Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Release Day Review of Parasite (Parasitology, #1) by Mira Grant

Title: Parasite (Parasitology)
Series: Parasitology
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Orbit (October 29, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0316218952
ISBN-13: 978-0316218955
Author's website: http://miragrant.com/
Notes: I recieved an eARC of the book via the publisher and Netgalley

Six years ago, Sally Mitchell was in a devastating car crash. The doctors told her parents she was brain dead with no chance of recovering. They allowed them into Sally's room to say their final farewells and try to get them to agree to take her off life support. A few minutes later they were all stunned. The implant which had been installed to keep her allergies under control thereby keeping her healthier had seemingly managed to repair the damage to Sally's brain and she regained consciousness. The one thing the implant couldn't repair, however, was her memory. Everyone was hopeful she'd regain it, but as days turned to weeks and weeks turned to years, all hope was lost, and she and her family had to come to terms that for all intents and purposes, the old  Sally was gone. She was a new person and had to relearn everything. Her miraculous recover spurred many to get similar implants, which were touted to be a panacea able to keep one from getting sick as it boosted and strengthened a person's immune system.

Now an epidemic is causing people to seemingly lose their minds. It comes on suddenly and causes people to act like zombies. As the number of victims grows, those that Sally care for begin to succumb. Even more disturbing is that the victims seem to be becoming increasingly violent, and Sally finds herself running for her life. With no idea of what is causing the scary outbreak, is anyone safe?

A novel which will make you think twice about being the test subject of new and untried medical trials and procedures.


This had the feel of a classic horror story. I guessed early on what had happened to Sally because Ms. Grant was fairly obvious with her clues as to where the story was headed. At first I was kind of skeptical about parasitic tape worms seizing control of people, but, ironically, as I was reading, my hubby (who watches a lot of science oriented TV shows) started watching a program that talked about a zombie fly or wasp which laid it's eggs in ants and the larvae somehow took control of its host temporarily before devouring it from the inside out. *shudder* There appear to be several types of parasites which seize hold of their host in an effort to seek out the most optimum places where it will thrive and grow (see Notes to Keep You in the Know at the bottom of the post to learn more.).

This story focuses on Sally who has spent the last six years working hard to get herself to a point where she can stand on her own two feet and regain her independence. She's come to terms with the fact she will never be able to regain all she once had and is not the person every one remembers. She's okay with that and her sister has even told her she's a much nicer person than she once was. She's built a new life for herself complete with a  boyfriend who she'd like to start a life with. Her parents seem hesitant to let her leave the nest, and due to her accident, injuries and on going recovery, she isn't allowed to decide things for herself. She's also is having issues with the therapist she's been assigned by SymboGen Corporation, the company whose genetically altered tape worm gave Sally her new lease on life when she would have otherwise died. She is at a point where she's frustrated by not being in control of her own destiny, but as people start succumbing to the zombie like illness and dying, she starts to wonder if SymboGen knows more about what's happening than what they've led others to believe. She and her boyfriend, Nathan, will attempt to get to the truth of it all.

I loved the subtle humor Ms. Grant infused into the story such as Sally's fear of teeth. It made me laugh as I understood why she would have such a fear. Additionally, I loved the symbolism of the sundews, a carnivorous type of plant which is said to be a beautiful but vicious killer, killing its prey slowly as it siphons the life from it.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I felt Ms. Grant set a fairly good pace for the book and, with the exception of my being distracted by the word zombie coming from the TV (You can understand that right?), it kept my attention. I enjoyed how Ms. Grant gave us a slow steady stream of information instead of dumping it all at once. I loved learning as Sally did what was going on. I liked how Ms. Grant alternated between what was going on in Sal's life and the reports/video diaries prepared by the Intestinal Bodyguard's creators. I liked the twist and turns Ms. Grant threw in our way and can't wait to find out what happens next in the sequel. A very traditional horror story with a great blend of mystery, zombies, and a young woman's attempt to gain her life back as she tries to understand what happened to her.

Notes to Keep You in the Know:
A great article about tapeworms and how they can attach themselves to the human brain:

An article from Wired magazine about parsites taking over wasps:

Video about parasites taking over their host's body, albeit only temporarily:

P.S. If you have problems viewing the video, here's a link to the magazine article in Scientific American it referenced: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/07/24/are-zombie-bees-infiltrating-your-neighborhood/

Pictures of sundews:

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