This is Mira Grant’s latest novel, and her first after Blackout. Well technically she’s written others as her real name, Seanan McGuire, but anyway. As soon as I heard this book was coming out (which was back in October 2013) I wanted to get it from the library, and it took forever to get it, I think I’ll just buy it next time. So the book is apart of a new series called Parasitology, so, I think you can guess some of the subject matter. And it does have a similar feel to the Newsflesh trilogy, with a few similar moulds of characters, but we’ll come to that. I polished off this rather large (especially in hardback) book in basically two days, because I didn’t want to put it down. The thrill was there, like it was for Newsflesh, and I just had to know what was going to happen next, and now I really want the sequel!
So the story deals with Sally (or Sal) who manages to wake up after an accident which left her in a coma. Ironically she awakes just as the doctor is trying to get her family to consent to pulling the plug. But the world Sal is living in is quite interesting, as SymboGen, a massive biotechnology/parasitology company, has convinced the world that we all need to have parasites living inside us to deal with increasing allergies, asthma, etc from our antiseptic lives. Plus, the parasites will dose out other medication that you need, like insulin, or perhaps a contraceptive, or provide you with the nutrients you need. It sounds too good to be true! Of course it is! I won’t go into what happens, but, it’s scary. Though, the idea itself of having a parasite living in me, and putting it there voluntarily, is damn frightening.
One complaint could be that it is too similar to Newsflesh (spoilers ahead). As I said there’s a few characters which seem very similar. Like seemingly ‘mad scientists’ who have clandestine operations. Or a character who is adept at killing people, but has some mental problems. Or parents who lie to you. Or the fact that there are zombies in both, in different ways. Or there are big corporations trying to rule the world, and the government is seemingly powerless. But of course there are similarities, it’s the same sort of genre, by the same author. But the differences are so distinct, that these similarities aren’t that much of a concern for me.
Being a thriller there are naturally going to be plenty of twists and turns, and there were definitely plenty of those. What is curious to me, is that here we have a pretty large twist, and yet it wasn’t hidden. I thought it was pretty obvious, there were clues here, there and almost everywhere, and yet the character doesn’t realise until the end. There is clearly a reason they did this, because they weren’t ready to face the truth. But I don’t know why it was obvious, like, couldn’t it have been hidden more, or was it being obvious intentional. And what’s the reasoning behind that? Which sort of scares me about the next books, what’s going to lurk there. Is this part of some larger plot? I hope so. Even if it isn’t, it doesn’t really detract from the book that much. It’s interesting to see how long it takes for the character to realise, and it means in book two, we’ll get to see the implications of the realisation. There are definitely a few less obvious things that occur, and will shock you a bit, and I’m sure there’s more to come, because we’ve got plenty of loose ends.
Having the book end with ‘to be continued’ can seem like a let down, because there’s all these loose ends, and the book sort of just ends, and you have to wait until the next one comes out (and sometimes that can be years). But patience is a virtue as they say, and waiting is a good thing. You get to digest the book (hopefully not literally) but you can mull over it, and think about what’s really going on, and theorise, perhaps write fan fiction or create fan art if you so choose. If you got it all in one hit, it can lessen the experience in some ways, since you don’t have to do the waiting. I don’t overly mind that it ended this way, because there isn’t always going to be this nice little place to wrap up the story. In a way, a series is just one long book divided into smaller segments, so, it doesn’t bother me too much.
Now I just have to wait, who knows how long, until we get book two, and we get a few more answers. I don’t even know if this is a strict trilogy, or something longer, there isn’t too much information out there. But I have faith in Mira Grant that it won’t be too long, and that there’ll be plenty more twists and turns to come!