Author: Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology, #2
Released: November 25th 2014
Length: 518 pages
Source: Publisher for review
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.
Usually when a duology becomes a trilogy or a trilogy becomes a more lengthy series overnight, I grumble and complain and become instantly resentful of both the author and the publisher. But when I discovered that this duology somehow grew to become a trilogy, I felt nothing but satisfaction and joy. More books from Mira Grant are always good news to me. In fact, if Parasitology suddenly became a 180 books long medical thriller/soap opera hybrid, I’d still be a happy camper. That’s how much I admire this author and trust in her ability to always, always deliver.
Like Parasite, Symbiont is mostly told from Sal Mitchell’s perspective, with diary entries, chapters and correspondence from other characters in between. Sal’s voice is nothing like what we usually get from Mira Grant. She is a frightened girl, hesitant, unsure, often whiny, and a follower by her own admission. For the most part, Sal doesn’t even try to be brave (which can admittedly be a tad exhausting at times), but in Symbiont, we witness her growing at least somewhat stronger and more confident. She will never be the most traditional heroine, but then again, she’s not the most traditional human being, so I suppose that’s all right.
My experience with medical thrillers is virtually nonexistent which makes it impossible for me to compare Symbiont with others of its kind, but the amount of research behind this book is obvious and quite impressive. One could never accuse Grant of doing things halfway. The science in her science fiction is always so believable and infinitely scary. I kept imagining my brain being slowly eaten by a parasite and let me tell you, it was not a pleasant thought at all.
The pacing could have been better, especially in the first half. I felt that some events included were absolutely inconsequential and that the story would have functioned a lot better without them. But the second half of the book has no such issues –it was, in fact, so tense that I sometimes forgot to breathe.
In addition to her excellent worldbuilding, Grant’s characterization is, as always, superb. This stands true for more than just Sal – each and every one of her characters is built to perfection. Through Dr. Cale and Dr. Banks, we are offered insight into the minds of two mad scientists with brilliant minds and sociopathic tendencies. Dr. Cale was especially interesting in that regard because she actually tried to adhere to basic ethical and behavioral standards, but it was always a conscious effort, not something that came naturally. I’ve also noticed that Grant always includes a slightly unhinged, homicidal girl (Foxy in Blackout and Tansy in Parasite and Symbiont) as the perfect source of comic relief. This may be a template character for Grant, but it is always endlessly entertaining to me.
”Hello?” I tried again. “Look, I’m all like, barefoot and lying in yuck, and that’s a serious infection risk, so could you maybe come and get me and take me somewhere clean? Or better, give me back my shoes and let me go? I promise not to murder you even a little.”
While Parasitolgy didn’t necessarily capture my heart like Newsflesh before it, its quality is unquestionable. I have no doubt that we’ll be getting a spectacular finale next year. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it.
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.