Immunity (Contagion #2) by Erin Bowman

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.

Please note that this review contains spoilers for the first book, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read Contagion yet!

About the Book

Publisher: HarperTeen  |  Release Date: July 2, 2019  |  Pages: 434
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction  |  Format: eBook/Hardcover  |  Source: Sent by Publisher

Immunity by Erin Bowman coverSurvivors of a deadly planetary outbreak take on a new, sinister adversary in the white-knuckle sequel to Contagion, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman called “gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures.”

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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Immunity Tour Banner

Welcome friends to my stop on the FFBC’s blog tour for Immunity by Erin Bowman! 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.

Contagion (Contagion #1) Review

My Review

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.”

Contagion and Immunity together at lastThe 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 ContagionThis 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

Author photo of Erin Bowman

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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13 Comments

  1. TheCaffeinatedReader

    July 3, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    Okay saving this and coming back later after I’ve read the first book

    1. Kal

      July 6, 2019 at 12:21 PM

      READ CONTAGION NOW, HALEY!

  2. Immunity by Erin Bowman (Blog Tour Book Feature) – Phantom Paper

    July 3, 2019 at 11:31 PM

    […] tour schedule. A good blogger friend of mine, who also happened to LOVE Contagion #1, has written her review, too. We share similar sentiments on the lack of spookiness in the sequel but she ultimately gave […]

  3. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    July 4, 2019 at 6:01 PM

    Amazing review! <3 I'm finishing this one up tonight and really enjoying it so far. I haven't been able to focus on visual reading worth a crap for the last few weeks, so I switched to the audiobook today and I'm flying through it (even though I don't *love* the narrator).

    1. Kal

      July 6, 2019 at 12:45 PM

      Thank you Destiny, and I am glad you enjoyed this one too! I’ll look forward to your review when it is up. I am also having weird spurts of not being able to focus on visual reading… but audiobooks always make my mind wander without the physical copy too LOL

  4. AhanaRao

    July 7, 2019 at 9:33 PM

    Oh! This reminds me a little of Kimberly Montague’s Setenid Blight Series! With regard to the outbreak and who’s immune to it. I haven’t heard of this series and it sounds quite interesting even though I’m not a horror reader.

    Great review Kal 🙂 I love that you’ve noticed and mentioned the way a mental health issue was addressed. It’s something I always notice in a book too. It’s a natural progression for characters and it’s important to address it.

    1. Kal

      July 9, 2019 at 8:41 PM

      I haven’t heard of the Blight series, but I will have to check out it. I will say that while the first book is a horror/scifi crossover, this one is strictly science fiction and focuses on interstellar politics. It makes sense for the overall story, but there is a noted genre shift between the two books in the duology!

      Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      1. AhanaRao

        July 10, 2019 at 1:22 AM

        You’re welcome Kal. ☺️ I read the first two books in the Setenid Blight series when I was quite young and loved them! The conclusion released last year and I think I’d grown out of the genre so I found it harder to enjoy. Lemme know if you do check it out.

        Interstellar politics? *whistles* Sounds really interesting

  5. Michelle

    July 8, 2019 at 4:08 AM

    I haven’t read Contagion yet, but I do need to read it! After reading this diagonally to avoid as many spoilers as I can (spoiler alert, I didn’t avoid any, oh well), I have decided that I need these books in my life. And also TMC because you keep raving about it too. You need to talk to me in a week and if I haven’t ordered the books by then, please find a fitting punishment for me xD I loved this review by the way. But I love all of your reviews, they’re so well written and it makes me aware of how i’m definitely not a native English speaker, so many beautiful words, I love it

    1. Kal

      July 9, 2019 at 8:47 PM

      Aww thank you so much for the lovely comment Michelle, and I am sorry you failed to avoid any potential Contagion spoilers (I don’t think anything big is spoiled tbh). You need to read this and TMC immediately. Actually Imma buy you one of them for your birthday (today is still your birthday where I live, muahahaha). I will DM you

  6. Bec @ bec&books

    July 12, 2019 at 10:22 PM

    This is a great review! I’ll be honest, the first book is STILL on my TBR but now I just think I’m eventually binge the two together since Immunity sounds great too!

    1. Kal

      July 15, 2019 at 10:40 PM

      Thank you so much, and this duology definitely is fun to read back-to-back! Happy reading!

  7. Phantom Paper

    July 15, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    Your review style is quite different from mine and I love it!! Fantastically splendid review! I’m glad that you ultimately enjoyed Immunity 😀 I agree with most of what you mentioned, it’s just too bad I’m one of those who was in it for the ‘Alien’ movie vibe 😛

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