Reviews for Parasite

Booklist Reviews 2013 August #1
Grant, author of the excellent Newsflesh series, turns from the walking dead to something that could be even more frightening. In the near future, a medical-scientific breakthrough leads to the creation of the Intestinal Bodyguard, a genetically engineered parasite that lives inside the human body and wards off numerous illnesses: a tapeworm, basically, that makes us healthier and allows us to live longer. But now, when most people have a Bodyguard living inside them, something goes horribly wrong, and the parasites have decided they're tired of being guests inside our bodies. Grant is tackling some of the same themes here as she did in the Newsflesh novels (where the trouble started because a beneficial medical breakthrough had unintended consequences), and fans of that series will definitely want to check this new book out. But fans of Michael Crichton-style technothrillers will be equally enthralled: as wild as Grant's premise is, the novel is firmly anchored in real-world science and technology. Grant is well known to horror fans, but with Parasite, she's likely to acquire a new whole new group of readers. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Grant's latest lands readers in 2027, when most people sport implants that help them regulate their health. The book concerns a future in which the population intentionally ingests worms. The parasites in question are tapeworms, and they're programmed to help their hosts overcome disease and other health issues. Since their introduction, tapeworms have become an accepted health resource. SymboGen, the enormous corporate entity that developed the tapeworm technology under the leadership of Dr. Steven Banks, has grown and prospered with the continued employment of the parasites. Now they're interested in Sally Mitchell, or Sal, as she likes to be called. Badly injured in a car accident, Sal finally awoke from a coma to find herself a blank slate. She had to relearn everything, even language. But she's very different from the old Sally, and since SymboGen was in on her recovery, they're continuing to closely monitor her. Sal hates it and distrusts the company's founder, Banks, but she knows she owes her life to SymboGen. She and her doctor boyfriend, Nathan, harbor reservations about SymboGen's motives. When people with implants start turning into zombielike creatures, they know something alarming is going on. After Nathan experiences the death of someone close to him and Sal receives a mysterious message with ties to someone else's past, the two start seeking answers. What they find is surprising and, for one of them, the end to a heartbreaking personal chapter. Grant's fans are accustomed to her tackling unusual subjects, and this is no exception. Despite a great deal of silly melodrama along the way, and lots of rambling filler, the action moves at a good pace. Readers with strong stomachs will welcome this unusual take on the future. The ending is a place holder for future volumes in the series. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 October #1

As Sally Mitchell's doctors attempt to convince her family to take her off life support following a horrific car accident, Sally opens her eyes and sits up. Her miraculous resurrection is attributed to her Intestinal Bodyguard, a bioengineered tapeworm designed to keep humans free of disease. Six years later, Sal can only remember her life after the accident but trusts completely that her tapeworm kept her alive. However, as ordinary people start showing signs of a brain-altering infection, Sal is drawn deep into the history of the world's first designer parasite. Perhaps SymboGen isn't as altruistic as it wishes to appear. Perhaps the tapeworms are not so benevolent. Perhaps the tapeworms are ready to be in control. VERDICT Horrifying, riveting, and a bit too plausible, this work is a tour de force. Grant ("Newsflesh" trilogy), a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire ("October Daye" series), has penned a layered sf thriller reminiscent of those by Michael Crichton, with perfect pacing, touches of humor, and just enough medical jargon to make one believe. After finishing this first volume in an anticipated trilogy, readers will have a hard time waiting for the next installment. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/13.]--Jennifer Beach, Cumberland Cty. P.L., VA

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #1

In the year 2021, a car crash leaves 20-year-old Sally Mitchell amnesiac. She owes her life to the apparently benign implant of a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by SymboGen. Six years after the crash, as Sally seeks to recover her identity, outbreaks of sinister "sleepwalking" incidents--ignored by the media--fuel Grant's mordant satire of the corporate public relations world. SymboGen's widely accepted patented Intestinal Bodyguard tapeworm suppresses illnesses, but Sally's boyfriend, parasitologist Nathan Kim, wonders what the cost is. A running series of comments by Symbogen cofounder Dr. Steven Banks and his renegade former colleague Dr. Shanti Cale provide a parallel to Sally's desperate quest for information, as SymboGen's good intentions become increasingly suspect. Grant extends the zombie theme of her Newsflesh trilogy to incorporate thoughtful reflections on biomedical issues that are both ominously challenging and eerily plausible. Sally is a complex, compassionate character, well suited to this exploration of trust, uncertainty, and the price of progress. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Nov.)

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