ParasiteWritten by Mira Grant
(Little Brown UK, Orbit - 29 October 2013)Series: Parasitology #1
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback (502 pages)
Source: Work Experience
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 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 decided to read Mira Grant’s Parasite for one main reason: it’s genre. Readers tend to classify this bad boy as horror and sci-fi, and with Leanne’s Horror October Fortnight recently happening and the amazing Sci-Fi November taking place I decided this was the perfect read! And you know what? I’m glad I read it! While the science was a bit over my head at times, I loved how creepy and real everything in this book seemed. It all felt so real, so plausible, and as a result it was all so so so disturbing.
I think one of my favorite things about this book was its ability to make me think. There’s an exploration of what makes us human – is it our bodies, our minds, our experiences? There’s an exploration of identities and how relationships can be severely impacted by change. All of these big ideas were sort of weaved throughout the book, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them long after I put the book down.
Take, for instance, Sal’s situation. She’s the main character in this book, and prior to events we read about she was in a major car accident that put her in a coma. They were going to pull the plug on her, when she suddenly woke up. She was sort of reborn that day though – she remembered absolutely nothing from prior to the accident and had to relearn how to walk, talk, etc. As a result, she ended up becoming a completely different person than what she was. And it was really interesting just thinking about how hard that would be, both for her and those around her, and how I would feel if I were in her shoes.
The characters and relationships were gripping and engaging. I felt in many ways each character were their own fully fleshed out beings. I may not have agreed with what some of them were doing at times (I’m looking at you, Sal’s parents), but they had their own motivations and struggles and pain that made them do what they did. The relationship between Sal and Nathan was particularly refreshing. They had such a strong, healthy, supportive relationship. I couldn’t help but root for them throughout the story, and I’m particularly interested in seeing how their relationship changes and grows in the next book.
I think I should also give a special shout out to two characters who made appearances in this book who I hope to see much more of in the next one, Tansy and Adam. I don’t want to say much about them because I rather other readers find out about them themselves, but they were so captivating and fun to read about. I think the author had a lot of fun writing them.
(Oh, and I also want to give a shout out to the dogs because I love dogs, but that’s just a bit much, isn’t it? I guess what you can take away from this is that I really enjoyed all the characters involved in the story – human or not – and can’t wait to reunite with them in the next book.)
Dispersed throughout the story are little sections with interviews, video transcripts, book extracts, etc. that sort of provide you with background information on how the parasite came to exist and the people involved in it. I loved the inclusion of these ‘behind the scenes’ bits, these ‘news clippings’ collections, because they made everything seem more real and provided extra insight into what was going on. Some pieces of information clashed, some provided you with clues of what was to come, and it just sort of painted the bigger picture for you as a reader. I think they were expertly done by the author.
My one main issue with this book was that I sort of felt it was predictable. I felt many of the things that were revealed during the second half of the book were quite obvious and unsurprising. There were some times I had a small question mark floating around my head, but generally speaking I just sort of felt like I knew where things were going and what the events were probably leading to, and overall I tended to be right. The ending wasn’t anywhere near as shocking as it could have been (or as I might have wanted it to be) and I was a bit disappointed by that.
That being said, this is the first book in a series and while I felt like I knew what the book was building up to in this book I have no idea what’s going to happen in the sequels. I have some guesses, but I feel like Mira Grant really has the power to surprise me when it comes to the next book, and I’m looking forward to have that happening.
I may have only read this one because of its genres, but I’m glad I did. After reading so many YA books, it sort of felt refreshing to read something different. The relationships were complicated and engaging, the science was disturbing and smart (too smart for my poor brain, sometimes), and it really made me think. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this Parasitology series… Though I have to admit, I’m sort of glad it’s not published yet as I think my brain needs a little break from all the scares!
NEED A SECOND OPINION?
- Mel @ The Daily Prophecy [★★★★½]
- Faye @ The Social Potato [★★★★]
- Nikki @ There Were Books Involved [★★★★]
- Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan [★★★½]
What do you think? Have you read Parasite? Do you want to? Does sci-fi ever disturb you with how real it can seem at times? Do you like books that make you really think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!