Saturday, May 3, 2014

REVIEW: PARASITE (Parasitology, #1) by Mira Grant

Title: Parasite
Series: Parasitology, #1
Author: Mira Grant
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Genres: Adult Fiction, Sci-fi, Horror
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 3/5


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.


Let me start by saying that this is the first of Mira Grant’s books I’ve ever read. One of her other books, Feed, is also on my to-read list, but I wasn’t in the mood for a zombie apocalypse book, so I instead started with Parasite, because it sounded a lot more interesting than zombies. Genetically altered tapeworms living inside humans going bonkers? Hell yeah!

Was I disappointed by this novel with the curiosity-inducing cover? Yes, and no. Yes, because it has a terribly annoying protagonist who cowers and whines her way through the story, and yes, because the plot is weighed down by scientific terms and medical jargon that made me lose interest a number of times. Also yes, because I saw the BIG twist coming almost from the start. I feel all those reasons warrants a two-star rating, but I’m giving it three stars because of several other elements that kept me riveted to want to finish this novel.

The first half of Parasite is incredibly slow and mindnumbingly boring. The biggest downfall for me was Sally holding back valuable information that could’ve prevented the loss of more lives. Her father and sister practically begged her for the information that could help them try to find a cure, or at least understand some of what is happening to the sleepwalkers, yet Sal makes it all about herself and “oh-woe-is-me, nobody-loves-me” screams and cries until she is sedated. Then she gets ticked-off because no-one told her why and with what she was sedated. That’s where she lost my support. Seriously, this is a girl who has a fear of riding in cars (she doesn’t drive) after almost dying in a car accident six years ago, which she can’t remember! I don’t want to go into a rant about the details of her car-crash phobia, but trust me when I tell you she goes to unnecessary extremes.

Sal’s boyfriend, Nathan, is okay. He’s nice, really. That’s all he is, though. Just nice. Sometimes he’s too accepting and placid about Sal’s behavior, and he seems to be more of a convenient support character for when Sal is in a tizzy and needs a quick escape. I do find it hard to believe that he is the only one who loves Sal. Doesn’t she have extended family? Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles? Friends? Anyone? Oh, poor Sal. At least I liked her dog, Beverly. She was just this little ray of sunshine, and if there’s ever an apocalypse, I want that doggie by my side. Anyway, one of the supporting characters I hope we would see more of is Tansy. Wow, she kicks butt and she’s really, really…scary. Think psychopath with a wicked sense of humor that should be on Ritalin. Now give that ADHD psychopath two big-ass guns. I give you Tansy. Adam also seems really sweet but we don’t get to know him much, but I sure hope he and Tansy will feature more in the next book. Adam is the Yin to Tansy’s Yang. You’ll love them.

Anyway, back to Sal. I don’t think I’ve stressed enough how much I dislike her. She’s in one word, a killjoy. If you can stick it out through the first half of the book, the second half is much better. A lot of reveals and a little action takes place in the last fifty percent or so. Like I said before, if you’re a savvy reader you might see the BIG twist about Sally coming early on. But it’s a good twist and I think a lot of the plot in the second book depends on this twist. Anyway, if you dislike cliffhanger endings, then this book might not be for you.

Overall I enjoyed Parasite for the idea it is based on. Even though I can’t stand the MC, the story has a lot going for it. There is a ton of info dump, which at times bored me to tears, but I think all this info is important as a basis for the plot. I’m actually looking forward to reading the second book and giving Mira Grant another chance to wow me. If I don’t enjoy the follow-up to Parasite, it might be the end of the road for me and Ms Grant. I honestly hope she gives Sal more of a backbone.



Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

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