Monday, March 16, 2015
Book Review: Pandemic by Scott Sigler
It's been five years since mankind destroyed the Orbital and ended the frightening infection of Detroit. Sure, it took a nuke to do it, but it's over. The source of the mind-bending infection fell into Lake Michigan and is gone. We won.
But there are scraps of the orbital left, and worse, there's one last probe containing a new, modified version of the infection. And it's just been dredged up.
Margaret Montoya is in no shape to save the world again. She did say that nuking Detroit was necessary, after all, so those deaths are on her hands. Now, she has to be called back into action one last time to save humanity. But the infection is much worse. It's even more contagious than before, and nothing seems able to stop it. In the meantime, Steve Stanton, the young genius that actually pulled up the Orbital's last probe, has been infected. The disease has a new leader with a brain that can overcome humanity. Earth is in trouble.
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from http://scottsigler.com/
Scott Sigler’s Infected shocked readers with a visceral, up-close account of physical metamorphosis and one man’s desperate fight for sanity and survival, as “Scary” Perry Dawsey suffered the impact of an alien pathogen’s early attempts at mass extinction. In the sequel Contagious , Sigler pulled back the camera and let the reader experience the frantic national response to this growing cataclysm.
And now in Pandemic, the entire human race balances on the razor’s edge of annihilation, beset by an enemy that turns our own bodies against us, that changes normal people into psychopaths or transforms them into nightmares.
To some, Doctor Margaret Montoya is a hero— a brilliant scientist who saved the human race from an alien intelligence determined to exterminate all of humanity. To others, she’s a monster— a mass-murderer singlehandedly responsible for the worst atrocity ever to take place on American soil. All Margaret knows is that she’s broken. The blood of a million deaths is on her hands. Guilt and nightmares have turned her into a shut-in, too mired in self-hatred even to salvage her marriage, let alone be the warrior she once was.
But Margaret is about to be called into action again. Because before the murderous intelligence was destroyed, it launched one last payload— a soda-can-sized container filled with deadly microorganisms that make humans feed upon their own kind. That harmless-looking container has languished a thousand feet below the surface of Lake Michigan, undisturbed and impotent... until now.
Pandemic is happening now. Like, right now. There are only five short years between the events of Contagious and Pandemic. I don't know that I can really say anything new beyond what I've said in my reviews for Infected and Contagious (find them here). I could walk out the door and see this happening in the world. That's enough.
Sigler's writing is visceral and clear without being oversimplified. I always learn some new words and acronyms when I read (or listen to) Sigler's work. That's always a pleasure. The knowledge that he really puts a lot of real research behind the science of his material makes things a little scary. It's plausible. That doesn't mean you have to be a member of MENSA to 'get" Sigler's work. He makes the science accessible and understandable, at least insofar much as the reader needs to get what's really going on. He is a pleasure to read... if you don't mind cursing and TONS of violence.
I like cursing and TONS of violence.
(spoiler alert for previous books)
I don't think Pandemic lived up to Infected and Contagious. I don't know if it was a matter of the scope being too big or just the lack of the two best characters from the previous books ("best" in my opinion). I really felt the lack of Perry Dawsey and Dew Phillips in this one. The first third or so of the book really dragged for me. I think that may be due to there being such a large period of time between the end of Contagious and the beginning of Pandemic. The human race had to rev back up to get to pace with the threat. Everything had to restart, and I feel like that hurt the narrative.
After the disease started to hit again, things really jumped into gear. It did it so fast I was enthralled with the book again before I had time to blink. That's the Sigler I know. The pace kept up, and for the last two-thirds of the book, it was a blast that I think really fit in with the two previous books in the trilogy.
Then there was the epilogue. I was honestly left with the feeling of, "Wait, that's it?" And sure enough, that was the end. I was really disappointed with it. I don't know that I would say I feel like I was left hanging, as everything was wrapped up well, but the epilogue felt stilted and stale, like it was tacked on for a sort of feel-good moment. It didn't feel good. I could have done without it, really. I'm really just talking about the last exchanges of the characters 9the ones that survived, anyway). It either needed to be more definitive or left out altogether, in my opinion.
Would I Recommend This Book? Yes and no. If you look back at January 2014, you'll see that I've reviewed a few of Sigler's books. I put up all the reviews of his novels I've read so far in preparation for the release of Pandemic. I read this a lot later than I should have, but life happens. That said, I am glad I read Pandemic. There is some great material and action here, and it wraps up mankind's survival of the Orbital visitor well. But with a dragging beginning and an end that left me disappointed, I cannot justify giving this as high a rating as its predecessors. I recommend it as a closure to the series... if you want it. Ignore the tail end of Contagious, and I think you could be a happy reader, too. It can go either way. I give Pandemic a yeast-filled 3 of 5 stars.
For more information on the author, visit http://scottsigler.com/