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Series: Parasitology #2
Published by Orbit on November 25th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
THE SECOND BOOK IN MIRA GRANT'S TERRIFYING PARASITOLOGY SERIES.
THE ENEMY IS INSIDE US.
The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde.
Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.
I often have a hard time enjoying middle volumes in trilogies. Middle novels often feel like a dead zone for characters and plot development, lacking in overall excitement and action. Symbiont exceeds where other middle-trilogy novels have failed. It’s interesting and complex at times, characters are tested in situations that allow for stronger character development, and the premise remains plausible. However, I did feel at times the length of the novel was what took the most out of me. As a train commuter for work, I can finish 400+ books in about four or five 55-minute train rides. Symbiont took 11. I felt exhausted. It was later that I discovered the series was originally a duology that had transformed into a trilogy.
Needless to say, it explained a lot.
The plot in Symbiont revolves around a lot of seemingly random details and picks up where Parasite left off. Rescuing Tansy, who was captured while saving Sal in Parasite’s final moments, or what remains of her is a major plot arc in this novel. Getting there is the problem. There are a bunch of strange moments that get described in the first 500 pages. First Sal and Nathan return to their apartment to gather the dogs where they run into a hoard of tapeworm-zombies. Next, Sal has a seizure at Dr. Cale’s facility and it is decided she must have surgery immediately to repair the damage. The getaway seems almost to good to be true after the successful surgery and they are once again chased by a hoard of zombies. Sal is then captured by USMIIRD and manages to escape first with help from Sherman and his team before he locks her in an abandoned mall, which she escapes with help from Ronnie, a member of Sherman’s team.
For much of Symbiont, the intensity and action that was so apparent in Parasite, is gone. Even in the moments where the tapeworm zombies appear, you are already resigned that the group will escape somewhat unscathed. The suspense is gone.
The part I enjoyed the most in the series is Sal’s interactions with Sherman, Ronnie, and Dr. Banks. I’m extremely interested in seeing how those last few scenes play out in Chimera.
Overall, I enjoyed Symbiont. Were there moments where I wanted to beat my tablet against my head as chases and escapes were described in length? Yes. But there were moments where Grant illustrates her “divine” plan for this series and honestly her ability to build a fascinating world and characters, and the overall themes of consciousness, identity, and gender are what kept me motivated for finishing. I rated this at four stars, even with all my criticism noted above.