Cover Image: Pandemic: Patient Zero

Pandemic: Patient Zero

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received an advance reader copy of this book from Aconyte Books via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read and loved several of the Marvel Comics prose novel published by Aconyte, but they also publish books based on board games and other forms of entertainment. This particular novel is based on the popular Pandemic board game – I’ve never played the game, but didn’t figure that fact would prevent me from enjoying the book.


Patient Zero follows the efforts of a team from the Global Health Agency to contain a new and deadly virus that first emerges in Peru, then spreads to other continents in the following day. I’m not sure whether the author has any background in epidemiology, but the heart of this book is the internal interactions between the members of the GHA team, and the external interactions between the team and local doctors and others who they must convince to work with them to track the source of the virus to help formulate its cure.

I gave Pandemic: Patient Zero five stars. It is obviously a timely story, and serves well as a layman’s guide to how new viruses can emerge and find their way into human populations.
Was this review helpful?
Very much too close too home. I thought I could read it because I love the board game but I couldn’t get through it
Was this review helpful?
This book is based on a series of board games that I have never played. The fictional Global Health Agency works out of Lyon, France, to track and fight emerging diseases worldwide. Bodhi is the new American from the CDC who joins the international team just as they head to South America and the Amazon to investigate a new virus. They face danger when their efforts are thwarted by a local drug lord. At times the writing is very detailed, which slows the pace of the story a little too much. Some of the characters could be more defined, but that will probably be addressed in future volumes, which I look forward to reading. Thanks to NetGalley and Aconyte Books for providing an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book intense and captivating. It chronicles the paths and hard work the people from the Global Health Agency did to find patient zero and try to stop the virus from spreading. They were tireless and relentless in working to keep this from becoming a pandemic. Excellent book!!
Was this review helpful?
I'll be honest: when I saw an advance copy for a book based on the game Pandemic, my main thought was: how is that going to work? I had to find out, and I am glad I did. This was a solid and quick read, and I was entertained throughout. It does a great job establishing characters and roles, as well as the threat of the disease. I had a fun time with this book, and look forward to possible future installments.

It was a bit timely in what is going on currently in the world, and makes references to COVID being something of the past, instead of a still on-going threat. I get the idea some rewrites where done to include referencing the worldwide epidemic, and those who have dealt with the disease may be triggered by this book.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 Stars! 

*Thank you to Netgalley and Aconyte Books for provide an advance e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


I picked this book up because Pandemic (and Pandemic Legacy games) are probably in my top 15 board games of all time. I was immediately intrigued by the title, cover, and overall story and couldn’t wait to dive into this book. 

This book is the start of a series based on the popular co-op board game, Pandemic. It follows a team of characters as they try to contain a killer virus that is spreading across South America. We are first introduced to Helen Taylor who has been promoted to the head of the department for unknown reasons and helps lead the new team. Bodhi Patel has been hired to take Helen’s spot and is the lead Epidemiologist for Global Heath Agency. We are introduced to the other characters in the book, and they also follow the characters from the board game

Lou-Research and Data Analyst 
Max-Operations and Deployment Manager 
Gabriel-Contingency Planner
Ekemma- Quarantine Specialist  
 Justin-Medic 

This book reminded me of a TV show that has a group of people working together to stop the “bad guy of the week,” where each character has their strength they bring to the team. TV shows like NCIS, 24, Arrow, The Flash, flashed through my head while reading this book. Honestly, it read and played out like a TV show in my mind. The writing was good, and I was able to picture everything very clearly. I enjoyed the book, but I think I prefer stories like this in TV media. 

I read that this book (and Pandemic Legacy Season 0 game) was going to come out before/during Covid, but then when Covid hit they decided to wait and release the book later, but then they were able to add things about how Covid was handled and how it killed so many people. I appreciate them waiting to release this until we understood more about Covid, but at the same time, I really disliked the Covid references in this book…and there were quite a few of them. It felt like they were just inserted into a book that was already written and completed. Plus, I lost family members to Covid, and I’m a teacher in a state that is banning mask mandates and I’m seeing young children starting to be affected by Covid, so I wasn’t ready for a book to mention Covid yet. I think I would have enjoyed this a bit more if it was about a team of awesome people trying to end a virus….plain and simple. Don’t mention Covid yet. However, I did like the references to other virus and learned quite a bit of things about how previous viruses were spread around the world. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will probably pick up the next book, but it wasn’t anything incredibly special or over the top with my reading for the year. I probably would have enjoyed this if I would have read it next year. Again, thank you Netgalley for providing me the opportunity to read this book! 

#PandemicPatientZero
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher for giving me an arc of this book!  
I am a massive fan of Pandemic the game, so I was very excited to get my hands on an arc of this book.  At points, especially in the beginning, I was getting the vibes of how it feels to play the game.  The travelling from city to city in the beginning is what you do in the game.  That stopped midway through the book, but it made sense why they weren't travelling.  Realistically there isn't that much travelling as you do in the game.  

Characters- The characters were great.  I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and the different rolls that every single one of the them played in the story.  I think we had a good mix of people.  My only thing is with the characters is that none of them really go through a character arc.  Everyone is pretty much the same by the end of the book.  

Atmosphere- I really felt like we were in the Amazon forest when Hellen and Bodhi were out getting blood samples, but atmosphere was lacking in the other parts.  

Writing- The writing was good.  I don't have any complaints about the writing.  

Plot- The Plot was one of the strong points of the novel.  Everything that was happening felt cohesive and well put together.  I enjoyed the journey of the novel.  The ending is very neat and a little rushed, but it didn't ruin the novel for me.  

Intrigue- This book had me hooked on where it was going.  I wanted to know how they were going to solve this problem.  I wanted to know what caused the sickness.  Everything was well paced out to keep me intrigued the entire novel.

Logic- I felt this was very logical and very poignant as to what's happening right now in the world.  This book seems well researched on both what real scientist do in a pandemic situation but also the research into how to include the game the book is based on.  

Enjoyment- All in all I really enjoyed this book.  I'm curious to see where the series goes from here and how the author will continue including the game into the books.
Was this review helpful?
I love the board game Pandemic, so I was really excited to review this book! Team leader Helen and new kid on the block Bodhi lead a team of epidemiologists into South America to track a deadly new flu and contain it to prevent another COVID-scale pandemic. On the way, they encounter transportation difficulties, under-resourced hospitals, and a drug lord. 

I enjoyed the fast pace of this novel - Bridgeman did a good job of showing the dangers of a new disease without being too overdramatic (there is no "melting into goo" as in The Hot Zone). I appreciated the attention drawn to how quickly disease can spread, as well as how human action has made zoonotic diseases more like to cross over into the human population. I also enjoyed that there is an element of hope - although this subject matter feels a little dark given the COVID pandemic, I liked seeing the team fight for human health - they put their lives on the line for the greater good. If you like medical thrillers, this is a good one to add to your TBR!

Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good, quick read. This cover isn't great though. But the book it's self was entertaining and interesting.
Was this review helpful?
Pandemic is hands-down one of my favorite board games, and I'm a fan of Bridgeman's Salvation series.. While Patient Zero was an enjoyable-enough read, it wasn't quite the "you got chocolate in my peanut butter!" that I was hoping for. 

Reading the adventures of the Global Health Agency's researchers as they search for a cure for a new disease is fun, but I was hoping for some sort of a more direct tie to the game. Not sure how that would work, since a lot of the story building during gameplay is in the minds of they players.

Not my favorite book of the summer, but a solid read nonetheless.
Was this review helpful?
I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Pandemic book Pandemic: Patient Zero by Amanda Bridgeman, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let this cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What Is Pandemic

Pandemic is a cooperative board game designed by Matt Leacock, in the game you work together to discover the cure for several diseases rampaging though the world.

Players take on various roles, such as medic, dispatcher, scientist, quarantine expert etc and though the combined efforts, collect enough data and information to find the cures to save the world.

The game is incredibly successful and has three expansions for itself as well as numerous spin off games and variations. As well as the extremely popular Legacy versions of the game.

My personal current favourite is Pandemic: Hot Zone North America.

The Story

The story starts with a nun falling ill in Peru, and quickly the disease she later dies from starts popping up in Brazil and Columbia too.

It’s a new disease to which humanity has no immunity and it rapidly kills those it infects.

The Global Health Agency dispatches a team from its base in Lyon to discover the cause of this disease and hopefully find a cure.

We have a cast who roughly represent many of the possible roles within the Pandemic board game, and a nice mixture of nationalities and genders. There is also an interesting little bit of minor subplot about one of the field team finding it more difficult to traverse the world due to her being from Nigeria rather than the US, UK or Australia.

The story takes us on a hunt for the source of the disease, from Lima, into the jungle and down the Amazon river and then deep into a drug lords village as the team desperately search for patient zero and understand how this disease came into existence.

Conclusion

Look I need to be straight up here, I got Covid early on in the pandemic, it took a third of my lungs from me and has ruined my lungs to the point where I can’t climb stairs without an inhaler.

This book was extremely difficult to read because it quite often referred to Covid in the past tense, when Covid is still very much with us and killing people.

The book itself is well written, it’s a by the numbers virus outbreak kind of story, nowt ground breaking but well done and brilliantly written with relatable characters.

But it feels far too soon for a book to talk about Covid as being in the past, had I known this book would have done this, I would never have read it.

So it comes down to this, if you can handle many references to Covid and a new respiratory disease, then it’s a good book to read, but if like me you basically have PTSD when it comes to Covid, I would strongly advise giving this book a miss for now.

Just for now though, because it is a good book, but frankly it needs a trigger warning, I donMt know why I pushed myself to keep reading, I really shouldn’t have.

I don’t know how to score this book so I am going to ignore my instincts which are to refuse to score it because of how much it triggered my PTSD and made my chest feel incredibly tight.

It’s a well written book with a good story so I will give it a 4 out of 5 stars, but as I said, it desperately needs a proper trigger warning.
Was this review helpful?
Having played the Pandemic board game, I was excited to see a that a novelization was being released. Bridgeman is the author of a science fiction series, and I think the right author to take on the challenge of adapting the game. She was able to introduce a large cast of characters with enough backstory to be believable and to make the reader care about them, but not loo much to weigh the story down with unnecessary details.  True to the spirit of the game, which requires cooperation to win, the book is about a new team coming together to face an emerging disease. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading more!
Thank you to Netgalley and Aconyte for the digital copy in exchange for review.
Was this review helpful?
I have read books based on films and tv shows, books adapted from comics video games and even books inspired by music and albums. Pandemic: Patient Zero has the distinction of being the first book I’ve read based on a board game though.
The concept isn’t entirely new, fiction set in various role playing game worlds has been around almost as long as Dungeons & Dragons itself and Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Files family of tabletop games have inspired novels amongst others, but it feels like this is one of a few new books coming soon based on other board game properties kicking off new series.

Pandemic: Patient Zero by Amanda Bridgeman takes its inspiration from the co-op game Pandemic created by Matt Leacock. In the game players take on a specialist role and work together to research and cure diseases all over the world. It is often considered the ultimate ‘gate-way’ game for people looking into the hobby and try out what modern games can be. While it can be challenging to learn at first for people who have only experienced the simple roll and move games from their childhood, Pandemic is intuitive enough that by the end of the first game most people should have a good grasp of the mechanics.

Adapting that kind of social tabletop experience into a novel and making it engaging and enjoyable is no small order but I’m happy to say that Bridgeman pulls it off.
We are introduced to a number of characters working for the Global Health Agency; a special task force who’s job it is predict, prevent and cure new diseases before they can cause a global catastrophe.
Our primary protagonists are a pair of epidemiologists; one who has just been assigned to his first field position, Bodhi Patel, and the person he’s replacing as she takes on a temporary role as the chief of their station, Helen Taylor.
As we meet the rest of the team through Bodhi’s eyes it becomes clear that each of these characters fills one of the many roles found in the board game or one of its many expansions. While this was clear for me as I’ve played a lot of the game, if you just picked this book up with no knowledge of those player roles it wouldn’t feel out of place. Everyone is there for a purpose and while not every character is full fleshed out or has a ton to do in this story, it was a fine introduction and as this is the first of a series I’m sure we’ll get to know everyone else in subsequent stories. Keeping the focus on the two main characters made the story more approachable and what we do learn about other members of the field team in particular left me intrigued.

Plot wise, Patient Zero isn’t breaking any new ground. If you have read any stories about a viral outbreak, such as The Andromeda Strain or seen films like Outbreak or Contagion there isn’t going to be much in this book you haven’t seen before. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth reading though, the story is exciting and following the processes of how this team operates at the outset of a new deadly virus is interesting.
What I found most unique was that this is well and truly set in a post-COVID near future. The current pandemic we have all been living through is referenced whenever it is relevant and the fact that it is still fresh in people’s minds is both a boon and a curse for our characters who are desperately trying to prevent the next, potentially even deadlier, global pandemic.
The first half of the novel has us moving around quite frequently, from the GHA base in Lyon, France to Lima, Peru and then deeper into the Amazon as the field team are hot on the trail of their suspected patient zero. This continent hopping slows down in the second half and the field team is divided with out two leads taking on a sizeable risk while the rest of the field team; a soldier, field medic and quarantine specialist do what that can for the local population. At this point we don’t see to much of the team back at the Lyon base, but when we do we understand how they’ve also been working flat out as well trying to find treatments and begin working on cures for this new strain. 

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Pandemic: Patient Zero. I was expecting a fairly shlocky tie-in but we got a fun science based adventure that would be perfectly holiday reading for anyone who feels comfortable picking up fiction about a topic that is still a bit too close to home for many.
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book and the only thing I would like changing is the cover. I really hope the one I saw was just a placeholder because it does absolutely nothing for the content of this book.

Pandemic: Patient Zero is due for release this fall and is available for preorder at most booksellers now.
Was this review helpful?
As a fan of the hit board game I'd been eagerly anticipating this novel since it was first announced and was so glad to see it finally see daylight after a year-plus of delays (caused, I imagine, by the need to add Covid references to keep the novel up to date and relevant).
Amanda Bridgeman and the team of helpers she mentions in her acknowledgments have fleshed out a bunch of characters initially no more complex than simple plastic tokens. I've seen this sort of thing done before, such as with Rebecca Gable's novelisation of the Settlers of Catan board game but never with a game so tied to the modern world that we live in and recognise. Some of the characters are completely original and some are clearly inspired by the tiny hints of characterisation given to characters in the game's official artwork. Many of the characters are given hints at a backstory that no doubt will be elaborated on in later instalments of this series.
The story focuses on the team working to contain an outbreak in South America when their investigations hit a wall of silence as they run up against a local narcotics operation. Whilst obviously drawn from real life tales of Columbian drug lords the plot also feels very similar to any number of action/thriller movies that use South American drug rings as their backdrop. It's not wholly original as plots go but a good way to introduce a recognisable human & geopolitical conflict into what could otherwise be a story entirely contained within a dull lab.
As a modern day thriller with human interest drama at its heart (and science on the more, shall we say, CSI/NCIS side of realistic) I enjoyed this a great deal and devoured it in one sitting the day it came out. I look forward to future instalments.
Was this review helpful?