Series: Parasitology, #1
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
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 knew that I had become a creator of monsters. I did not know, before I ran out of choices, that I had become a monster myself.
My overall thoughts of Parasite go a little something like this - "ew ew ew gross gross gross scary scary scary surprising awesome still pretty gross but crazy weird and cool". That's kind of the best way to put it. I am thoroughly freaked out by the idea that intestinal tapeworms want to control these people's bodies. I am also thoroughly intrigued by this idea!
Parasite started out on a really gruesome scene - but kudos to Mira Grant, because I could picture it perfectly. Not that some squishy insides were what I wanted to see, but hey. I pictured it exactly the way it was explained, I think that was so good description there.
I figured out that I can't trust my instincts on Mira's characters, though. Because one character that I thoroughly trusted - didn't turn out to be all that trustworthy. Which is sad, because I liked them. It was upsetting.
I thought that the "worms" were chilling. It seems medically plausible to me, and the more I think about it the scarier the idea gets - which makes it a pretty good horror, actually. I liked that all of the explanations (even the scientific ones) were very thorough. It made it relatively easy to understand, but it did make the book quite long. The plot was kind of slow.
I liked the interviews and quotes at the beginning of each chapter - it made it easier to understand things about the doctors who created the worm, and the world who would actually take such a thing. It gave us a bit of backstory.
I figure that I have to talk a little about the characters before the review is over, so I'll tell you that I didn't really identify with Sal. It became obvious later on (as to why I couldn't), but at first it was a little off-putting. In the end, though, I think she was the perfect kind of heroine for this book. I kind of hated her dad, though. Not going to lie.
Some of the supporting characters, such as Sal's boyfriend Nathan, Tansey, and Adam were well done - I actually liked Nathan, but I'm sort of scared of Tansey and Adam's potential. Tansey outright terrifies me sometimes, but Adam seems like a sweet person. I just can't figure out what they're capable of yet!
All in all, Parasite was definitely an interesting read, and it raises lots of interesting questions. Should the parasites that gain control of those bodies be allowed to keep them? Is humanity really stupid enough to get a tapeworm to keep healthy? *neon sign: yes* Just, you know, lots of questions. I hope that the next book in this series helps to answer some of them!
Fun fact: After reading Parasite, I learned something scary - toxoplasma is real. So a lot of the medical terms that Mira Grant used are probably real, even if they have never been used as an "intestinal bodyguard".