Parasite by Mira Grant

IMG_20140227_184818_684Humthe-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonans no longer have to worry about illness or disease, immune systems are boosted, and designer drugs are easily pumped through our systems.  The lack of these worries comes with an unseen consequence.  Science came up with a parasite – a tapeworm, also known as the “Intestinal Bodyguard” worm – which fights off any maladies.  The bad news is the tapeworms seem to be fighting for a life of their own and given they live inside humans, the end results are terrifying.

Mira Grant’s most recent book, Parasite, sets forth this scientific nightmare.  The human population willingly ingests a tapeworm all in th
e name of no longer getting sick or some type of disease.  There is a very small number who don’t have the parasite, choosing instead to take daily pills in order to stay healthy, but they are the minority.

Sally Mitchell, essentially “brain-dead” after a car accident (science can stop disease but not broken bones, internal injuries,  etc.), is surrounded by her family who are just about to “pull the plug”, when she suddenly opens her eyes.  Sally is alive.  So begins Sal’s story.

Sal has spent a majority of her years after waking up at Symbogen Corp, the company that created the intestinal bodyguard.  The first year was the most difficult. She had to learn how to do everything again, from talking to walking.  Her family has been told she is no longer the person she was and will never be that person.  Lately Sal has become wary of Symbogen and wants to break free of the regular checkups and tests she has to go through.  She just wants to have a regular life with her doctor boyfriend and at her job at the pet shelter.  Then odd things start to occur.  People start to act oddly.  Sal starts to see people change – they get a far away look in their eye, gloss over, and start to attack the people they are with.  Some even say Sally’s name – terrifying in its own right.   Along with her boyfriend Sal starts to investigate what could possibly be behind these people getting sick.  The truth is far more disturbing than anyone could think and has the potential to change the fate of the human race forever.

This is the first book in the Parasitology trilogy and I thought it was fairly enjoyable.  The book had a fast pace and appeared to be well researched.  There is a lot of medical and scientific terminology, most of which was well beyond my ability to determine if accurate or not – I’ll put my faith in the author’s researching ability.  The one thing I found  disappointing was the “big reveal”.  It wasn’t too surprising, in fact seemed fairly obvious from early on.  Not sure if this was intentional on Grant’s part or not.  I’m hoping it was intentional and the next two books don’t have more of the same obviousness.  Now to just wait for the future books to come out.



Da Vinci’s Demons

Tonight the second season of the Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons starts.  The premise of the first season was Da Vinci was set on a path by a group known as The Sons of Mithra to find a book called Book of Leaves.  Entangled in his quest to find the map to the location of the book are Florence’s Medici family, Da Vinci’s friends,  Lorenzo Medici’s mistress Lucrezia Donati, and the pope’s henchman Count Girolamo Riario.

When I watched the first episode last year I was unsure about this show.  Starz cast an English actor, Tom Riley to play the Italian Da Vinci, and I initially thought Riley wasn’t the best choice.   The show also seemed to be caught between being historical or modern.  They brought some of Da Vinci’s ideas to life when we know it wasn’t possible at that time.  Even with these doubts in my head I kept watching (the t.v. junkie in me can’t help it).  Watching each episode after that, my doubts started to fade and I came to really enjoy the series.

This series certainly has its issues – sprinkled with historical facts, but conveniently adjusted for the show.  The modern feel, using incidents from DaVinci’s life but adjusting them to fit the story (a sodomy charge, setting caged birds free, the Medici relationship, etc.), and the portrayal of Da Vinci as a bit of an out of control madman.  One episode I thought was rather dumb was when Da Vinci went to find a member of The Sons of Mithra.  The writers had him go to and meet Vlad Dracula.  I recall reading the writers just thought it would be interesting for these two individuals to meet.  Needless to say, this was my least favorite episode.

Even with these issues,  I still really liked this show.  I started to care about the characters, Lorenzo’s brother and the actor who played him, had undeniable charm.  Tom Riley and the entire cast have good chemistry and I started to think the story interesting and compelling.  All these aspects combined caused me to become a loyal viewer.

The first season ended with the Pazzi conspiracy and doubts of Da Vinci’s chance of moving on to find the Book of Leaves.  The previews of the second season show Da Vinci does continue his quest to find the Book of Leaves.  Given the second season takes place somewhere other than Florence,  I’m again on the fence about this show.  I’m hoping the second season continues with the story and characters I enjoyed from the last.  I can look past the historical inaccuracies and other minor issues as long as there is a good story to support it.

Anyone else looking forward to season two or have thoughts on season one?

Hater by David Moody – The Hate Apocalypse

You’re sitting next to someone you know and care about and suddenly they turn to you and have a look of pure murder in their eyes.  Next thing you 20140313_223401know, you’ve beaten that person to a pulp and they are no longer alive.  You don’t feel bad about in any way, after all, you’re a Hater.

That’s the overall idea for David Moody’s Hater, the first book of the Hater trilogy.  What seems to start out as a few incidents of people going a bit crazy and becoming violent soon overtakes and it seems like there are haters everywhere.  Haters – that’s what the general public calls people who act this way.  Everyone is terrified of them and no one knows who will become the next hater.  Things go from bad to worse with no one going outside for fear of being killed.  And then the military moves in – never a good sign.

I don’t know exactly what I think about this book.  It was fast paced and I liked how there were brief chapters focusing on a person’s change into a hater.  The main character is in a dead-end job and Moody does a good job of describing the hopelessness and frustration of the situation,  even if it’s the fault of that character.  I really liked the overall tone of the story – kind of snarky and those mean inner thoughts you want to express but don’t. The one thing I didn’t like was how long it took for the reason why people turned into haters.  The book was almost over before it was explained and the explanation wasn’t very in-depth.  I was really hoping for a bit more than what was provided.  Given this is a trilogy maybe more will be offered in the next two books.

A great story surrounds the publication of this book.  Moody self-published the book on-line several years ago and a few months later Guillermo del Toro bought the film rights.   Hater was officially published through Thomas Dunne Books a few years later.  A self-publishing success story!

I’m looking forward to reading the next two books and do hope more background is provided on what causes a person to become a hater.  For the time being though,  I’m content with being “one of them.”