Series Spotlight: Parasitology Trilogy by Mira Grant
Would you swallow a genetically modified tapeworm if it meant you would have good health and freedom from most diseases and even genetic disorders? Would you get “updates” or new versions of it as time went on? And how surprised would you be when it all goes wrong?
Publisher’s Description: From Parasite — 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.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Percy Procrastinator says…
Things that I liked: The story is 1st person perspective from Sal with chapter openers having notes from other character’s journals, and sections having first person perspective from other characters. This idea worked well for me. We get a bit of insight into the other characters, enough to see their perspective, but most of it from Sal, who is at the center of it all. I liked the science behind what was created and the ideas. I can really see people wanting a tapeworm, or some such thing, inside them if it meant a better life or freedom from taking medicines every day. I liked having three factions to follow, instead of the usual two, and how they shared some goals but not all and the differences those made.
Things that I didn’t like: I didn’t like the main character, Sal. She was not interesting to me because everything happened around her or to her but she barely did anything. Indeed, most of the time, she spends it in denial, of who she is and why it is all happening. Many times, she’s the ignorant one so that the science or events can be explained to the reader, but in doing so, it weakened her character so much. The only skill she seems to have are liking animals, which are no help to what is happening! Up until the very end of the final book, Sal is just along for the ride, pulled along as the plot demands it, and saved for the same reason.
Another thing I didn’t like was that the series was too long. I think it could have been done in two books. Doing that might have also forced the author to give Sal more usable skills and to have a better purpose. I also didn’t like that I don’t know how widespread this problem really was. The area where Sal is soon becomes isolated, no news or internet, and so at the end of the series, while I know other areas are affected, I have no idea on the extent. I bring this up because it does play an important part for one of the factions in that they are not given any reinforcements or support. That indicates it’s bad all over, yet it isn’t really stated how bad it was elsewhere. A quick epilogue would have helped with this and could have been done in a paragraph or two.
I’m really torn on what to give this series. It’s a firm 3.5 to me but I have to pick whether or not to round up or down. As I think back on the series, the more it really feels like Sal isn’t needed as a character, except as a sounding board and to stand in as the reader. I think we are supposed to feel for her confusion as things change around her. In the end, though, Sal not doing much, other than surviving, doesn’t work for me as a satisfying main character of the story. So, I’m going to round down to a three.
If you like this book…