Author(s): Mia Grant
Series: Parasitology #1
Published by Orbit on 10/29/2013
Genres: Science Fiction
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We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm 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.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review by Travis Starnes
Parasite really took me off guard. It is the story of a future where humans have purposely made themselves hosts to a genetically modified species of Tapeworm. Everything seems great until the parasites start getting restless, then things get interesting.
I was really unsure what to make of this book. Even after reading the back of the book I wasn’t sure if it was a mystery, sci-fi or horror story. Turns out it is a little of all three. Something I didn’t know going in, but I think most readers should be warned about before reading it, is this is part one of a larger story. The book ends on a solid cliff hanger, which honestly killed me. By the end of the book I was totally invested in what was going on and when I flipped the page and found the afterward and a “to be continued” I audibly moaned. That is because up to that point I was totally enjoying the story and didn’t want the ride to end.
The main character is really unique, which after reading so many books isn’t something I get very often. The way she is constantly building her new identity while struggling with separating herself from a past she can’t remember is truly fun to read. I was with Sal from early on and I am 100% on her side. The only real issue I have is that the big reveal about her is dead obvious by half way through the book. I am not sure what the Mira Grant could have done differently however, since the character was being purposefully thick skulled. Grant did telegraph that all the supporting characters also figured out the reveal well before the end of the book, so maybe it wasn’t a reveal for the reader. Perhaps the reveal was really for Sal only.
The rest of the cast is equally well done. Even the characters that show up just to move the plot along are woven nicely into the story and don’t pull you out of the book. Every step of the book and every page feel like it has a purpose and drives the story forward while filling in the world. The writing of this book is a master’s class in efficiency and quality.
Also something I really liked was the creepy as hell children’s story that keeps getting quoted. Although this is not an outright horror story, a bit more suspense then horror really, the passages from the book really help set the mode. Coupled with the transcripts from early research on the parasites and excerpts from the biographies of the creators of the parasites, even the lead in to the chapters both fill in the world and set a mood.
I can’t give enough praise for this story. It is fun to read and really did grab me emotionally as the reader. My only complaint is I have to wait to find out what happens next.