Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant
504 pages, hardcover
Available now (October 2013)
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review
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 tapeworm 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.
I had the heebie-jeebies the entire time I was reading this book. I mean, seriously? A “helpful” tapeworm implanted in humans to protect us from illness and other things sounds like a good idea. But I can’t help but think of that video in science class that we watched where a woman had a tapeworm in her stomach and they had to tease it out with food, catch it with tweezers and slowly wind it around a pencil to remove it. I was (and still am) traumatized for life. It took me a long while to get up the nerve to pick this book up.
Aren’t you happy I shared that image with you?
Here’s the question: if someone promises us no illness and a boost in our immunity but all we have to do is host some little worm that Big Pharma promises will be controlled, would we do it? I don’t know if I could get past my squeamishness but to not be sick, to be exceptionally healthy for my entire lifespan (no allergies, no asthma, no sinus infections, no flu…)…that’s mighty tempting.
The story slowly builds as we meet Sally, who died in a car crash but was revived and repaired by her implant. She’s a completely different person — a better person — than she was before the crash, which freaks everyone who knew/knows her out. Then there’s Nathan, a parasitologist who doesn’t have the implant. And Tansy who, well, spoilers. Seriously, I can’t give too much (really, any) of the plot away because spoilers.
Mira Grant has the ability to make science fiction read like science fact, as if this type of medical procedure really exists. I had both a hard time reading this book and the freaky inability to put it down once I started it. But I snuggled my puppies close the whole time. Freaky, gross, creepy and so, so good.
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