Contagion was one of my top 5 reads of 2018, and this sequel was on my highly anticipated needs list for the year. Immunity delivers a solid, action-packed, and satisfying end to this duology.
While this review is spoiler-free, if you haven’t read Contagion yet, I’d recommend not reading this review or book synopsis as both have spoilers for book 1.
Publisher: HarperTeen | Release Date: July 2, 2019 | Pages: 434
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction | Format: eBook/Hardcover | Source: Sent by Publisher
They thought their nightmare was over, but Thea, Coen, and Nova’s rescue was only the beginning. After being imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety, it’s clear that the threat they left behind isn’t as distant as they’d hoped—and this time the entire galaxy is at risk.
Now that threat is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare. To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, the survivors must harness the evil they faced on the planet Achlys and learn to wield the only weapon they have left: themselves.
The first installment in Erin Bowman’s duology earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called the plot “intricate and action-packed,” and fans of Jonathan Maberry, Rick Yancey, and Madeline Roux will relish in Bowman’s tense, high-stakes conclusion to the events of Contagion.
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My Review of Immunity
If you’ve been around my blog for any amount of time, chances are that you’ve heard me yell about how much I loved Contagion. Considering the first book in this duology was one of my top 5 reads for 2018, I was equal parts nervous and excited because my own expectations sometimes ruin a book for me. But I didn’t need to worry. Immunity is an action-packed, smart, and satisfying end to the story.
Immunity raises the stakes and we learn a lot more about the world as our characters find out that escaping from Achlys was just the beginning… turns out their rescue ship has turned into a prison, and there’s a reason that Hevetz was on Achlys despite the debacle with Witch Hazel fifty years prior. A certain conspiracy theorist was right all along.
“They’ll try to replicate us, and then they’ll try to control us.”
The book picks up at the exact moment where Contagion ends. Thea and Coen are taken into custody and it’s quickly learned that the two of them managed to survive the infection the wiped out all of Black Quarry. Considering they are essentially now superhuman, that doesn’t bode well for them: they are poked, prodded, and tortured to test the breadth of their abilities.
This duology is ultimately about survival. Where the theme of Contagion was mistrust and fear, our characters have to learn to trust one another and themselves in Immunity. And looking at their journey across the duology, it is really satisfying to see their growth.
I really enjoyed how Coen, Thea, and Nova grow through the course of this book. While I would still consider this to be a plot-driven book, the characters all have dimension and drive. Even with the hive-mind telepathy ability, Coen and Thea continue to be their own people. We do have a new addition to our teen cast of characters: Amber Farraday, who is my new favorite. Caught in the case of wrong-place-wrong-time, she has to make a number of difficult decisions. I love when characters do the hard thing, and she is just a bamf.
There is romance and it developed naturally in my opinion. I thought that the bonding vs. feelings debate our characters had worked well to subvert the insta-love trope (even though I think anyone who goes through something like this probably would form an intense connection with someone in a matter of weeks).
I personally really appreciated the PTSD representation in the book. The events of Contagion were horrific, and the survivors were forced to do things in order to survive. Nova’s struggle hit home for me and it brought a very real component to the story.
I can’t help but think about the duology as a whole. The overarching plot makes sense; however, the two books feel different. If what you enjoyed the most in Contagion was the horror, you will want to readjust your expectations. This book is about survival, but the enemy is of the human variety rather than zombie-like horror. The political groundwork was laid in Contagion, and that is the framework for Immunity.
I appreciated the plotting of this duology and am glad that the story didn’t end with Contagion. This sequel is just as fast-paced and gripping as the first book, and I devoured it in one sitting! This is more strictly a science fiction story than the horror mashup in the first book, but you can tell the entire duology was intricately plotted and it feels right. I loved the book and can’t recommend it enough to fans of science fiction, and gave this 4.5 stars!
REPRESENTATION: lgbtqiap+ (f/f), PTSD
CONTENT WARNINGS: medical experimentation without consent, torture
Many thanks to Harper Teen and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me an eARC for my honest review and letting me participate in the blog tour!
Thank you Wunderkind PR for sending me a finished copy, you have my eternal gratitude! I switched to reading the finished copy after page 65.
About the Author
Erin Bowman is the Edgar Award-nominated author of numerous books for teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, and the Contagion duology. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. When not writing, she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin.
Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.
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