Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Review of Contest by Matthew Reilly

Book Blurb:
The New York Public Library. A silent sanctuary of knowledge; a 100-year-old labyrinth of towering bookcases, narrow aisles and long marble hallways. For Doctor Stephen Swain and his daughter, Holly, it is the site of a nightmare. Because for one night this historic building is to be the venue for a contest. A contest in which Swain is to compete - whether he likes it or not.

The rules are simple: Seven contestants will enter, only one will leave.

With his daughter in his arms, Stephen Swain is plunged into a terrifying fight for survival. The stakes are high, the odds brutal. He can choose to run, to hide or to fight - but if he wants to live, he has to win. For in this contest, unless you leave as the victor, you do not leave at all.


My review:
Discussing books with friends is one of my favorite parts of having friends who read. My friend Leilani and I talk about books all the time. One day during such a discussion she told me this book happened to be the book that got her into the sci-fi genre and she highly recommended it. So I figured, why not?

I liked it. It was a bit gory for my taste, but that didn't really bother me. The action was intense. A battle to the death and the need to survive. No escape possible. And to add to the intensity, the need to protect your only child as well as yourself.

As a parent, that part got me from the start. Parental instincts are incredibly strong. My only criticism here is that it was obvious, from a parental perspective, that this book was written by a man. I'm not putting him down, or at least not intending too, but as a woman there are several points in the story that no woman would have reacted that way with her child. But the main character isn't a woman so maybe that really IS how a man would react. I can't say. 

It was a good, solid, sci-fi action novel and I enjoyed it. I just wish it had had a little more heart. I'm not saying it doesn't have heart. It does. But when I compare it to a book with a similar theme, like The Hunger Games, I feel more of an emotional connection with the latter.

Have you read The Contest? How do you feel about it? 

About the author: 
Matthew Reilly is a New York Times best-selling author of eight novels that have been published in eighteen languages in twenty countries. He has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide.You can learn more about him at his website.


  1. I loved it! The whole idea of the contest and all being trapped in the library with only one outcome. It was believeable. Plenty of action and the father character never wavered. I like a hard, action book now and then. I'd love to find more like this one.

    1. Wow Laura - I'm glad you had such a strong reaction to it. That is always the sign of a good book. I'll tell you what. If you find something similar let me know, and I'll do the same for you.

    2. Sounds like a plan! I'm still looking:)