Review: Contaminated by Em Garner

July 10, 2013 1 - 1.5 Stars, Em Garner, Zombies 4 ★½

Contaminated by Em Garner
Published by Egmont USA on July 23, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the "Kennels," Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…

Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead.
If only it were true – a special water that makes people lose weight.  There’s just one problem.  This diet potion turns users into raving, violent, nearly brain-dead maniacs.  Hmmm…maybe a few extra pounds aren’t so bad after all.

While reading Contaminated, I was continually reminded of the fantastic Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.  Unfortunately, Contaminated suffered in comparison.  Both books featured zombies who slowly emerged from their murderous states, all while being persecuted by society.  But while Warm Bodies was warm, funny, sharp, and always exciting, this story just trudges along to an obvious ending that still managed to be cheesy.

In Contaminated, the infected people, referred to as “Connies,” are essentially zombie-lite creatures (even the nickname Connie sounds cute and harmless).  They’re not ALWAYS flesh-eating monsters, and they can be rehabilitated.  Rather than simply killing the Connies, the government locks them up in “kennels.”  Eventually, those determined to be the least dangerous are allowed to be released into the care of their family members.  Velvet, the 17-year-old protagonist of Contaminated, is one of these caretakers.  She already cares for her younger sister, and when her Connie mother is deemed controllable, she is released into Velvet’s custody.

With the emphasis in the synopsis on the contaminated diet water, I thought Contaminated might be a satirical take on society’s obsession with weight and appearance.  That might have been more fun, but instead, it just serves as a not-terribly-interesting means of initiating the outbreak.  The story was incredibly dull, and too much focus was placed on minute details like the shock collars worn by released Connies.  Skip it, and pick up Warm Bodies instead.

Review posted at Goodreads.


4 Responses to “Review: Contaminated by Em Garner”

  1. Sarah Johnson

    I really liked Warm Bodies as well. 🙂 The concept for this one sounds so interesting, sorry that it dragged on for you. Zombie stories are hard to get on the right level. They are either a hit or miss.

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