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Series: Parasitology #1
Published by Orbit on October 29th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite -- a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system -- even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.
As a fan of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, I had high hopes for her next horror-science fiction trilogy and boy did she deliver. That being said – this is not Feed. Parasite is incredibly different type of novel than Grant’s predecessor Newsflesh trilogy.
Prior to actually reading this book, I read through all the one star reviews on Goodreads. Needless to say, the problems other readers found with the book were pretty legitimateWhile Parasite moves considerably slower than the Newsflesh series, and the twist ending/cliffhanger was on the predictable side – she did lot of world and character building. Not to mention the supplementary information, including interviews, diary excerpts and Don’t Go Out Alone (officially the creepiest fictional children’s book I’ve ever encountered).
Sal is a difficult character to like but she feels real – she’s afraid, she doesn’t always understand things and she faints at the most inconvenient of times. But she was always moving towards the conclusion of this book,View Spoiler » and even when it became painfully obvious that she was in fact a tapeworm, Grant was able to introduce some great ideas about what it means to be human. For me the twists were finding out Sherman, the debonair SymboGen watcher of Sal, was a creation of Dr. Cale; and finding out Dr. Cale was Nathan’s mother « Hide Spoiler. I don’t think at any point in reading this book did I process those as probable outcomes.
Another aspect I liked was just how in the grey the “bad” guys were – SymboGen, Dr. Cale, and USAMRIID each appear to be the true “evil” force in this book, and in some aspects they are. But when the crisis of sleepwalkers emerges each institution seems at a loss for how to create a solution. Yet they are in a constant battle with Sal, who only wants to be informed of what is happening around her. In most young adult novels, I feel like the evil/bad/antagonistic force is always clearly defined and this was a definite change of pace.
Overall, Parasite is a great first installment in this trilogy. I look forward to Symbiont and Chimera in the coming weeks (because yes I will crush this series on my way in and out of the city for work), and more from Mira Grant.