Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Science fiction
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was hooked to this book like a tapeworm in your gut - disgusting analogy, I know, but completely valid considering this book is essentially about glorified tapeworms :)
Parasite is told from the point of view of Sally - or Sal - who has just miraculously recovered from a fatal accident. She is still slowly piecing together her life six years after the accident, but she is largely back to normal, thanks in no small part to SymboGen Inc. SymboGen is a biotech company that has revolutionized the healthcare industry by implanting most of the population with genetically modified tapeworms that secrete everything from medication to vitamins as needed. As Sal spends more time at SymboGen, she begins to question how much of the company's practices are safe - and what the founders are hiding. As the situation in the outside world becomes increasingly bizarre, Sal must decide if she wants the answers, no matter how disturbing they may be - after all, "Knowing the way does not mean you have to go."
This is the kind of book I wanted to digest slowly - like a king sundew (haha I couldn't resist). I loved the writing style, and I loved the characters, loved that it took place somewhere that is very familiar to me, and I loved the concept. I started getting those "ohmygosh this book is so good" feelings after the prologue. THE PROLOGUE. The last time that happened was with The Book Thief (5 years ago), and that turned out to be one of my favorite books ever. Although Parasite wasn't quite that good (the "killer" ending was...well, if you were paying attention, you'd figure out the big reveal about halfway through the book, if not before), it was still amazing and I really enjoyed it.
Sal's story is really interesting, and you really see how hard it is for her to recover from her accident. I loved the way she'd just burst out with some super scientific phrase mid-conversation ("Support your thesis!") - I found it endearing. Although she is rather whiny at first, you see that she genuinely cares about the people in her life even if she isn't quite the same person after the accident. Sal and Nathan's relationship was sweet, and I liked how they supported each other so much (especially considering the whole Don't Go Out Alone fiasco...)
The atmosphere of this book is incredibly tense and frightening, but there are dashes of humor here and there; it's also focused on characters despite being a very scientific story. Don't be afraid of the virological and biological terms in this book, because more often than not they are explained in layman's terms. Speaking of virological terms, I loved the snippets from newspapers, books, video diaries, and SymbGen press releases at the end of each chapter. Those little snippets added another dimension to the story, and you get a glimpse into the politics, history, and moral battles of SymboGen.
I am really looking forward to the sequel, since it seems like this story has just barely gotten started. Mira Grant, you have a new fan!
*An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*