All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > Contaminated

Contaminated by Em Garner
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Jul 19, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: dd-2013, reviewed-by-abigail, earc
Read in July, 2013

Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I wasn’t always a zombie fan. It’s taken shows like The Walking Dead and emotionally intelligent books like Sophie Littlefield’s Aftermath series to bring me around to the reality that zombies don’t have to just be about gore and horror (two things that don’t especially appeal to me). CONTAMINATED is a book about tragedy, determination, and devotion in the wake of an epidemic that just happened to turn a large portion of the population into zombies.

Unlike many stories involving zombies, CONTAMINATED is really focused on the human reaction after the zombie outbreak. How does the world go on? How do the children survive? Em Garner’s hauntingly imagined world is one where zombies are gathered up and kenneled like stray dogs. They are essentially lobotomized and outfitted with behavioral correcting shock collars and sent home to families that claim them. Velvet is one of the lucky ones. She finds her mother and brings her home. What follows is often excruciatingly painful as this girl, only seventeen herself, is forced to care for a mother who is a shell, and care for her ten year old sister.

The writing is simple and poignant whether describing the quiet agony of a neighbor bringing home her three year old boy from the kennels or the panicked confusion of a wife witnessing the feral transformation of her husband in the produce section of a grocery store. It’s not about gore and savagery, although the human reactions are often every bit as savage as the zombies. CONTAMINATED is more tender, more bleak, and ultimately more beautiful than I’ ever thought a zombie book could be.

The ending is hopeful and ominous at once, so I’m all the more relieved to learn that the author has already finished writing a sequel. Publication is expected in 2014.

Sexual Content:
Kissing. Vague references to attempted assault
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Reading Progress

06/11/2013 marked as: received-for-review
07/19/2013 marked as: read

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