Sally Mitchell is in a coma. The victim of a horrific car accident, Sally is considered by her doctors to be brain-dead, and literally moments before her family turns off the machines keeping her alive, she awakens. Only she isn’t Sally anymore, she’s Sal, and she remembers nothing of her life before the moment she awakened. She has to learn how to speak, how to walk; she has to establish new relationships with her family members, who struggle to accept her new personality, which is completely different from the Sally they all knew. What they don’t struggle to accept is her miraculous recovery—her genetically engineered symbiotic implant, developed by the SymboGen Corporation, has done its job: while she was unconscious, it repaired all of her injuries, leaving her almost completely healed.
In fact, these implants—which are bioengineered tapeworms—are so effective at healing disease and boosting the human immune system that almost everybody has one. No more tablets, no more injections: these implants are truly a modern miracle. But if that’s the case, what is the mysterious sleeping sickness that is starting to spread across the city? Seemingly healthy people are fine one minute, and the next they’re almost in a fugue state: they can’t speak, they can’t really communicate, they don’t seem to move with any purpose, they’re really kind of like zombies. And from what Sal sees during one of her regular visits to SymboGen (one of the hazards of awakening from a coma is you become medically fascinating and are routinely subjected to all kinds of medical and psychological tests), there seems to be some kind of tie to the implants.
And possibly even to Sal herself.
Parasite is compulsively readable. It’s engaging, it’s witty, it’s creepy (the children’s story that is featured throughout is fantastic and really helps to set the tone), but it also gives away too much too soon, so the plot “reveals” fell a little flat. Even so, Grant does such a good job of pacing that the suspense builds up to the very last page—which is a little frustrating because this is the first book in a planned trilogy, meaning I have to wait to find out what happens next.
This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4 stars