Monday, February 25, 2019

Contagion by Erin Bowman

Forced to evacuate a mining operation because of weather, a rag tag group is told to report to another planet to answer a distress call.  Along for the ride:  a young pilot and nearly equally inexperienced captain, an elderly doctor who knows some secrets about the planet from when she was young, the doctor's intern, a computer expert, and a member of the security crew.   When the Odyssey arrives they find an abandoned station with dead bodies and a scrawled warning: "Don't trust the boy".  Further investigation of an outbuilding reveals that all the crew members jumped into a pit, apparently committing suicide.  Except they aren't actually dead.  And one member of the original crew is still alive - a boy, about Thea's age.

I started this book once and put it down after a couple of chapters because I was confused by the sheer number of characters and I didn't care enough to keep trying.  Then it was nominated for a reading program in which I participate and I had to read it.  The second attempt went better than the first but I'm still not blown away.  I've had my fill of space zombies and I'm frustrated by characters who keep doing stupid things and then later realize they should've just listened to everyone around them and done the smart thing in the first place.  And although I'm a fan of complicated characters who aren't all good or all bad, I am less likely to buy into their redemption after their stupid acts have caused everyone else to die.  The planet was dark and life-threatening situations just kept coming and I grew weary of the bleakness.  Especially because I loved Bowman's debut so much. 

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