A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.
After reading Into The Drowning Deep, I knew I wanted try more books by this author (and books she’s written under her other name!). I stumbled across a thread the author did on Twitter about some of the books she’s written and it made it easy to get a quick overview of a lot of them. I wanted something on the horror side, so parasites and medical horror seemed like a great place to go!
I really, really liked this book and I’m very close to tipping into love territory. But, it just didn’t consume me the way Into The Drowning Deep did. There were some things that didn’t go the way I expected and I think I wanted more out of other things. Nevertheless, this book was good. Grant knows how to WRITE and dang does she know how to tell a story.
The very words “tapeworm” and “parasite” are horrifying to me. I know they’re horrible little suckers. This means that the very premise of the book is terrifying. There are tapeworms living in people’s stomachs. They put them there willingly. And now these tapeworms are restless. Dang, there is such an air of unease over this entire book, which created for a really interesting (in a good way!) reading experience.
While I was expecting this book to lean into the horror side (like, there’s tapeworms wanting their own lives inside their human hosts who willingly put them there), it lead more into a conversation about morality and life and who gets to decide who gets to live. It also really leaned into the mystery, into the journey of trying to find information, and what to do with that information once it was known. None of these things are a bad thing, I think I just wanted more of the horror aspects. I wanted more terrifying things to happen. I wanted more scenes where my heart would feel like it would beat out my chest. Those were definitely there, but this was a book that relied more on the slow, steady stream of information being provided bit by bit. And that’s certainly not a bad thing! It just makes for a different reading experience.
With the slow and steady approach, I feel like something that was supposed to be the huge ending twist, was obvious very early on in the book. I wished the book would have acknowledged that earlier, instead of having Sal turn away every time she got close to the revelation. Or, I would have liked to the revelation to focus more on how Sal knew, but was too afraid to look it in the face. It felt like a mixture of the two, and I feel like it would have been better if it stuck to one.
The way this author introduces and develops characters is incredible. She presents them as these bare bones beings, with no incentive for me to route for them. And it seems like she’s incredibly aware of that as well, which makes it even better. They aren’t introduced before the action happens, I get to know them as they go through their struggles. I feel like this lets me connect to them in such a unique way. I also love, love how I go from seeing this person who I’m so “meh” about, turn into somebody that I adore. I also loved how the author was able to make me love Tansy, who I’m pretty sure if completely nuts.
Overall, this was another Mira Grant book that knocked me off my feet. I might not be as consumed with love for this one as I am for Into The Drowning Deep, but it was still a really solid book! It has incredibly writing, a terrifying premise, tapeworms, corrupt companies (and lines that very much reflected 2020 despite this book being released in 2014), and characters you slowly fall in love with.