Pandemic is the third book in the Infected series, but it's been a long time between drinks. The second book, Contagious, was published in late 2008,...morePandemic is the third book in the Infected series, but it's been a long time between drinks. The second book, Contagious, was published in late 2008, and I have the feeling that perhaps a third book wasn't originally on the cards. The ending of Contagious was left pretty open, but there are quite a few cast changes in Pandemic. It's not a companion novel, as I wouldn't recommend reading it without reading Infected or Contagious, although perhaps others that have read it as a standalone would disagree.
As I loved Infected and really enjoyed Contagious, I was interested to see where Sigler took the story next. As a horror writer, Sigler is incredibly talented and has a tendency to write rather epic novels, and at nearly 600 pages Pandemic wasn't a casual Sunday afternoon read.
Picking up the open threads from the end of Contagious, Pandemic brings back some loved characters from the series and introduces some other memorable characters, both good and bad. The plot itself felt a little bit slower to get going than Contagious and particularly Infected, but once things started developing it turned into an addictive horror novel.
Once again written in multiple third-person POV, Pandemic has perhaps too many POVs - and there are long gaps between appearances for a few characters, to the stage that I found myself wondering at times if I'd missed some key part of the plot.
Familiar characters come back into the story right from the beginning, and in particular, Margaret, has been very much changed by the events of Infected and Contagious. However, I did understand her reactions, even if I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. Clarence, Longworth and Cheng return too, all of them a little changed but pretty much the same characters that I came to know and love or loathe in Contagious.
There are also new characters to fill some of the voids left after Infected and Contagious, and of those my favourite was the sleezy yet brilliant scientist, Dr Feely (aka Dr Feelygood) who had me smirking with his one liners, and admiring the way he overcame his fears without turning into an amazing action hero when the shit went down.
Unlike Infected and Contagious, Pandemic has a more global view - the virus spreads quickly and devastatingly, and in that way Pandemic feels more rounded than the previous books as it encompasses global reactions and politics. There is once again a heavy focus on both science and military, and at times the weaponry descriptions went right over my head, but the virology was interesting and although I'm no scientist, it felt realistic and was pretty much flawlessly presented. The action scenes are excellent, with a real feeling of desperation and intensity.
Pandemic is an excellent ending to a series that holds a special place in my reading heart - it's frightening, heart-racing horror, with characters that are unique and either likeable or loathesome, and a few that fall somewhere in between. (less)
When I first saw reviews of The Waking Dark popping up, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Horror is (perhaps obviously) one of my favourite genr...moreWhen I first saw reviews of The Waking Dark popping up, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Horror is (perhaps obviously) one of my favourite genres, and I like them dark, spooky and intense.
The Waking Dark jumps straight into the story - jumping through the stories of the teens on the 'killing day' as they witness people they know murder each other in a variety of ways - from the more predictable through to more 'unique' methods. Each scene is intense and are used to introduce the characters and their personalities as they react in different ways to the chaos around them.
Wasserman's writing style is unique, and works very well - there are long run-on sentences and the language is very descriptive, but rather than slowing down the story, it actually makes the reading more frantic and addictive and builds the tension perfectly. The plot itself is very Stephen King-esque although I felt that the characterisation of Wasserman is actually slightly stronger as they are all unique and easily discernible from each other, which is something I often struggle with when there is a larger cast of key characters.
True 'horror' in Young Adult literature is something I haven't been able to find very often - to be honest I usually find them to be quite watered-down and a little too happy-ending-ish. But The Waking Dark isn't a book for the faint hearted - there is a lot of violence, but it's chilling rather than just shock-value.
The only thing that didn't really work for me was the ending - although I liked the resolution it felt a little too neat and I had some questions that weren't completely answered enough for me personally.
This was a difficult review for me to write as there is a lot that happens in The Waking Dark, but I really don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone that reads it, but I will say that this is one of my favourite horror stories this year - it has an old-school horror vibe but a with a modernity that I really appreciated.(less)