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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  12,109 Ratings  ·  553 Reviews
The New York Public Library. A silent sanctuary of knowledge: a hundred-year-old labyrinth of towering bookcases, narrow aisles and spiral staircases.

But for Doctor 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 of a horrifying contest. A contest in which Swain mu
Paperback, 493 pages
Published 2001 by Pan Macmillan (first published June 1st 1996)
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Devon I wondered that as well, and am unsure about their connection. I LOVE Rollins, but this was the first of this authors books that I have read. I look…moreI wondered that as well, and am unsure about their connection. I LOVE Rollins, but this was the first of this authors books that I have read. I look forward to more!(less)
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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 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
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All sci-fi thriller fans!
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
– T. S. Eliot

The year is 1996 and The New York Public Library has just become the venue for the seventh Presidian. It is a contest that is held once every thousand years, every time on a different world and the contestants are warriors chosen from each of the seventh worlds that exist. A battle where seven contestants enter the labyrinth and only one leaves. A contest to the death.

Earth is the only world who doesn’t have knowledge about this contest but with ev

Mar 13, 2013 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
Feb 09, 2016 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
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 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-to-buy
Wow!!! What an exciting book! A contest fought to the death by 7 contestants. 6 are from other worlds, one is an unwitting human. Unfortunately, his 5 year old daughter is with him. (Kid's gonna need some serious therapy) This book is packed with excitement and amazing bravery. Loved it! But, come on! The New York Library? No!! Too sad.
Paul O'Neill
Matthew Reilly is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. I always find his action packed stories to be a perfect way of ‘changing the pace’ between reading longer and more serious items. Kind of in the same way I treat Terry Pratchett books.

Although Reilly (or most writers for that matter) is no where near as good a writer as Pratchett!

This was Reilly’s first book and is no where near as strong as his other novels but it is still a good read and I’d still recommend it to Reilly fans. (Yes, a three star
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
Apr 03, 2013 marked it as to-get-from-liberry  ·  review of another edition
oh my god, this sounds bananas!! i must have it.
Sep 16, 2008 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
Kirstie Ellen
Sep 30, 2015 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
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Dr. Stephen Swain and his daughter Holly are teleported into the NY Public Library, which has been sealed by an massive electric field, along with a guide named Selexin. Selexin explains that Swain is the sole human in mortal combat with extraterrestrials, and the rules of the Presidian competition. (Holly's presence was only an accident because she was too close to Swain when he was snatched.) Brutal, violent, fast-paced action, with ineffective, secret U.S. governmental interference. Swain's c ...more
Sasmaya Suliztiarto
Jul 22, 2010 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 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.
David Bigg
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the sickest, this book is a boss
Aug 31, 2008 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 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 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 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 02, 2010 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 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
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 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 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.
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The New York State Library. 2 20 Jan 28, 2015 07:46PM  
Which one is your favourite? 6 39 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.
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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.” 5 likes
“You'd be surprised, you can do a lot more damage with your brains than with your fists.” 3 likes
More quotes…