Katharine Herndon's Reviews > Infected

Infected by Scott Sigler
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Oct 15, 2010

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Read in October, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I can't believe I finished this, and I'm going to have words with the bookseller who picked it out for me. (Words along the lines of, "How exactly did we go from The Magicians to Incarceron to this?") Oh my gosh is this disturbing, horrifying, repulsive. It's like watching something disgusting on tv and not being able to either admit to anyone you're watching it or look away.

It starts so benignly with compulsive itching (and I started itching) and progresses to far worse things, to self-mutilation so severe that I was trying to cover my eyes while I was reading.

Sigler has plot and pacing down. And a character compelling enough in his fight against overwhelming odds that I stuck with him through some pretty awful stuff. And yet some of the writing is flat and cliched. The CIA agents, particularly, were cardboard cutouts with pretty unimaginative motivations and dialogue.

Every now and then something clumsy would jolt me out of the book. For instance, as the main agent has to tell his young partner's now-bereaved wife the bad news, he thinks back to when his partner's son was born, and how he sat with him "in the waiting room." I stopped reading and sat there wondering if it could be possible that the author doesn't know anyone who has had a baby in the last couple decades. Is that possible?Even if you haven't gone through it yourself, all adults know someone who's had a baby, right? And there was a reference to "Alf" that made me wonder if the author was old enough to know, personally, who Alf was. And if not, where would one find out? Youtube?

Anyway, the writing wasn't fabulous. But it became almost a dare with myself to finish the damn thing. I think I would have been happier if the infection had been terrorist-related. I like a good sf story, but the more alien-focused it got, the less happy I was. Ultimately it came down to the fact that I had to know what happened to Perry. Had to know. I gave it three stars for being so compelling that I kept going against all reasonable desire to stop.

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