In the 2020’s, humanity is free from sickness, allergies, and most disease. Autoimmune diseases are a thing of the past. Pills are no longer needed. All thanks to SymboGen, and their Intestinal Bodyguard – a tapeworm that has been genetically engineered to keep us healthy. The parasite has been massively successful, and almost everyone has one.
Sally Mitchell’s life was saved by her Intestinal Bodyguard. A car wreck left her on the brink of death, but just when her family was getting ready to pull the plug- she woke up. She couldn’t remember anything – not her name, not her accident, not even how to speak or function in society – but she lived. Six years later and Sally is a relatively happy 26-year old, working at an animal shelter and spending time with her boyfriend, Nathan. She hates the routine visits to SymboGen, but they saved her life, and she owes it to them to let herself be examined. But all of the sudden, people start coming down with a “sleeping sickness” – it looks like the parasites want to live their own lives now, and they’re willing to do anything to make that happen.
Sooo… where do I start?
Well, clearly the concept of this book is fascinating, and no one does corrupt-people-leads-to-disaster quite like Mira Grant. I like that the hygiene hypothesis is discussed, and the idea of a parasite living inside you, keeping you healthy, has its appeal – even if it’s a bit icky.
My problem with Parasite has more to do with the main character, Sal. For the most part, she’s really likable and surprisingly intelligent girl, considering she’s had to re-learn EVERYTHING in the course of about 6 years. She loves animals, she’s responsible, she has fun learning new words. But in a lot of other ways, she was frustrating. Because of the car wreck she was in, she’s practically frozen with fear every time she has to ride in a car and completely overreacts when people take their hands off of the wheel… but she doesn’t REMEMBER her accident. So her weird driving phobia made no sense. She was also kind of naive – some of the big plot twists and reveals in this book were obvious from the very start, and it was kind of driving me crazy that she wasn’t seeing things clearly. And there were a few situations that just seemed too coincidental and I had a hard time suspending belief in those cases.
Besides those complains, I did enjoy reading Parasite. It was smart, and interesting, and it has some kick-ass side characters like crazy Tansy. It was readable and I was able to fly through it. And even though most of the plot points were pretty obvious, there were a few surprises that threw me off guard. This was just more sloppy than I thought it would be. Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy was so creative, intricate, and emotional and Parasite didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
I’m still going to read the sequel when it comes out, of course. Because duh.
Sarah Says: 3.5 stars