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Evil Geek Book Report – Parasite by Mira Grant

Like most people I am rather perturbed by all the Facebook advertisements popping up on my newsfeed as the social network tries to guess what products or college degrees I might be interested in, but thanks to my love of Mira Grant, an author who I have recommended before because of her phenomenal Newsflesh trilogy, Facebook got it right for once and recommended the first novel in her new series before it was released. And when Parasite finally arrived at my doorstep I was salivating just at the thought of sinking my teeth in to the novel. Some minor spoiler alerts ahead, so be forewarned before continuing.

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As I mentioned, Mira’s first series under that pen-name was The Newsflesh trilogy, which is still by far the most stunning zombie novel series I have ever read. As can be assumed from the title of this new novel, the central focus is on parasites. Let me give you a little background in to the premise of the story, which you could obtain by reading the inside cover’s preview: set a decade in the future a company called Symbogen has developed a genetically engineered tapeworm that when ingested takes up residence in its human host and provides many medical benefits from curing allergies and preventing common colds.

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The novel starts out with a chilling scene that is later told in its entirety halfway through the story, but it is enough to get you hooked ready to start flipping through the pages of this pseudo-horror novel. After the initial teaser, we are introduced to Sal, a woman who was in a nearly fatal car accident several years before, and just as her family was about to pull her life support she woke up, though with horrific amnesia of any events prior to her accident, so much so that she seems to have to learn to be human all over again. The only explanation for her survival is the Symbogen tapeworm implant, which of course the company takes great pride in following Sal’s health and using her as an example to the world that their implant is the best single investment your family of four could make.

Sal is dating the lovely Dr. Nathan Lee, an attractive young physician with a specialty in parasitology. The two are quite an adorable yet odd pair, but their world starts to unfold around them. A mysterious “sleeping sickness” starts to develop in unsuspecting individuals where they essentially lapse in to a coma and cannot be revived. And as more and more people become affected by this illness, some of them are no longer sleeping. Violent and irrational tendencies start to develop in many of the affected.

What follows is a classic conspiracy theory novel with a horrific and science fiction based twist as Sal and Nathan try to uncover the cause, and a potential treatment for the sleeping sickness, which of course seems to be parasitic in nature. Being in the medical field myself I have to give Ms. Grant tons of props for her research, the theories she came up with to explain the outbreak of violent hosts is pretty neat, maybe not completely possible but it’s a great story behind it all.

There are several things that I love about Mira Grant’s novels, and several recurring themes that I have noticed I am hoping to ask her about in a future written interview she will later be doing with this site. But two things that she excels at most:

  1. Hair-raising outbreaks: she knows just how to give you that chill down your spine and paint the perfect terror-filled outbreak again and again. There were several in this novel, though my favorite involved our two main characters being trapped in a locked car on a grid-locked highway as a horde of violent sleepwalkers tries to get in to all the passenger vehicles they can
  2. Endings with a twist: with the amount of novels that I read these days it takes a really accomplished author to give me a surprise at the end. Now the true nature of Sal might not have been much of a surprise (read the book and you will probably catch on quickly) but she also has a lot of shockers in the ends of all her novels. In particular this novel brought back a great character that I thought was lost, only to have him ripped away in a different fashion from us that was just as heart breaking.

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As with her prior novels, I give Parasite 5 stars and strongly recommend it to anyone that loves zombies. Even though the sleepwalkers are not technically zombies, it adds a whole new twist to that sort of storyline and modifies the genre just enough to make it a great new unique zombie novel. Enjoy folks, and stay tuned for a written interview with this amazing author in the future!!!

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Posted on January 6, 2014, in Books, Evil Geek Book Report and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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