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3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,190 Ratings  ·  463 Reviews

Dr. Stephen Swain has found himself locked in the after-hours darkness of the New York Public Library. It isn't a mistake. He's been entombed in the historic sanctuary for a reason—as the guest of an unknown host, chosen for a night of fun and games. He's unprepared. He's afraid. And he's not alone.

Six other contestants roam the b
Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1996)
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Mrs Mac McKenzie I would say it would be for 12 and up. A few swear words and graphic descriptions of violence and death throughout.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I will never forget the moment I formed a bond with an Australian author named Matthew Reilly. It was a spur of the moment thing. If I had not grabbed a book off the shelf of the San Diego Public Library called Ice Station, I might not be writing this review. But I did, and it changed my life.

I cut my teeth on action movies. I started watching them when I was very young, and they hold a special place in my heart. While I am a romance novel and fantasy book fan first and foremost, I have always l
May 22, 2016 Poonam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to read a good action-packed story
Recommended to Poonam by: Nameeta Rao
3.5 stars

The premise of the story seemed familiar at the start - A contest in which to survive you have got to win .Remember some famous book with similar theme?
Yes, The Hunger Games. But the thing is that 'Contest' was published in 1996 way before Hunger Games.

Also, in this Contest (which takes place every 1000 years), intelligent life forms from 7 different systems or planets (including earth) compete and the winner has to survive the other contestants and a monster known as KARANADON.

Mar 13, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
OK, this book is never going to challenge literary heavyweights in the classic states, it won't win prestigious awards that means it will sit on pretentious people's shelves never read, and it definitely won't be given review space among the highbrow books that get featured in the national press.

But, this book is FUN! It's fast, frantic, full of aliens and a very neat context that, had it not been written before publication of The Hunger Games, could be looking at an accusation of plagarism.

I re
En la Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York va a tener lugar un juego mortal: el Presidian. Siete jugadores de diferentes planetas tendrán que enfrentarse en este escenario, donde el doctor Stephen Swain será nuestro representante involuntario, que además está acompañado de su hija pequeña, Holly. Pero, ¿qué podrá hacer un humano contra seres extraterrestres, auténticos cazadores?

‘El laberinto’ (Contest, 1996), del australiano Matthew Reilly, es una muy buena de aventuras y ciencia ficción, muy visua
Matthew Reilly is one of the best writers I have read in how he jumps straight into the action and never drops the breakneck pace until the story ends. The same remains true for Contest which is a tightly wound story with a strong plot, a few thrill moments but is on the whole non-stop action reading.

Many writers prove incapable of retaining a quality of writing whilst also providing thrills and action. Reilly here shows what quality action writing can be.

The plot of a man taken to play a role i
Mark Hebwood
Part 1 in a four-book review of Matthew Reilly's novels

Contest -> Ice Station -> Temple -> Seven Ancient Wonders

I like the idea of a good adventure novel so I keep picking things up that I discard 100 pages in, unable to continue with a contrived plot, clichéd characters, bad narrative, or ridiculous events. And Matthew has written a few novels that serve up many, or even all, of these traits. This one, however, I liked. Ok so the plot is contrived - this one tells the story of a cont
Sep 18, 2008 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-lit

Oh my God, this book was hilarious. And in a fantastical train wreck kind of way, not a belly laugh kind of way. I picked this book up because my Book Club book wasn't available yet, and I needed something to read. I noticed this book because of the picture of The New York Public Library on the cover, and thought "Hey, I work there....what's this about?"

Well, let me just set the stage for you....

Contest is about an intergalactic competition that takes place once every mi
Oct 14, 2015 Kirstie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

What I thought about this book
I am pleased to say (this being my first Matthew Reilly book) that I thoroughly enjoyed this story; it was highly entertaining, something a bit different, and fulfilled all of Reilly’s promises of action, action, action, and more action. I loved it. Insane is probably a really good word to describe the experience.

I’ve never read Reilly before now, surprisingly, and I probably wouldn’t have if a friend hadn’t thrust this book into my hands and demanded I read
Apr 03, 2013 karen marked it as to-get-from-liberry  ·  review of another edition
oh my god, this sounds bananas!! i must have it.
Sasmaya Suliztiarto
Jul 22, 2010 Sasmaya Suliztiarto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who loves science-fictions!
Recommended to Sasmaya by: My boss at work

This book is awesome. Since I'm a big fan of action-game, I loooove..Reilly's fast pace and the thrills. The science-fiction theme is very striking, mixed with the subtle story of a father who loves his daughter and lost his wife in an accident.

I love his writings. He used simple words, unlike Dan Brown who also writes sci-fi-action theme and makes me read with the dictionary beside my bed. And I just can't stop reading! He put the right story in the right part, so we don't wanna miss any actio
Ignacio Senao f
Ciencia Ficción pura, a pesar de que la editorial no haya querido tirar por esto.

Un grupo de personajes encerrados en la biblioteca son obligados a llegar a un punto. Sólo puede quedar uno.

Lo bueno no es que se maten entre ellos, sino que hay una especia de monstruos que los persiguen. Por cierto, los competidores no son todos humanos, y esto no es spoiler.

Tiene escenas muy buenas estilo Alien, de ellos corriendo por pasillos y escondiéndose en zonas. Pero son unas pocas páginas tan solo, es una
Alexander Draganov
Great action novel! It deserves a movie :) I remember that I was so excited while reading it, that I couldn't force myself to leave the book and read it whole.
Ginny Purvis
Jan 31, 2011 Ginny Purvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorite books. The setting of this book was just ideal and the author mixed in just enough "weird" but did it in such a way as to make everything totally believable. New York Public Library, aliens and a kill-or-be-killed contest...doesn't get any better than this.
Aug 31, 2008 Stef rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Once you started this book you can't put it aside until you have finished it.
Feb 12, 2011 Cass rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cass by: Chris
Shelves: australian, 2011
The book took quite a while to begin. I think this is because of the amount of unnessecary characters and sub-plots. The NSA sub-plot seemd to have very little purpose, and I am sure the author was visualising his movie on screen as he wrote the prologue - pointless.

I never became attached to any of the characters. The daughter was written as an agressive and assertive third grade girl initally, however later she delivered lines that would be expected from a four year old. The author had not rea
I enjoyed this book, even though it had it's flaws.

It's a story that's been done...and done...and done. And, yet, I found myself wanting to know how it ended. He's put a new twist on the 'fight to the death between random contestants who can't escape from the maze unless they are the last man standing' plot. He's added to it with various details that really make to book feel unique. It takes place in the New York Public Library - cool. It has unique alien races - the details of which were well
Dec 09, 2010 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I really do love Matthew's writing. I started reading his Shane Schofield first, and then found Jack West Junior, which hasnt had a new book since 2009's The Five Greatest Warriors (2009).

This book is for the Sci-Fi lovers out there and also those who follow Michael Crichton. This could also be an off shoot of the Running Man. If you remember that show with Arnold, and Richard Dawson.

The premise of the book is this. Seven players, each from a different world, compete for their lives in somet
Nicholas A. Joos
Matthew Reilly
March 10th, 2003
328 pages

Alien thrillers usually take place on a mothership in Nebula F or have futuristic guns with lots of over exaggerated lightening, usually resulting in the deaths of humans. Contest is an alien thriller that involves a human kicking the living crap out of said aliens.

Dr. Stephen Swain is transferred via hyperspace to the New York Public Library, or "The Labyrinth." He is summoned while standing in the middle of him living room, talk
Emily Barrett
Feb 03, 2015 Emily Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! If you love The Maze Runner or The Hunger Games or any other survival/action/thriller novel, then this is an epic book to read! A fight to the death, trapped in a New York Library, win or you die, deadly alien monsters around every corner... A fast paced novel, not too long, an amazing storyline and awesome and frightening characters. Would definitely read again... 5 stars!
Feb 19, 2011 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This version of "Contest," one of my favorite books, is my second Kindle "experience." So as with my first review of a Kindle book, I'll stick to the Kindle version and urge you to look at my review of the print edition for more on the book itself. Like "Ice Station," this book suffers from the Kindle skipping past the useful maps situated prior to the start of the text. On the other hand, the copy is cleaner, with few noticeable typos. One nice bonus is that this version includes the interview ...more

I SWORE that I wont read any more Reilly books while commuting in public transport.

I act like a MIME artist in a crowded train, while reading his never ending, relentless, freight-train of writing.... I mean how many times am I gonna chew my nails to mere stubs forgetting that I got my manicure done the previous evening???

Contest, being his FIRST novel, is relatively naive on some accounts. But its speedy. He's gotten better with each of his book.... and I cant wait to get my hands on
Sep 02, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is total action the whole way through as is all of his books. The summary of this book is about a man who was taken into a presdian (a battle of the best warriors from the seven different worlds) and having to fight for his AND his daughters life. Also he has to try to protect a helpless librarian security guard who happened to be caught in the New York library when the presdian began.
Jan 13, 2009 M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally rediculous and far fetched. In saying that, one of the most fun reads I've ever had. Fast paced, action movie style plot. Great descriptive language and even though I read this years ago, I can still remember vivid images from scenes.
Barbara ★
What a great book! Very exciting with non-stop action. Shows a very impressive imagination and serious creativity.

This is the story of an intergalactic contest held every millennium in a different place in the galaxy. One contestant is chosen from each of the seven sentient planets (?) based on their skills in combat, intelligence and strategy. The seven beings are then teleported into a non-disclosed place (this time it took place in the New York City Public Library) and only one contestant ge
Aug 04, 2014 Ian rated it did not like it
The CONTEST is making yourself read to the end of this novel!

So many have commented on "NON-STOP" action. FALSE! Quick pointless scenes does not equal action. It should however, equal a quick read, but the dialogue, cliché characterization and inconsistencies in so many aspects made getting through the novel as laborious as Holiday festivities with the family and in-laws.

There is nothing FUN or COOL about the concept. The creatures are similar to every horror or sci-fi monster you've seen. And t
Lisa P
Jun 25, 2014 Lisa P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of nonstop action...exactly what I would expect from a Matthew Reilly story. It is an intergalactic competition to the death. Seven aliens, each from different galaxies, are put into an arena (in this case it is the New York Public Library)...nobody gets in or out until it's over. The rules are that they fight until only one is left alive. Representing earth is Dr. Stephen Swain, who has no idea what is happening, until he is suddenly transported to the arena as the competition begins. An u ...more
Mar 21, 2014 Harry007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
It started off well, then it just got boring and uninteresting. Then when I thought about the whole story afterwards, it just didn't appeal to me. Of course, this book is meant exclusively for teenage boys (I can't imagine anyone else getting through it) and in a huge way, it comes across as a movie screenplay - which is okay because the pace is great and things are described well enough to be easily imagined. It's a debut novel, but I still don't believe that excuses the errors throughout the b ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Christine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
A man and his daughter are drawn into a battle to the death called the Presidium. Seven life forms from different galaxies come together once every thousand years to determine superiority. This year’s labyrinth of choice is the New York Public Library. Human’s are the only representatives not aware of this ongoing “contest” and are the only species drawn into the event without consent. Of course, no human has ever won. Enter Dr. Steven Swain and his daughter (via teleportation of course) and the ...more
In a note in the beginning of the novel Reilly describes Contest as a "fast book", like a stripped down sports car; "no fancy paintwork, no fancy upholstery, just raw non-stop energy". I can definitely see where he's coming from; the book depicts one single day in time, with the majority of the plot taking place in the span of only four hours. This creates a rather exhilarating read, and leaves the characters (and the readers) little time to catch their breath between action scenes.

It also leav
Jill Smith
May 07, 2012 Jill Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those of you familiar with Matthew Reilly’s rise to fame through unorthodox means – this is the book that launched his career! Self published and sold door to door, reaching bookshop shelves, it was picked up by publishers who subsequently produced ‘ICE STATION’ and ‘TEMPLE’ which became best sellers here and overseas.

Like ‘Ice Station’,‘CONTEST’ is non stop action all the way. This is a true action science fiction with aliens, slimy entrails and a human hunter being hunted. With delightful
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The New York State Library. 2 18 Jan 28, 2015 07:46PM  
Which one is your favourite? 6 37 Jan 28, 2015 07:45PM  
Action/Adventure ...: June 2014 Science Fiction Action/Adventure Group Read: Contest by Matthew Reilly *Spoilers* 23 36 Jul 09, 2014 11:19PM  
The New York State Library. 1 7 Dec 04, 2012 07:40AM  
  • Temple Of The Gods (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase, #8)
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  • Ice Hunt
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Matthew Reilly is a New York Times best-selling author of eight novels that have been published in eighteen languages in twenty countries. He has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.
More about Matthew Reilly...

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“He began to understand why some people feared the dark so much. The sheer helplessness of not knowing what was right in front of you was terrifying.” 2 likes
“Human fears are very often irrational constructs of the mind.” 1 likes
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