January 1, 2014

Review: Contaminated

Contaminated by Em Garner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is another in a long line of post-apocalyptic zombie books, but despite a few interesting twists, in the end neither the characters or the premise are good enough to keep reading the series, if there is another book (and the abrupt ending clearly points in that direction).

First, the good: This zombie outbreak is actually very original, as it's due to prions found in contaminated protein water. Prions do exist, and they're fascinating little buggers, even if they result in rather horrific things like mad-cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. And real-life American society is sufficiently obsessed with weight loss, and celebrity diets, that one can readily imagine the ThinPro diet plan sweeping the nation, and people guzzling that water without a thought to what the ground-up chicken and cow scraps in it might bring. After all, if we eat McDonalds chicken nuggets, we'll eat (or drink) anything.

That's about all I can say about this book, unfortunately. The characters are not well drawn: a mile wide and an inch deep is the best praise I can summon. I like Velvet's fierce loyalty to her mother and sister, and also like that the main relationships in this book are mother/daughter/sister, with romance being mainly an afterthought. Velvet's relationship with Dillon feels forced, to say the least; only a couple of weeks and she can see herself spending the rest of her life with this guy? I don't think so. The book would have been stronger without the romance, or only hints of it. The plot also dithers and meanders, the stakes are simply not high enough, and the ending is unsatisfactory.

In short, it's just meh. Some of my "meh" books leave me frustrated--there's clearly a better book in them struggling to get out--but this one, in the end, is not interesting enough for me to even say that.

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