Review: Contaminated by Em Garner

August 1, 2013 3.5 stars, Book Review 19


After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the “Kennels,” Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…

Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead.

had a new approach to the zombie novel. Rather than taking place during the outbreak it takes place several years after the fact. So the chaotic feel is not as much there​ – which some people definitely might miss if that is what they are expecting/wanting. ​

This is more of a character driven story, exploring how people are going to react to this kind of tragedy. Don’t get the wrong idea you will still see Garner’s version of ‘zombies’ they are just referred to as ‘Connies’ for contaminated.  At it’s heart this was a book about people, and just how close are those ties that bind.  How helpful and caring are people going to be in the face of disaster? Are they going to sympathize with one another’s hardships or turn a blind eye? Replace this disaster with any other one and it still hits home.

The written cues to bring up images/scents are really well done!

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The corridors stink like disinfectant. It’s a harsh, burning smell that hurts the inside of my nose, but it’s better than the reek that wafts up from underneath the odor of cleanser. That smell’s something raw and meaty and moist, something sick. Like dirty wounds. Blood and other things. – pg 1

It’s an interesting look at how the government might react, there were quite a few points of curiosity for me as to how this might play out – but I do admit I missed my blood and gore.

It took me a a few chapters to adjust to the flow of Garner’s writing style. I don’t know exactly what it was, but the reading felt slow almost as if a lot of the sentences had pauses. You know how some people pause in a sentence for emphasis? That’s the closest I can come to​ explaining​ it.

I have to admit though, every time​ I read the word “Connie” it made me think of a hotdog. Lucky for me that I’m not fond of hot dogs so I could totally use that word to picture these guys.​
Read my interview with Em Garner. Giveaway of 2 signed copies of Contaminated!


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• An advanced uncorrected copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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19 Responses to “Review: Contaminated by Em Garner”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I am SO glad I’m not the only one that thought HOT DOGS when reading the word Connie! Am I right is that slang for hot dog back on the East Coast? I swear I thought it was. I’m glad you understand what I meant by the writing flow. It didn’t remain that way through out the book – at least I don’t think it did. Perhaps it did and I was just used to it by then. It was still enjoyable =).

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It definitely was a different approach to zombies! I still haven’t read Feed! I have two shelves full of zombie books – I went thru a big binger I think last year or the year before…binge reading a genre is dangerous then you get burned out. But I’m up for some more zombie fiction lately. Good luck I saw you entered the giveaway!!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I really enjoy character driven stories as well – actually I love both. Just as long as it’s done well it all that matters!! I hope you enter the giveaway then because we are giving away 2 signed copies!

  1. Jaime Lester

    Well hello there Tabitha! Been a while. Able to use two hands, but it is still slow going…. This sounds good. Different, but still good. And the word Connie definitely makes me want to head to Sonic!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      So glad I’m not the only one thinking about hot dogs. Though honestly I don’t like hot dogs so I didn’t mind that it brought a food item to mind that I already find somewhat yucky anyway.

      Glad you are doing better! yes it will be slow going indeed for awhile. Wrist and ankle injuries are the worst!!!