Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant (Orbit, Oct.2013-Reviewed by Peter)-Imagine a future where there is no disease, where there is no need for medication to control things like diabetes, high blood pressure or any of a myriad of other problems that plague humanity. A wellness utopia is at hand and all you need to do is have the SymboGen Corporation’s Intestinal Bodyguard™ tapeworm implanted. So is the world in which we find ourselves in Mira Grant’s Parasite.
Parasite begins with Sally Mitchell, a young woman who is involved in an horrendous car accident and lies near death. Her family is torn by the irreversible damage Sally sustained and the long coma she had fallen into. It was time to make that decision no parent wants to make and to remove her from life support. As the doctors prepare to follow the family’s wishes, Sal Mitchell awakens. It is believed that Sal’s Intestinal Bodyguard™ is what saved her body but her mind is a blank slate of amnesia; she is forced to relearn everything including speech as she has no memories of anything before waking up.
As we follow Sal trying to become an independent adult again, strange things begin to happen in the world, and individuals are starting to enter an almost zombie state and attack people at random. The outbreaks are small to begin with, and SymboGen Corporation is able to keep them out of the news but as the attacks become larger and larger it is harder and harder for them to keep it quiet. It seems that maybe the Intestinal Bodyguard™ tapeworms are getting restless and want their own lives.
Parasite is not an easy novel to characterize; it’s a novel about unchecked corporate greed; it’s a novel about unrestrained scientific tinkering; it’s about a simple right to life; it’s about a young woman navigating through this minefield just wanting to be treated as an independent person and not as a pawn for SymboGen. Parasite is a complex novel but paradoxically it is an easy read. Mira Grant’s pacing is excellent, her characterizations are spot on and the whole work is a page turner. I had never read a Mira Grant/Seanan McQuire novel previously but I can tell you I will be adding her works to my read sooner rather than later pile! My only complaint, as with any excellent read, is having to wait for the next installment. In short Parasite should be on everyone’s must read list.