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I Belong

Review: Parasite by Mira Grant

Title: Parasite

Author: Mira Grant

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Parasitology (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 29, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 512 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316218952 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316218955 (Orbit)

Reviewed By: Kaitlin


A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm 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.

Quick & Dirty: Grant spins a fantastic tale full of mystery, emotion, and romance. A little confusing at times, but that is my only real complaint.

Opening Sentence: Sally Mitchell was dying.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

It is 2026, and humans have traded in pharmacies and drugs for tapeworms that live in the body and create whatever the body needs from inside. Health thrives and the major corporation that has created the parasites, SymboGen, is completely and totally rich. Nothing is wrong with the tapeworm. It is completely healthy.

Or so it seems.

Sally Mitchell died in a car crash. She became completely brain-dead, and though her heart was still beating, her mind was forever gone. Just as she is about to be taken off of life support and be released into the void, she opens her eyes.

But this is not Sally Mitchell, because no memories remain. Sal, the new Sally, learns to speak, to walk, just as a baby must. She develops her own personality, and soon she has learned everything strictly necessary to live among other humans. Sal receives therapy once, but often more times, a week, even six years after she first woke as a new person.

Sal for the most part belongs to SymboGen, who are trying to discover how her miraculous recovery came into being. They pay for all of her health care and her job, in return for testing.  Since Sal’s health is dicey at best, she can’t argue. They’ve saved her life many times before, after all.

Then something starts happening, and Sal’s life spins even more out of focus. People are becoming empty. That’s the best way to put it. Nothing remains of the minds that lived inside but empty husks and they stumble around, some hostile. How are the parasites involved? How is Sal involved? Sal Mitchell sets out on a mission to find out.

I thought this was a good read, and worth checking out. I love how the author focuses on how hard it is for Sal to live in a family that is still waiting for the old Sally, a family that gave birth to Sal, but isn’t the daughter they raised. The feeling of her not being the Sally her family wants, plus the guilt of taking that Sally from them, plays a powerful roll in Sal’s emotions, and I enjoyed that.

Nathan, Sal’s love interest, is an amazing character. I find their relationship adorable and even with all the struggles it stays strong. Nathan is smart, handsome, and didn’t know Sally beforehand, so Sal knows that she’s the girl he loves.

During Sal’s sleep, she reverts to “the hot warm dark,” which is assumed to be when she is still in her coma, brain-dead. She thinks of it as a place of comfort and unchanging solitude. I loved how the author did this! It helped me understand Sal more, and I felt it was intriguing.

The eerie tone throughout this book sets me on edge and kept me reading, even though nothing remarkably interesting happens for the first 100 or so pages of this story. Grant has a unique writing style, but I grew fond of it by the end of the book.

I was a little confused in certain sections of this tale, that was the only real problem I had. When all of the complicated science ideas are being explained, it took a few pages for me to finally catch on.

Even though I love all the characters and I read this so fast, the reason I didn’t give it five stars was because some of it was confusing, and because sometimes I had to push ahead even when I was a little bored. Trust me, though, if you don’t love this and you’re not on page 100 yet, keep reading. It gets better, I promise!

To sum it up, I thought this was a nice, refreshing read with a new concept. Check this book out, because you don’t want to miss this.

Notable Scene:

I stared at her. So did Nathan. Tansy looked between us, brows furrowing in frustration.

“What, did you think this was some kind of game?” she asked. “That you could open the broken doors, look through, and decide it wasn’t for you, so sorry, you were just going to go home and have a nice cup of cocoa and not think about it? Puh-leeze. This isn’t that kind of picture book, and once you’ve opened the doors, you’re required to step through them.”

Parasitology Series:

1. Parasite

2. Symbiont

FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of Parasite. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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