The third book in the Infected series, Pandemic tells the story of an alien virus that turns people into murdering psychopaths and what the American government does to finally quell the virus after its initial outbreak detailed in the first two novels.
With the over saturation of zombie media of recent times—The Walking Dead being talked about around the water cooler and a Brooks novel made into a widely publicized movie—everyone and their mother are aware of the monster from beyond the grave. Science-fiction novels are no exception from this undead over saturation and I’ll admit I wasn’t terribly excited to read anything in this genre. I was also nervous going in—as I hadn’t read the first two in the Infected series. But, like the pathogen described the novel, Scott Sigler’s Pandemic quickly infected me from the very start, causing my mind to race with excitement as the pages took its course. Soon, I was unknowingly contagious, talking about the novel to others and subconsciously spreading the virus to others.
To Sigler’s credit, the writing is clear, direct and the novel is a stand alone story that references the first two books, but is ultimately independent in its tale. Pandemic starts with Doctor Margaret Montoya, the tired heroine that saved the world by making the choice to drop a nuke on the infected Detroit, wrecked by the guilt and depression of her zero hour decision. Another potential outbreak of the alien virus has drawn the doctor into saving the world again. New characters, like an Chinese nationalist, computer engineer who hunts for a canister left behind by the alien probe, give the story some depth and a refreshing point of view break. The occasional page short chapter adds a jolt of excitement every once in awhile and Sigler’s writing style allows us to beak free from the protagonists and glance at the larger picture of the outbreak for a wonderful perspective of the larger picture. Sigler’s writing in this genre of science-fiction tale is very reminiscent of Crichton or King, giving a true sense of horror on the microbiological scale, while keeping intimate character-based horror on the personal level. The novel certainly make my stomach tense up and heartbeat race every time that I coughed or had a runny noise.
Unlike the previous novels in the series and similar rage “zombie” outbreak stories like 28 Days Later, the alien pathogen now has the ability to choose infected that will become leaders and start to infiltrate everyday society to unleash the plan to defeat humanity. I won’t spoil anything in this review, but at one point in the novel a character becomes infected and truely shows the power that someone could have over another person.
The ending, while ties up almost all of the loose ends, did feel a little rushed. I was left wanting a little more of what the state of the world was after this last outbreak, instead everything felt hurried to the conclusion. The book is rather large for a science-fiction novel, but doubling the epilogue would have made me feel satisfied.
Sigler’s third book in the Infected series certainly makes me want to pick up the first two and read all about how this alien outbreak started and what caused the characters to become what they were in Pandemic If you are looking for an easy and direct novel that you should never read when you are sick, this is near the top of the list.
Score: 7.5 Out of 10
Pandemic by Scott Sigler
Publisher: Crown, Random House
Release Date: January 24th, 2014