Parasite by Mira Grant

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I devoured Parasite, the first book in Mira Grant's new Parasitology series. The thing I enjoy about Grant's books is her attempt to create a plausible scientific explanation* for the crazy scenarios she throws her characters into. Her use of the interaction between the cure for cancer and the common cold as causation for zombie-ism drew me into her Newsflesh series**, and Parasite didn't disappoint.

Parasite begins in 2021 with Sally Mitchell, our main protagonist, slowly awakening in a hospital bed after being in a coma, confused and surrounded by family who were preparing to say goodbye and remove her from the life support machines. The story jumps ahead and follows Sally as she struggles to build a life despite remembering nothing of her existence prior to the accident. Her world is one in which SymboGen, a major pharmaceutical company, has created a genetically engineered tapeworm that is designed to keep its human host healthy. The company has managed to convince huge swaths of the population to infect themselves with what they believe is a beneficial parasite. As you can imagine, things quickly get all Harry Carry.

Grant crafts an exciting story with plenty of quirky characters. She uses a similar tactic she employed in her Newsflesh series by kicking chapters off with excerpts from books, diary entries and other historic documents to fill in the back story and help us figure out how they got themselves into this mess. This actually seems a popular trend with dystopian titles. Can one of you research and let me know who started this? Max Brooks with World War Z?

It should come as no surprise to the folks who know how much I love Outbreak that I enjoyed this. Can you piece together what will happen before Grant leads you there? Absolutely. That doesn't make it any less fun.

Parasite comes out on October 29, 2013.

*Yes, yes. I'm sure real scientists scoff at the ideas she throws out.

**Feed (book #1) is the best at this. My love tapered off with each new addition.