Author: Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology, #1
Released: November 5th 2013
Paperback, 512 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
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.
The first thing you need to know about Parasite is that it is not Feed. If you expect the emotional impact of Seanan McGuire’s debut as Mira Grant, you will be sorely disappointed. Feed is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of book and it’s unlikely that Seanan will ever repeat it.
The second thing you need to know about Parasite is that it’s brilliant nevertheless. This is Mira Grant after all, so if sci-fi medical thrillers are your thing, very few authors write it better than she does. For me, the point of these medical thrillers is to convince the reader that what they describe is possible. The amount of research Grant puts into her books and the way she presents her “facts” pretty much guarantee that her visions of the apocalypse will be accepted as probabilities.
In many ways, for me, reading Parasite was similar to what I imagine an out of body experience would be like. It was virtually impossible to read a book written by the same author and similarly structured as my favorite book in the world and not make constant comparisons. However, while it quickly became clear that Sal is no Georgia Mason, it also became clear that I was going to like her for who she was. Sal cowers occasionally, she tends to scream at most unfortunate moments and she even faints here and there (I simply can’t imagine George fainting or screaming), but she has a backbone of steel that becomes evident when it’s most needed.
There were reports, but they were all proven to be false, and gradually, the ad campaign was phased out, leaving the world sold not once, but twice, on the idea that a worm was a solution to all their problems.
Oddly, the reason for sparks of disbelief that occasionally ignited within me had nothing to do with the medical part of this book and everything to do with the people around Sal. It seemed all too convenient that such a medical miracle would happen to the daughter of a Colonel at USAMRIID, in charge of figuring out the sleepwalking sickness. It was even more convenient that she ended up dating a parasitologist like Nathan, with his family background. While Grant did her best to explain all these things, I didn’t feel that those explanations were entirely satisfactory.
Be that as it may, there remains the fact that Parasite is the work of a brilliant author and that it is not to be missed. If you can handle a tapeworm here and there, run out and get your copy right now.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.