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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  10,846 Ratings  ·  495 Reviews
The New York State Library looms as a silent sanctuary of knowledge: a hundred-year-old labyrinth of towering bookcases, narrow aisles, and spiral staircases. But for Dr Stephen Swain and his eight-year-old daughter Holly it is a place of nightmare. Because, for just one night, this historic building is to become the venue for a horrifying contest, a contest in which Swain ...more
Paperback, 493 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Pan Publishing (first published June 1st 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.
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Community Reviews

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Mar 13, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 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.

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
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
Sep 16, 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
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
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.
Kirstie Ellen
Sep 30, 2015 Kirstie Ellen 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
David Bigg
Oct 10, 2016 David Bigg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the sickest, this book is a boss
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

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
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.
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.
Oct 03, 2016 Eadie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I really enjoyed reading this book as I visited the New York Public Library last December during a charity event I was attending. The building is a wonderful site to set an adventure thriller story in and Matthew Reilly has taken advantage of that. This story has it all - aliens, monsters, adventure, mystery and very unique characters. The plot is an exciting contest and the losers die so that kept the pages turner all the way through. This is an excellent debut novel and makes you want to read ...more
Jan 10, 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
Aug 02, 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
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
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
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
Priori in Wonderland
Un libro interesante. Es una aventura que destaca la inteligencia sobre la fuerza para sobrellevar diferentes situaciones. El hecho de que la trama se desarrolle en una biblioteca fue lo que me atrajo para elegirlo. Recomiendo este libro si te gustan las aventuras y los seres de otro planeta. Para los lectores de Buenos Aires: conseguí el ejemplar en las librerías de usados sobre Avenida Corrientes. Si lo leen me cuentan que les pareció :)
Jan 24, 2015 Emily 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!
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.
Not my typical choice of genre, but a fun action packed read that kept me absorbed until the end.
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
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
Lisa P
Sep 27, 2012 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
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The New York State Library. 2 19 Jan 28, 2015 07:46PM  
Which one is your favourite? 6 38 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  
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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.” 4 likes
“You'd be surprised, you can do a lot more damage with your brains than with your fists.” 2 likes
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