conspiracies

Parasite by Mira Grant

Parasite Mira Grant

 

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

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The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

BEE RIDGWAY

 

Sadly, I didn’t love The River of No Return the way I was hoping to.

So, Nick is an English dude from the 1800’s who is about to die in a nasty battle when suddenly he transports roughly 200 years into the future to 2003. Cool. An organization called the Guild picks him up, makes him spend a year learning about the modern day along with some other accidental time travellers, and then sends him off with a buttload of money to quiety live the rest of his years in the northeast of America. A decade goes by and Nick is quite accustomed to the fun things of our age – easy women, jeans, cars, watches and all that – but then he suddenly gets a summons from the Guild. They’re sending him on a mission back to his past.

Julia is a young lady in the 1800’s mourning the death of her grandfather. Her giant douche of a cousin shows up to inherit the estate, and he constantly quizzes and berates Julia while he searches for some special object that he thinks gave her grandfather his ability to manipulate time. And then Julia finds out that SHE can manipulate time as well, and must struggle to hide this from her cousin and try to escape his clutches.

So obviously when Nick goes back, he and Julia cross paths (easy enough, since they lived next door) and fall in love, yada yada yada.

Let’s start with the things I really liked about the book, kay? I liked the whole idea of time travel via feelings. Apparently you use emotions to travel along the river of time. Interesting concept. I liked the idea of a secret society (the Guild) and the idea of time travelling, being taught about the time you’re in, and then being sent on your way to just chill. I liked Nick well enough, as well as Julia. They both had spunk, which I enjoyed. I also liked Arkady, who was a grumbly Russian guy who said things like this:

“You are a man. We will save her. Why? Because it’s beautiful and romantic to do so. We will fight this maniac like the men we are – with fists. Why? Because it’s beautiful and romantic to do so.”

How can you not love that?

But now on to the things that made me not love this book…

The thing between Nick and Julia had a hint of insta-love about it. I mean really, it’s very love-at-first-sight.

My biggest complaint: It was so slooooowww. By page 160 (out of 450), the main characters hadn’t even really met yet. By page 300 I was glad that the romance factor was finally picking up but I STILL felt like I was waiting for the story to start. There was so much build-up and mystery to the secret society conspiracies that it seemed to take forever to get anywhere, and I felt just as confused and frustrated as Nick did. And I felt like the end is where things really finally started to happen, which means it ended with some unresolved issues. I’m assuming there might be a sequel, but it’s not confirmed on the Bee Ridgway’s website as far as I can tell.

Sooo yeah. The writing was enjoyable, but the storyline was just way too drawn-out for me. Even if I knew a sequel was coming, I’m not sure I’ll want to read it because it took SO LONG to be set up in this book. I’ll have to wait and see.

I am pretty sure I’m in the minority here – plenty of fellow bloggers read and loved this book, so don’t be discouraged. Give it a try. Maybe The River of No Return just wasn’t my jam.

 

Sarah Says: 2.5 stars