Just for the record, no one could possibly convince me to read a futuristic horror novel about the tapeworm zombie apocalypse except for the Mira Grant, author of the Newsflesh Trilogy. NO ONE. Second of all, this book ends on a major cliffhanger. I just…I can’t take the stress. Now I have to wait MONTHS to find out if we are all going to die because of tapeworm zombies! Aaaargh!
In case the caps lock wasn’t enough to tip you off, I loved Parasite and it scared the bejeebers out of me. Here’s the basic plot: In the year 2027, a company named SymboGen has virtually eliminated all diseases and allergies by means of a simple treatment. People who become hosts for the bioengineered “Intestinal Bodyguard” live medically charmed lives. But the parasites begin to take over their hosts, causing them to behave in a zombie-like state.
This book was exciting and horrifying and thought-provoking. I cared about Sally, the protagonist, even when I was annoyed by her. By setting the story in the very near future, and by never forgetting the mundane, Mira Grant makes the danger feel like an immediate threat. I admired the fact that her characters have to do things like eat and sleep and deal with Bay Area traffic. The book was firmly grounded and that increased the level of dread. The level of science seems good overall. Mira Grant did a ton of research to write the book, and it shows. And I deeply appreciated a general absence of gore. Grant seems aware that we, the readers, are grossed out by the mere concept of the story, so she doesn’t have to gross us out more with gore or with explicit tapeworm disgusting-ness. When there is gore, it’s effective, because of the overall level of restraint.
You can find my full-length review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.