Category Archives: Em Garner

[REVIEW] Contaminated – Em Garner

Em Garner
Contaminated
Random House Egmont (US & CA: 23rd July 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

One of those author blurbs called this book a “debut”. Now, far be it from me to say that a professional user of words doesn’t use them correctly, I leave you with this information: Yes, this is the first book published under the name Em Garner, but that’s actually a pseudonym for a New York Times Bestselling Author, and whose work I really enjoy. This is her first young adult novel, though. So overall debut, no; but in certain circumstances, yes. Actually, I was reading two books during the same period: Contaminated, and one by the author’s adult novels under a non-Em Garner name, and the difference in quality is so vast it’s almost hard to believe they’re written by the same person. I really liked the adult novel, but this YA is just…not good. I almost wish it were her debut, so we’d assume the storytelling would get better with each book. And the only reason I’ll be tuning in to Book 2 is because I like the author’s adult works so much.

Now onto Contaminated itself. I call it a zombie novel, though I don’t remember seeing the Z-word. It’s like how there are vampire novels in which the V-word is never used. Anyhoo, the Contaminated (also referred to as Connies) seem at first to be an analogy for the treatment of dogs, then the elderly, then people with disabilities, and since there doesn’t seem to be a particular analogy, it was probably never an analogy in the first place. My fault for thinking this was deeper than it actually is. Eejit Tez.

Look, I’m just going to refer you to the Bookistry review. It describes the science-fail in this novel. You know me: I love science, and love when it’s used in fiction…correctly. But when used incorrectly, that makes me rant and rave and despair. (I have issues.) But in short: when prions get at your brain, THERE IS NO RECOVERY. Only there is recovery in the book. Why? Special Snowflake. “But, Tezzy,” I hear you say, “what about neuro-plasticity?” First of all, I don’t think that term was ever used in the novel. Second: click the review link, read, and learn. It’s not like a stroke, where there can be recovery. It’s more like forms of dementia: the only way is down. IT DOESN’T GET BETTER. Not very inspiring but that’s real life, and it would be insulting and patronising and condescending to pretend that everything’s going to be okay.

But hey – the book’s fiction, so Special Snowflakes happen, and martyr Velvet knows better than scientists.

If you’re not mentally growling at that, you and I are on two very different wavelengths.

Yes, her name’s Velvet and her sister is Opal. No, I don’t know why their parents thought those were decent names when the kids are probably going to be picked on for them all their lives, but I’m not a parent so our thinking is not similar.

Speaking of getting picked on, ten-year-old Opal (whom I swear seems more like five, or younger due to her temper tantrums) is getting picked on at school because her parents were Contaminated, and they think she might be, too. The principal thinks it would be best to move Opal to another class, and Velvet blows a gasket and takes Opal out of school instead. Because she thinks it’s better to have NO education than SOME education? Velvet says she’ll home-school Opal, which screams of logic-fail to me, because where I come from you have to get a licence to home-school, some form of certification that proves you’re qualified to educate someone. Velvet just threatens to go Contaminated on the principal, and gets her way. So bullying is wrong, but threatening people is totally okay? Oh Velvet, you hypocrite. “Do as I say, not as I do,” right? Some kind of double standards going on, anyway.

And we haven’t even started on Opal yet, who is single-handedly the most annoying character I’ve read in recent memory. I can’t remember wanting to yell at a character so much. Please tell me I wasn’t that much of a brat at ten. I think I was quieter, rather than constantly bitching about everything. (I saved that constant bitching about everything for my twenties, where I keep my rants to typing and not voicing them aloud. Because I’m considerate like that, or whatever.)

And of course the love interest, Dillon, is perfect in every way and he thinks Velvet is perfect in every way, and there’s – I’m not kidding – a ROMANTIC DINNER at home (cooked by Dillon’s mom, but no doubt Dillon could’ve cooked it himself because he’s THAT PERFECT). Now, I’m no expert on teen dating, but does any of that kind of stuff happen in real life? Someone who’s perfect and romantic in every way, or is that the kind of wish fulfilment tripe that’s unfortunately so overdone in fiction nowadays?

As I said, the only reason I’ll be reading Book 2 is because I like the author’s adult novels so much. But I don’t have high hopes.

Now Available for US Pre-Order

Holly Black: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN (paperback): 12th August 2014: Buy (US)
Jessica Brody: THE INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: 14th January 2014: Buy (US)
Máire Claremont: A LADY UNDONE: 4th February 2014: Buy (AU)
Stephanie Diaz: EXTRACTION: 22nd July 2014: Buy (US)
Em Garner: CONTAMINATED (paperback): 2nd July 2014: Buy (US)
Em Garner: untitled 2nd CONTAMINATED novel: 26th August 2014: Buy (US)
Megan Hart: EVERY PART OF YOU (paperback): 1st September 2014: Buy (US)
Kristi Helvig: BURN OUT: 8th April 2014: Buy (US)
Jessa Holbrook: WHILE YOU’RE AWAY (paperback): 20th May 2014: Buy (US)
Darynda Jones: SIXTH GRAVE ON THE EDGE (paperback): 26th August 2014: Buy (US)
Marie Langager: BEYOND OUR STARS: 19th December 2013: Buy (US)
Richelle Mead: SILVER SHADOWS: 29th July 2014: Buy (US)
Kass Morgan: THE 100 (paperback): 5th August 2014: Buy (US)
Lisa Ann O’Kane: ESSENCE: 3rd June 2014: Buy (US)
Amy Christine Parker: GATED (paperback): 27th May 2014: Buy (US)
Amy Christine Parker: ASTRAY: 26th August 2014: Buy (US)
Madeleine Roux: SANCTUM: 26th August 2014: Buy (US)

23rd July 2013 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Em Garner
Contaminated
Random House Egmont (US & CA: 23rd July 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

After the Contamination – an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink SlimPro that turned ordinary citizens into shambling creatures unable to control their violent impulses – the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. But now, two years later, the government has started sending the rehabilitated back home, complete with shock collars that will either stop the Connies from committing violent acts or kill them before they do any further harm. Since her parents were taken in the roundup, Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister and maintain a sense of normalcy, despite brutal government rations and curfews. She goes to the “Kennels” every day searching for her parents, and when she finds her mother, she’s eager to bring her home. Maybe, eventually, they’ll be able to get back to the way things were before. But even though it seems that her mother is getting better (something that the government says is impossible), there will be no happy transition. Anti-Connie sentiment is high, and rumour has it that an even worse wave of the Contamination is imminent. And then the government declares that the Connies will be rounded up and neutralised, once and for all. Sacrificing everything – her boyfriend, her home, and her job – Velvet will do anything to protect her mother. Velvet has to get the collar off her mother before the military comes to take her away. Even if it means risking all of their lives.

Stacey Jay
Of Beast and Beauty
Random House (US & CA: 23rd July 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds. Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe. As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Kassy Tayler
Shadows of Glass (Ashes of Twilight, Book 2)
Macmillan St. Martin’s Griffin (US: 23rd July 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Wren’s world has changed. The thing that she fought for, escaping the dome has come to fruition, but it’s not the paradise she thought it would be. Most of the shiners have died, and according to James, she is to blame for many of the deaths, a burden which sits heavy on her shoulders. Still some have survived and Wren is determined to keep them safe as they fight to establish a home outside while hiding from the rovers who have weapons that can kill from far away. But as long as she has Pace she knows everything will be fine. Still Wren wonders, as she sees the smoke that continually pours forth from the dome, how did her friends inside fare? Will they ever find out if Lucy, David, Jill and Harry, along with Pace’s mother survive the explosions? Meanwhile, someone else has also seen the smoke. A band of explorers from across the sea arrive in an airship, curious about the dome, and offering help to those who survive. When Wren meets the handsome Levi Addison, she suddenly questions her love for Pace as Levi offers to show her the world from his airship. Does she really love Pace? Or was it just the circumstances that made her think she did? Meanwhile, word arrives from inside via Pip, and Wren is forced to go back inside the dome, a thing that terrifies her more than anything else, to save her friends. Once she’s back inside will she be able to escape again?

July 2013 Releases

Done with June 2013 Releases? Here are July 2013 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist

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3 New Covers (Garner, Jay, Merle)

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5 New Covers (Garner, Hart, Metcalf, Pfeffer, Rainfield)

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