I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Parasite by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #1
Published by Orbit on October 29th 2013
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Sci-fi, Thriller
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella
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.
“There’s one more good thing about being the girl who lived because her genetically engineered tapeworm refused to let her die: I lived. That made everything else possible. Everything else in the world.”
In the not so distant future, SymboGen Corporation has developed a genetically modified tapeworm that is designed to replace your daily medications/vitamins and keep you healthier than normal. SymboGen’s marketing of the tapeworm has been so successful that almost every single human on Earth has one. When a sickness begins to spread rapidly, it becomes clear that the tapeworms are no longer performing their assigned duties… but what is to blame?
“Human and implant fit together like they’d been designed for one another. In a very real way, they had been.” – Dr. Steven Banks
What worked really well in Parasite was the obvious research behind parasites and the science regarding them that was conducted. It didn’t always make complete sense and I’m not positive that all details were completely accurate but it felt for the most part legitimate. It started off feeling very sci-fi horror and was definitely creepy unfortunately did come off in the end like a cheesy sci-fi movie but it was still well done.
What ended up being a big disappointment were the various plot holes and inconsistencies that I noticed throughout the novel.
“We’ve been over this before. I have no memory of the accident itself. The first thing I remember is waking up in the hospital, surrounded by strangers.”
The main character Sal was involved in a car accident and after 10 days she woke up from her coma yet those were her first memories. She couldn’t remember being involved in the accident, she couldn’t remember her own name, she even had to relearn how to speak and write and understand English. She was practically a newborn baby.
Major Plot Hole: If she doesn’t remember anything until she woke up in the hospital, that doesn’t explain why does she have such a strong fear of cars? She was involved in a car accident so any normal person waking up would have developed this fear but she stated several times that her first memory was waking up in the hospital. Her fear is far too great to have simply been a byproduct of what someone told her happened to her.
I had a few other examples but I felt they were too spoilery to be included. I will say, one in particular was given a single sentence as back-story to explain which I didn’t feel was sufficient information and it seemed too coincidental.
Parasite is incredibly similar to Mira Grant’s other popular series, the Newsflesh Trilogy. Usually I would follow that up with “fans of Newsflesh will love this” however, I found this to actually be a fault as the similarities between the two were just too similar. The plot: simply exchange zombies for parasites/tapeworms and you had the same premise. Also, the Newsflesh trilogy dealt with corrupt politicians where Parasite dealt with corrupt doctors, scientists and greedy corporations. The ending also felt fairly similar in scope but obviously I won’t go into detail regarding that.
In regards to the ending, this was my biggest issue. The story builds in intensity and you’re left anticipating a spectacular ending, however, the ending ended up being something I had figured out from the very first chapter so it was a huge letdown more than anything. (And I don’t think I made a lucky guess, I thought this was something that was fairly obvious from the very beginning).
While Parasite was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, there was an absence of consistency and the writing felt stilted and choppy. There was a much-needed flow that this was lacking and I think it attributed to the plot holes. I believe maybe too much material was trying to be covered that necessary answers weren’t given when they should have been. Of course I read an early version of the book so I can only hope that maybe it gets a bit more polished before publication.
While Parasite didn’t capture my heart like the Newsflesh Trilogy did, this is still an entertaining and horrific sci-fi read that will leave you squirming.