Review: Parasite by Mira Grant

Parasite

Typical awesome Mira Grant story, with an amazing narrative and a whole lot of suspense. The only thing I didn’t like: THE CLIFFHANGER. AHHHHHH. 😫 As someone who’s working in public health, Parasite is like the crazy-but-believable cure-all dream that we have for solving all health problems. The grossness of parasites just adds to the disgusted-but-can’t-look-away feeling. 🐛 (Not sure why it’s categorized as “horror” on Goodreads though, since parasites are just icky… unless you Google Image them, which I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING.) I love the amount of research that has been done to add a layer of detail to the storyline. Our main heroine is pretty kickass, and the plot line is engrossing even when it got predictable.

Title: Parasite
Author: Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #1
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Category: (Young Adult) Science Fiction / Dystopia / Horror

Introduction

SymboGen Corporation has re-engineered tapeworms to protect humans from infections and diseases, and marketed them as Intestinal Bodyguards. By the year 2027, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living in their intestines. However, when certain individuals start experiencing the “sleeping sickness” (a new form of sleepwalking), Sally “Sal” Mitchell – who survived a devastating car crash due to a SymboGen tapeworm but can’t remember any part of her life before the crash – has to figure out the dark secrets that SymboGen is hiding before it’s too late.

Discussion

Sal is your average girl – she works at a pet shelter, has a love for carnivorous plants, has a caring parasitologist boyfriend, and is still in the process of learning colloquialisms because she somehow had to relearn the English language (as well as human etiquette) after having forgotten everything in a car crash six years ago. The first-person narrative throughout the book is usually prone to a lot of introspection and learning about the feelings of our heroine, but Grant focuses on actions rather than thoughts, which allows me to keep a somewhat objective view of the story. The cast of characters is diverse and generally solid, although some of the later characters are just plain weird.

Aside from the first-person narrative, each chapter is also divided by excerpts from (fictional) videos, newspapers, and journal articles, which do a fantastic job at building up the history of SymboGen and the tapeworms. This style is reminiscent of Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy, and it’s something that I really appreciated. The logic and arguments on which the story is built on is sound (or at least perceived to be sound), and it’s interesting to see the hygiene hypothesis and flatworm morphology/life cycle described in this context.

The plot is a good combination of suspense-building and secret-revealing, although the story becomes more and more obscure and cliché to the point where I know what’s going to happen but I don’t want it to happen because it’s just ridiculous. There are issues or behaviors that are not properly explained (such as Sal’s tendency to hear the sound of drums) that I’m assuming will be explained in future books. Nothing will ever be as shocking as the ending to Feed, so the closing of this book was pretty tame in comparison.

Conclusion

Parasite is scarily realistic, not terrifying yet, although I can feel it coming. I used to think that “horror” can only be induced by classic horror books (Stephen King and co.) until Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire came into the picture. I want more! (I’m engrossed and grossed out at the same time, haha.)

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9 thoughts on “Review: Parasite by Mira Grant

  1. I actually think a book like this would scare me more than a traditional horror novel, because I’m most frightened by things that are just realistic enough that they could be possible. Do you recommend reading the Newslesh Trilogy?

    • OMG, so I only finished the first book of the Newsflesh Trilogy, and I’ve been too scared to continue the series. It definitely has a strong shock factor, and I think it gives off a similar feel to A Girl With All the Gifts. I’d recommend the latter more because it’s a standalone, so at least you won’t die from anticipation, haha. (OR maybe get a hold of all 3 books in Newsflesh and finish them all in one go!)

      • Haha, that doesn’t exactly make me want to rush out to read Newsflesh. Maybe I’ll give A Girl With All the Gifts try first and see how I survive that one. 🙂

  2. I really like books with newspaper clippings and other media added to the story. I’ve also generally heard good things about the science in the story, so I think it’s a book I’d really like too. I should definitely move this up my to-read list!

    • The incorporation of media is one of Grant/McGuire’s distinct styles that I really like! (Sample size of 2 series, lol.) Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about her books – let me know when you start one! 🙂

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