dark Matter’ series – Contagion.
Callie is missing.
Her brother Kai is losing hope of ever seeing her again. Then he meets Shay, a girl who saw Callie the day she disappeared, and his hope is reignited.
Their search leads them to the heart of a terrifying epidemic that is raging through the country.
Can Kai and Shay escape death and find Callie?
I’ll confess I had never heard of this series before I was approved to read the sequel on Netgalley. For that reason, I thought I should probably abandon my usual habit of reading sequels before first novels and actually purchase book #1. I’m very glad I did as book two would have made very little sense without the set up in Contagion.
Firstly I have to say I love the narrators in this book. It’s dual POV between Shay, a somewhat lonely teen with an eidetic memory and Callie who is dead. That’s not mentioned in the summary but I don’t think it counts as a spoiler since it happens within the first few pages of the book.
I have never before read a ‘ghost’ narrator who wasn’t incredibly preachy, floaty and nonsensical. It was refreshing to have a narrator of this kind who wasn’t constantly introspective. Both these characters have great voices, they are never dull and you also never feel as though they are saying things that real people would never say for the sake of the plot. There’s also a degree of unreliability to Callie- heaven knows I love an unreliable narrator.
The other important character to discuss is Kai, who is…interesting. I think he actually improves as the book goes on, at the beginning, I was a little confused because he seemed to switch between finding Shay attractive and comparing her to his sister…
But enough about characters, what’s the plot like? Well, it’s got elements of Zombie novels, with the idea of the spread of disease and having to quarantine outbreaks and the like, but it’s also jam-packed with action. I’m surprised these characters got through the book without dying just of exhaustion, they never seem to get a break. If you like your books fast-paced I can certainly suggest reading this.
This is an enjoyable read, the only reason I didn’t give it five stars is that quite a few elements feel a little forced and overly coincidental. I understand a certain degree of ‘characters happening to meet’ is necessary for a book to work but piled into one novel these coincidences get a little predictable.
This book reads a lot like a film, it’s clear in what’s happening (with the exception of the things the author wants to shroud in mystery) and you can definitely build a powerful image of events in your head.
With all the talk of Australian flu this month, it certainly felt like a good time to be reading a book about the uncontrollable spread of disease. I’m looking forward to telling you about book two Deception this afternoon!
My rating: 4/5 stars
What say you? Is this something you might enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!