Today for Sci-Fi Saturday, I'm reviewing Mira Grant's Parasite, the first book in her new Parasitology series.
Sci-Fi Saturday is a rotating segment with Supernatural Saturday and Historical Saturday, where we review all of the latest and greatest titles!
Hardcover, 512 pages
Expected publication: October 29th 2013 by Orbit
Format read: E-ARC via NetGalley
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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 loved Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy – even with all of the issues that a lot of people had with the third book – and was really looking forward to her take on genetically engineered bio organisms which can solve humanity’s ills.
However, something about this book just didn’t jive for me. On the surface, the story is compelling. We have Sally Mitchell who suffers from what should have been a life-ending car accident, but she gets a new lease on life because of the parasite.
The reader follows along her journey to reintegrate herself into society, while finding out the true cost of having something like the parasite be ingrained into society. It’s thought-provoking writing, especially in light of the stories that we frequently see in the news about genetic engineering.
However, I think where the story fell flat for me, was the fact that Grant seemed to spend too much time setting up the foundations of the world – e.g. the flashbacks to Sally’s life; the science behind the worms – rather than the story.
A significant early chunk of the book is devoted to Sally’s physical reintegration back into society – we see her struggles with her parents and co-workers, her issues with her medical care, so on and so forth. It’s interesting, but it did off-set the pacing. Even when things did start picking up around the fifty percent mark, I felt like the earlier parts of the story had already off-set my ability to engage with what Grant was writing.
However, regardless of plotting/characterization issues, the science in this book is top-notch. Grant is clearly passionate about the science, and she’s obviously done significant amounts of research to make everything she describes sound viable. I would strongly recommend that readers pick the book up for the science alone.
I would still recommend this book for fans of Mira’s, and I would also recommend this book for readers who are looking for fiction titles with impeccably researched science. This is a book where the science
will make you think about the possibilities of tomorrow.
Disclaimer: I received an E-ARC of Parasite via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
About the author:
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.
Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.