Parasite (Parasitology #1)

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Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
16+
Release Date
October 29, 2013
ISBN
978-0316218955
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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.

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1 review
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0(1)
Characters
 
4.0(1)
Writing Style
 
5.0(1)
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Forget aliens, the parasites are the bigger threat!
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
When I read the blurb of Parasite, I knew I had to read the book. Being a sci-fi buff and having completed my education in Biotech, this one was just made for me (let a girl dream, okay?). So, the story goes like this – it is narrated by Sally Mitchell, a survivor of a bad accident who thanks to the SymboGen medical implant, awoke from her coma, with amnesia but alive nevertheless. These implants have become commonplace ten years into the future – a convenient alternative to rising health costs encapsulated into a single tailor-made parasitic worm. The miracle that this implant granted to Sally basically made her a lab rat for SymboGen, who have been taking care of her medical expenses and routine check-ups for the past six years in the name of protecting their poster child. All is well in her life – she may not remember at all who she was, but in six years, she has re-learned everything to live a normal life: with a job, a boyfriend and her family. Suddenly, there have been rise in cases of sleeping sicknesses among a fraction of the population, something that most definitely points towards the implants made by the company.

Since the blurb pretty much delivers the main spoiler of the story, I won’t add much but say that forget AI, you now have to fear genetically modified organisms! From a scientific standpoint, most of the things discussed in the book seem plausible – I even checked the parasites discussed (they do exist) – and with genetic splicing, it’s totally possible. Only thing not possible is the fact that human DNA was also used – I am sure the FDA would have BIG problems with that. Leaving that aside, I loved the authenticity that the book generates in the mind of the reader.

But not to worry, it isn’t all scientific jargon as the story is from Sally’s POV, who is not a scientific researcher or doctor but just a bystander connected to some powerful people in the know. Her view is quite refreshing, and her character is so well-written. Even though in her mind, she has lived only 6 years, she is mature, level-headed and quick to learn and intuit what is happening around her. Her boyfriend Nathan is also a good character, very loving and supportive and not wanting to be her knight in shining armor all the time. Her family, especially her parents were just the opposite – I was actually shocked at her father. Since the story directly skips to six years after her accident, you don’t see the development between the characters but you can feel how their relationship is. One character that totally stood out was Tancy – though a bit psychotic, she is interesting enough. Her case even added a layer to the story – what is defined as human consciousness? Is it just our brain or our very souls? And yes, this book kind of reminds me of The Host by Stephenie Meyer – different thing, I know, but there is an analogy; accept it.

The pacing of the book, though slow at the starting, keeps you engaged throughout. When the reveals come, you are going like – oh god – in your mind. The possibilities that this story could take in the sequel are immense and I would definitely recommend this even if you don’t read fiction that much. An awesome book!
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