Symbiont by Mira Grant

wpid-20150112_192434.jpgSymbiont by Mira Grant is the second book in what was to be a two book series but is now a trilogy. Thatthe-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-2015 statement alone gives the impression this second book may have been lacking in quality content. It kind of was.

Parasite, the first book, had a good pace, was a quick read, and had a plot that moved along. Symbiont was a quick read as well, given it’s a 500 plus page book. The tapeworms meant to keep humans healthy have started to revolt and attack their hosts.  Sal and her companions must figure out how this is happening before the tapeworms cause humans to cease existing in their current forms.

Where the book falls short is in the overall story. The story got bogged down in the main character’s self reflecting and repetition of thoughts/events that happened. At the end of book one, Sal has realized what she is and how she came to be that way.  Book two starts up pretty much where the first one ended, and from there a few things happen, but the repetition really gets in the way.  Sal has to come to terms with what she is, which is understandable and something that readers would want to know about.  However, that self-reflection happens way too frequently and starts to become boring.  

I doubt this is the exact reader reaction Grant wanted. Reading her acknowledgement at the end of the book makes it clear she had a lot more to say than what would fit into two books.  Which is nothing to complain about.  If an author chooses to expand on their original plans, please do so.  Artistic creativeness has its own boss and can often take someone to a different path.  This time it seems to be a bit of a stumbling block.  The book was an Okay read – this is a very obvious second book and didn’t allow for too much progression of overall story or even decent character development. It’s just not what I was hoping for.  Maybe I’ll feel differently once the third and final book comes out.  For now however, I’m left with a feeling of slight disappointment.

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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.

 

 

Zombies, Government Conspiracies, and Blogging

Three big topics – zombies, government conspiracies, and blogging – are all combined in The Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant.  All three make for great topics and putting all three into a series ends up in a fun read and a new way to tell a story.

Georgia Mason and her brother Shaun Mason are bloggers in the post rising world, are dedicated to telling the true story, and making sure they don’t disappoint their readers.  In 2014 the common cold and cancer were cured.  Those cures created a worse alternative – zombies.  20 years after the cure and the subsequent rising, Georgia (a/k/a George) and Shaun run a blog where they report on zombies and life around them.  George is a “newsie” – someone who tells the stories, making sure all the facts are correct before getting the word out and Shaun is an “Irwin” – those who are field reporters (for lack of a better term) and post videos of their encounters with the zombies.  There are also fictionals – those who write about the world around them but put a fictional spin to it.  George and Shaun, along with their blog team site, get their dream job: covering the next presidential election.  Along the way, they encounter terrible tragedy and realize they can’t trust the people they thought they could.

This series is put in the zombie category but the zombies really serve as the background and back-story to the books – Feed, Deadline, and Blackout.  The main story is the government conspiracy.  What I liked best about this series was the characters were bloggers.  Each chapter had about two posts from one of the characters which gave the reader more of a sense of what the post rising world was like and what the readers of the blogs would see.  The books were told at a fast pace and I thought the blogging aspect was a new and different twist.

Mira Grant isn’t afraid to shock the reader with some of the things that play out.  I don’t want to say too much since it would give away major plots lines, but it was enjoyable to read and be surprised at some of the situations that occur.  The third book gets a bit convoluted towards the end with the conspiracy and does feel a bit rushed, but ends by tying up the story in a decent way.

The background of how the rising started gets a bit technical with the writer explaining throughout the three books how it all happened.  If your looking for a book series that is a good thriller, has zombies as a decent supporting cast, and want a dose of government untrustworthy-ness tossed in, I recommend this series.