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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 May 2015
Re-reading this book after a few years rekindled the gut theories that now are popular with evidence-based background. The forward to 'Parasite' refers to 'fringe science' in the late 1980's, ignoring people who were developing 'life-threatening allergies and autoimmune conditions... due to lack of allergens, bacteria, even parasites'. The balance to maintain an equilibrium between the gut, biological and neurological disorders are explicitly described. This is the opening of a fictional account of Sally Mitchell, a 20 year old dying on a life-support machine, legally dead after a road traffic accident. A gut parasite (Diphyllobothrium - a common world-wide tape-worm), marketed as 'SymboGen' has remarkable properties. It has been modified scientifically to not only secrete 'miracle' chemicals but can be manipulated to deliver drugs with a health and potential financial bonanza. Sally Mitchell recovers. Her memory does not. The story of her rehabilitation is fascinating.

The narrative delves into the processes of physical and mental recovery that are stirring. The genetic manipulation of the gut parasite has devastating effects when released on the population as a panacea for illness just by popping a pill. Marvellous, but Mira Grant delivers a grim account in her narrative of how a scientific marvel can have catastrophic effects through the doctors, scientists and the affected. The morals and ethics smell as much as the financial rewards.

This is an excellent and topical novel. It is part fact and fiction. I mention the former as drugs and other agents are currently being investigated and delivered by genetically modified viruses and bacteria. An intriguing read. I look forward to reading the second part.
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on 20 January 2014
Review also published on my blog, StudentSpyglass.com

After a car accident that leaves her legally brain-dead, Sally Mitchell becomes the first person ever to be saved by a SymboGen implant. The SymboGen implant (known as the Intestinal Bodyguard) is a modified tapeworm which pulls toxins from the bloodstream, fights off infections and generally keeps everyone healthy without any effort on the part of the human who's had one implanted. With no memory of the girl she was before her accident, Sal has had to relearn everything - how to walk, talk, and most of all, who she is. Six years later, she's still guarded by overprotective parents, and occasionally has to submit for testing at SymboGen, but generally life is good.

Then the `sleepwalking' starts - perfectly normal people seem to hollow out, becoming mindless shells of their former selves. With no explanation as to why the disease occurred, how it's spreading, or who will be next, life just became scary and confusing.

I really enjoyed the format and writing style of Parasite. Each chapter begins with a quote or an excerpt from a book or interview about SymboGen. This is a great touch, as it makes the whole world feel more believable, whilst also helping you form opinions of characters who begin to feel three-dimensional even before you meet them.

One of my favourite things about Parasite is that there was some actual science behind the plot. I'm by no means an expert on tapeworms, but we had to study them as part of my degree, and I'm really glad Mira Grant seemed to have done her research! There was just enough science to keep my brain ticking over, and to make the plot seem believable, without feeling either patronising or dry.

Sal is an interesting character. There were times when she was frustrating, but most of the time I liked her. Curious and intelligent, Sal slowly becomes more feisty throughout the novel, and she's both protective and loyal to those important to her. She already has a boyfriend, so there isn't a huge romance in this (or a love triangle!), which is refreshing. I also loved the supporting cast, including Sal's boyfriend Nathan, a truly loveable dog named Beverly, and the unhinged seeming Tansy.

The plot is gripping and full of twists. There was one twist that I personally thought was quite predictable, but there were plenty of other ups and downs to keep me hooked. I've recommended Parasite a lot since finishing it, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. This was my first Mira Grant book, and it led to a binging of her other books!
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on 6 January 2014
Another great book by Mira Grant and a strange yet interesting take of the future. The way in which her books are written including 'Parasite' makes you feel as if the story is real and that anything is possible. The characters are likeable and I have grown attached to them. The science behind the storyline and the obvious amount of research that has been put into this book is amazing, it helps to not only understand the characters better but develops the story into something I haven't found with any other book or author. I cant wait for a second volume, this book seems to be the beginning of an exciting series.
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on 28 July 2014
Wasn't sure about this book...I had seen it before and never bought it.
I took the plunge and wow am I glad!
I could not put it down! Brilliant...very different idea for a story...a bit scary that I can believe it happening!
Off to buy the next one now!
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on 5 July 2014
As others have said you can kind of guess what's going to happen in the end within the first few pages. That aside I enjoyed reading it. It was one of those books that you look forward to going to bed to read.
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This book zipped along with many twists and turns i didn't expect. I was sceptical of the science but when it was explained it was very plausible aDd you could tell the authors background was in those fields of science.
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on 11 May 2014
Terrifyingly brilliant, addictive reading. In some ways very believable and you can't stop reading because you need to know what is going on.
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on 23 January 2014
Takes a while to get going and then when it does I'm not sure it was really worth the build up.... Leaves you with a lot of questions but maybe that's the point....? I read it while on holiday and it kept me entertained, so I guess it did it's job!
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on 29 July 2014
Not the best of her books. I made it all the way through but found it a bit obvious.
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on 5 June 2014
If you have not yet read the newsflesh trilogy go read that instead. This book is almost the same material, almost and I read it, and liked it but it just seemed too familiar with the same plot tropes.

Maybe I'll buy the follow up, maybey. if its on offer or can't find anything else worth reading.
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