Holly's Reviews > The Contaminants

The Contaminants by Devin K. Smyth
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it was ok

Thanks to the author and Mother Daughter Book Reviews for giving me a copy of the ebook to read for purposes of an honest review. I was intrigued by the synopsis and had high hopes when I started the book. Unfortunately, it just didn't grab me as I continued on. The IDEA was great, and I was intrigued, but I just needed MORE... more explanations of the science, more feelings for the characters, more description of life on the ship for the three years they've been on it, more logic, MORE EVERYTHING.

The characters were okay, just not fleshed out well. Soraj (Raj), I think, is supposed to have Asperger's or something, but it's never explicitly stated - he just has a very weird way of talking. Gaben (Ben) and Kylo (Lo), Jessil's brothers, are mere shadows, necessary for plot purposes but having no personality of their own. Dr. Guyat is a fanatic freak who shouldn't be a father (and in fact I wondered several times how that even happened). I liked Capt. Monumba, but she had a very minor role.

And then there's Jessil. Oh, Jessil/Sil/Silly... there is no love lost between the two of us, trust me. Although the beginning was promising and I liked her voice in the first chapter or two, I grew to seriously dislike her as the story progressed. It's clear that Soraj is in love with her, and I just kept wanting to shake him and say, "there's got to be SOMEONE on the ship who'll treat you better than THAT!" She constantly complains about how Raj can't keep up - because he CAN'T BREATHE, ya know, what a schmuck - and how Lo is a big baby whiner - because he's EIGHT and has had all parents ripped away from him by the age of five. Seriously, what does he have to cry about or be afraid of?! Sheesh. (Yes, that's sarcasm.) I just found Jessil to be a jerk, and I really got irritated with her. Her actions on Earth are stupid and reckless and endanger all four of the kids, yet we're supposed to think of her as a hero becsuse she stumbled (literally) into a hideout! And the way she speaks about the "others" they meet (I'm trying to avoid spoilers), well it's just downright distasteful ("prejudiced" is not too harsh a word for how she acts) and left me with yucky feelings.

As for the plot, like I said, the IDEA was a good one, and I think there is potential, but there were so many holes and impossibilities and "amazing" coincidences that I just got frustrated. Not to mention there were SO MANY issues that were just left hanging, ones that don't really seem to make sense to leave hanging until answered in a sequel (if ever). For example, I'm really supposed to believe that Jessil, who sees Raj EVERY SINGLE DAY, after she's opened her eyes EVERY SINGLE DAY to a picture of her and her father that Raj took and gave to her when he discovered her and her brothers (without their father) on the ship THREE YEARS AGO -- I'm REALLY supposed to believe that she's NEVER, not once in THREE YEARS, asked him how on earth he even HAD this picture since they'd never even met each other back on earth?!?! No. It just doesn't make sense. At all.

Basically, characters that are VERY difficult to identify with or empathize with, seriously huge plot holes, a plot that moves way too fast, a serious lack of any back story beyond a few flashbacks from pre-ship days (ie, NO discussion of life for the past three years!!), and too many eyeroll-inducing coincidences all left me feeling cold and frustrated at the end of this book. I think it has potential, but the author could benefit from a good editor, or even a few good beta readers. I don't think I'll be continuing on with the series, but I hope that perhaps there is something in my review that can help the author improve the story for the next book. And, as always, remember that this is one woman's honest opinion, and there are obviously others who read the story and loved it. Give it a shot if you're looking for a quick, short sci-fi read!
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Reading Progress

August 18, 2015 – Started Reading
August 20, 2015 – Finished Reading
August 22, 2015 – Shelved

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