Review: Symbiont by Mira Grant

Jan 11, 2017

TitleSymbiont
Author: Mira Grant
Publisher: Orbit
Publishing Date: November 25, 2014
Pages/Format: 516, Paperback
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The enemy is inside us.

The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde.

Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.





Book in One Word: Wormderful?


If you've read my review for Parasite, the first book in Mira Grant's Parasitology trilogy, then you know that I had to get my hands on this sequel as soon as I finished its predecessor. I was worried, of course--what if Symbiont was a stump of a sequel and wasn't as good as the beginning of the series? Because something about Parasite, subject matter aside, just hit the spot. Fortunately, I had nothing to fear. (Well, except for tapeworms.)

Symbiont picks up exactly where Parasite left off (and here's your warning and spoiler alert that the latter is going to be extremely spoiled in this review): Sal is a tapeworm. That's how she woke up from her coma and survived the accident that should've killed her--her health-wizard genetically modified tapeworm had made its way to her brain and took over, replacing the brain-dead Sally Mitchell with the now not-exactly-brain-dead Sal Mitchell. Sounds just peachy, doesn't it?

The fact of the matter with this book is that THE TAPEWORM APOCALYPSE IS HERE. Anyone with a SymboGen tapeworm is at risk (honestly, do the people in this world not have certain this-shit-has-been-forewarned movie franchises?), because it's those tapeworms that have become...dormant, so to speak. Their genetic modifications have made them more than the average tapeworm, and they want more. The problem is that all the tapeworms aren't quite the same--aren't quite like Sal's--and they can't just burrow up to their host body's brain, take over, and they all live happily ever after, the end. Hence the Sleeping Sickness, aka what everyone whose tapeworm has yet to take charge calls this big fiasco. Because when a tapeworm first takes over, it's like their host is sleepwalking--until they start to look for food, that is. They're not exactly human, but that's one of the big points of exploration in this series: humanity.

Like Parasite, Symbiont takes its damn time telling the story--as it should. The pacing is mellow and doesn't go bang bang boom boom pow. It takes its time, building up this new world as it takes down the old one. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know, and the apocalypse doesn't quite happen in a day, either. And now that we know the truth about Sal, a being who thought she was a human with another chance at life but who's really a tapeworm with a chance at life, there's an internal war playing against this great big external one: whose side is Sal on? Does she try to save the tapeworms--essentially her relatives--or does she help humans destroy them? Is her family Nathan (NOBODY HURT HIM OR ELSE), or Sally's parents and sister, or her fellow tapeworm brethren? What is humanity, and does it only pertain to full-blooded humans?

I am so utter pleased that Symbiont didn't disappoint, and I really, really, really liked this book. About tapeworms. Taking over the world. (And I'd tell you more about it but you're best off reading it for yourself.) But like I said in my Parasite review, it truly is so much more than that. It's about humanity and science and love and family and survival and choices. And it has a bit of one of my favorite concepts: who is the monster and who is the man? Is it weird that I'm sad that there's only one more tapeworm book after this? Because I am. But I'm not so sad that I'll ever willingly get a tapeworm put inside me. NO WAY.


Did I like it? Yesss.
Did I love it? Pretty much.
Would I reread it? You bet your arse.
Would I purchase it? I mean, I bought this immediately after reading the first book, so.
Who would I recommend it to? For starters, do you like tapeworms? Because if so, VOILA. But in all honesty, if you like pleasantly surprising novels filled with zombie-like elements, the survival of humanity, monster versus man concepts, sciencey stuff, and stellar development, then maybe give these books a try.

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