In his follow up to Infected
, Scott Sigler takes his tale of alien infection and invasion to a whole new level.
The first novel really benefited from the enclosed setting of Perry's apartment, lending his one-man-battle against the triangles a claustrophobic intimacy. In Contagious, we have Perry out in the wild with the rest of the team in a race against time to figure out how to stop the extraterrestrial menace.
The story is a lot of fun. We've got new kinds of infection, military, medical, and political perspectives, and Perry Dawsey looking for payback. There's a lot going on in this book, and I was always on edge, desperate to know the next development, and cheering on our heroes even as they faced seemingly impossible odds. In terms of gore, I didn't find it as gruesome as the previous installment, except for one certain scene involving fingers which I happened to read whilst eating my lunch. I would say the focus here is more on action, and how the US would respond to a potential alien invasion. There's lots of military action, which I thought was well handled without too much lingo, but if you're not a fan of this kind of action then this might not be for you.
The focus shifts around a lot between different viewpoints, both human and alien, as well as the technique used in the first novel of getting right into the human body to see what the virus is doing to it. Whilst I like getting this wide perspective, at times I felt it was too
wide, never allowing us to get close enough to the characters or spend long enough in their heads to be able to get to know them. Perry and Dew's developing relationship was great, but again I wish we'd spent more time with them. There's not much to say about the other characters, except that Margo was pretty cool. Actually most of the characters are male, and there was a lot of macho attitude thrown around that could sometimes get on my nerves, and I do wish we'd had a female character in the military or politics who wasn't the rage-inducing Vanessa.
The whole thing was a fun and action-packed read, and I'd recommend it if you enjoyed the first one, or if you're looking for a creative approach to how an alien invasion might look. I wasn't quite expecting the ending, and it left me feeling a bit low, but looking back on it I think it was the perfect way to wrap up the story.