Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman

(Last Updated On: April 25, 2021)

Friends, this book absolutely blew me awayContagion 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.

About Contagion

Publisher: HarperTeen  |  Release Date: July 24, 2018  |  Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Horror  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Contagion coverIt got in us

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don’t set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

This post uses affiliate links and I may receive a small commission for purchases made through my links at no additional cost to you. Click here for more info.

Goodreads Amazon B&N Book Depository

My Review of Contagion

Friends, this book absolutely blew me awayContagion 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 world-building 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 and I cannot wait to see what happens next in this universe.

“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 exchange for my honest review. Quotations were taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    July 22, 2018 at 12:31 AM

    I’m sooooo happy you loved it! I felt the same way, as you know. I’ve been struggling to write reviews quickly for the last several weeks, but I loved this one so much I literally wrote my review the MOMENT I finished reading it and it’s scheduled to post Monday! I really hope this book gets the hype it deserves 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 23, 2018 at 1:07 PM

      EXCITED SCREAMING WITH YOU! This book was so good??? And I am so happy to have been able to read it early and cannot wait to scream at everyone to read it too. This was my first #24in48 read and I wrote up my review right after finishing it (perhaps those 5 hours are why I didn’t finish the challenge, but I was in a book hangover anyways so yolo).

      I honestly cannot wait for the rest of the world to be able to read this, and hope it gets the recognition it deserves. Do you have any recommendations for other books like this? Because I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED NOW

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        July 23, 2018 at 10:50 PM

        Right?!?! Dude, if this book’s little hangover is why you didn’t hit the 24hour mark, I’d say it was WORTH IT!

        The only one coming to mind right away is Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda – have you read that one? It came out earlier this year, and while I don’t think it’s quite as good as Contagion, it’s got this Aliens-esque sci-fi/horror cross-over vibe that I had a LOT of fun with!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          July 24, 2018 at 7:18 AM

          Definitely worth it!!!

          Oooh I haven’t read that one, I am adding it to my TBR now. Thank you!

  2. Tammy

    July 22, 2018 at 6:59 AM

    I’m beyond excited to read this now that I’ve read your glowing review! I may have to push a few other books aside😁 And very cool that you are so interested in microbiology. I can see how that would enrich your reading experiemce.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 23, 2018 at 12:45 PM

      Oh gosh, thank you so much for your comment Tammy! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did and I cannot wait to see your thoughts!

  3. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

    July 22, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    This sounds sooooo good! I read another review that had me slightly put off but now I am thinking “Octobor” read. If you and Destiny say yes, I am all about it. Loved the review!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 23, 2018 at 12:47 PM

      Danielle I was totally surprised! You know how scared I was to read this (it literally took me 20 days to commit to reading past page 1) and I am so glad that it met my expectations. Some of the characters are more well rounded than others and some people may want for more detail in worldbuilding, but it hit the sweet spot for me and I cannot wait to see what you think!

      1. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

        July 23, 2018 at 4:01 PM

        I will be grabbing it when it releases for sure after reading your and Destiny’s reviews!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          July 23, 2018 at 5:45 PM

          It graces the shelves tomorrow *screams to the heavens* If you decide to pre-order for some reason the campaign is good until midnight EDT

          1. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

            July 24, 2018 at 9:07 AM

            Haha guess I should have paid better attention. I thought the date was next week haha! I am so not on top of my game 😆

  4. Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    July 22, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    OMG okay, now I gotta read this immediately. Scifi horror that relies on atmosphere? HECK YES. Awesome, awesome review!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 23, 2018 at 12:49 PM

      Thank you so much Kathy, and you definitely need to pick this one up! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  5. Weekly Wrap-Up | July 22 – Another Book in the Wall

    July 22, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    […] by Somaiya Daud.  I buddy read this with the lovely Danielle, Destiny, and Kaleena! I was in absolute awe of Daud’s beautiful writing and storytelling abilities, and […]

  6. Anticipated Reads for July 2018 – Reader Voracious Blog

    July 23, 2018 at 7:28 AM

    […] Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman, Science fiction, Horror [Pre-Ordered! | Pre-Order Incentive] [ARC Review] […]

  7. Erin Eliza

    July 23, 2018 at 9:57 AM

    awesome review, it definitely has me intrigued!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 23, 2018 at 1:02 PM

      Thank you so much, Erin! It was such a captivating book and I hope it gets the love it deserves!

  8. Norrie

    July 26, 2018 at 2:12 AM

    Awesome review! You defo made me want to read it! <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      July 26, 2018 at 9:10 AM

      Thank you!!! I hope that you give it a try, it is such a fun (and scary/suspenseful) read!

  9. July in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    August 2, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    […] Contagion by Erin Bowman 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 [ARC Review] {#24in48 […]

  10. Halloween Creatures Tag 2.0 – Reader Voracious Blog

    October 1, 2018 at 9:17 AM

    […] You can read my full review of Contagion here. […]

  11. Fictional Monsters I’d Hate to Encounter – Reader Voracious Blog

    October 5, 2018 at 2:04 AM

    […] those things are in Contagion by Erin Bowman also creeped me the heck out! I don’t remember them having been given a name […]

  12. Sci-Fi Month: 7 Reasons I Love Science Fiction (AKA my love letter to sci-fi) – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 6, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    […] Bowman’s Contagion is an excellent example of fantastic worldbuilding. I have never been to space (sighs […]

  13. Genre Tag: Science Fiction – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 20, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    […] …a mysterious virus, check out This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (bonus for tech-heavy) or Contagion by Erin Bowman | 📖 REVIEW […]

  14. 9 Anticipated Reads for July 2018 – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 23, 2018 at 1:58 PM

    […] Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman Science fiction, Horror [ARC Review] […]

  15. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 27, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    […] book. My friend Destiny recommended this book to me months ago after I read and fell in love with Contagion by Erin Bowman, and when I saw it available on BookOutlet for $6 back in September I had to get it. She gets an A+ […]

  16. My Favorite 2018 Reads – Reader Voracious Blog

    January 1, 2019 at 10:08 AM

    […] 💉 Contagion by Erin Bowman was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and Harper was kind enough to grant my request on Edelweiss after my gushing about how I pre-ordered it but really wanted to help boost this story I was sure to love. When I finally got it I was terrified that I had hyped it up too much for myself and that I wouldn’t like it, and it took the #24in48 readathon for me to finally pick up the book. And then I cursed myself for waiting so long because I LOVED IT. Such a wonderful science fiction and horror mashup that I will scream about for ages to come. This book is tied for my favorite read of the year. | 📖 Read my full review […]

  17. Library Loot #12: Sci-Fi Horror & Japanese Fiction | BiblioNyan

    January 24, 2019 at 5:11 AM

    […] horror suspense novel that, once again, I didn’t know a lick about until I read a fantastic review for it written by Kaleena. To the library I went […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: