BOOK REVIEW: Parasite by Mira Grant

13641105Title: Parasite

Author: Mira Grant

Book Length (Audiobook): 16 hours 6 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: “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.”

My Review: The main character, Sally Mitchell “Sal” awoke from a coma without any memories of her life before the accident. Her life was saved by the tapeworm living in her intestines. The book starts six years after she woke up. Her relationships are complicated, due to the fact that she was not a very nice person before the accident. Everyone in her life of course remembers this person, but she herself does not. Although Sal is an adult, she is often treated like a child by her parents (Sal’s Dad is the head of USAMRID), and her doctors at SymboGen see her as an anomaly and therefore study her and monitor her every move. In fact, the only person in Sal’s life who treats her with any normalcy is her boyfriend, Nathan (a parasitologist at the hospital).

Despite the coma and memory loss, Sal seems to be living a pretty average life, that is, until things start to get strange. People start developing a “sleeping sickness” and the infection is spreading. It is not known until the end how Sal fits into this sickness, and I won’t spoil it for you.

When I first started to read this book, I had been expecting something a bit more “apocalyptic”– so I was a little bit disappointed when it wasn’t; but, maybe this comes in the next 2 books?

I was also surprised to find out that this wasn’t a Young Adult book, because it certainly read like one. Other than the occasional swear word, the language of this book was super easy. The romantic relationships were PG all the way, and despite the family drama, other relationships in the book were rather uncomplicated and one-dimensional. The characters were interesting, when they were not totally unrealistic.

SPOILER ALERT: One of the characters that I did not like at all was Tansy. Tansy was a human who had been taken over by the tapeworm — so basically, Tansy was a tapeworm wearing a human shell. The only problem with Tansy was that her character was supposed to be crazy, and I guess the only way to illustrate this was to have her act like an unhinged Rambo who sometimes had cringe worthy one-liners? I think that the author could have developed the characters better. I also did not understand why the description of the characters was necessary — did the fact that Tansy have pink streaks in her hair make her seem more “crazy”? Otherwise, it just seems like these descriptions were just fillers without any real motivation.

This book was entertaining; I listened to the audiobook while running / walking. If you are looking to be entertained, you should give it a go. I would just caution to manage expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

34084Title: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Audiobook Length: 17 hours and 54 minutes

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: If you are interested to see my reviews of the first two books, you can click the links below. In this third book, which takes place five weeks after the second book ends, Eddie, Susannah (formerly Odetta) are being trained by Roland to become gunslingers. All the while, the three are continuing their quest to the Dark Tower by following magical “beams” (which I guess are like ley lines?). They encounter strange (ancient) beings along the way who are becoming sick and dying, as Midworld is “moving on” (onto the next age?)

Meanwhile, due to the fact that he saved Jake from being killed in the 2nd book, Roland’s mind has become fractured into 2 pieces. The first piece remembers Jake (from the timeline where he died and came to Midworld), and the second piece where Jake lived, and therefore never met Roland. This juxtaposition is tearing Roland apart and slowly making him insane.

Back on “Earth” in NYC, Jake’s mind has also become fractured. He remembers both the life in Midworld, and the one where he never went there. Strange things are happening to him in NYC, and its like he is living a double life. Eventually he is able to find his way to a portal to Midworld. Once Roland and Jake are together again, the insanity ends for both of them.

The rest of the book is about the adventures they have while on their quest, which I won’t tell you about so as not to ruin it for you.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands”

BLAST FROM THE PAST BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

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Title: The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When I read it: April, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: 7 hours after the end of the first book, Roland awakes on the beach, where he is attacked by lobster-like creatures called “lobstrosity”. The lobstrosity eats parts of a few of Roland’s fingers before Roland manages to kill it. The wounds become infected, and Roland realizes he is dying. Roland continues to walk down the beach, where he encounters three doors, which open into different time periods in New York. As Roland walks through the first two doors, he brings back a person who will help him on his quest (i.e., Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes). The third door leads Roland to Jack Mort, who we find out was the guy who pushed Jake into oncoming traffic, killing him (which is how Jake ended up in Roland’s world). Roland goes into the mind of Jack Mort and is able to prevent him from pushing Jake.

Jake is not in the novel, because in The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger, Roland lets Jake die. Walter is also not in this book, and is presumed dead. Just as a recap, at the end of the first book, Roland and the man in black encounter each other, and the man in black reads Roland’s fortune using tarot cards. The man in black casts a spell over Roland, making him fall asleep. Roland awakes 10 years later holding a jaw bone, which is presumed to be that of the man in black.

The Writing: As with all of Stephen King’s books, the writing was great.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.

Expectations/Recommendations: I more or less had the same ambivalent feelings about this book that I did with respect to The Gunslinger. It’s hard to get into the story because there are so many moving pieces. Basically, though this book was just about collecting the companions–Roland stayed on the beach the entire time. This book was more or less building the back story of the two new characters, and revealing the connection with Jack Mort. I guess, however, that it is an important story insofar as the entire series is concerned.

BLAST FROM THE PAST BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

 

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Title: The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When I read it: April, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: The story centers around Roland, the last gunslinger, and his quest to find and kill the man in black, who for all intents and purposes is a sorcerer. The place where Roland lives is not “earth” exactly, but seems to be a separate dimension, parallel universe, or on a different timeline, it is hard to say. As Roland is passing a way station, a boy Jake appears from “earth”. Jake doesn’t know how he got to Roland’s timeline. The two of them set out to find the man in black together.

The Writing: As with all of Stephen King’s books, the writing was great.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing to report.

Expectations/Recommendations: The Dark Tower series so far has been one of my least favorite from Stephen King. I gave it 3 stars out of 5 because while it was an entertaining book, I just didn’t love it. It’s not that the book is weird, because lets face it, most of King’s books are a little weird, but rather that I found myself getting lost. I didn’t understand who the man in black was, and why Roland was so intent on killing him. How really did this Jake kid fit in? And what was up with the Dark Tower? Maybe these things will be revealed in the next book.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is a young adult post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novel. I thought that I would like it, since I had read and loved the Hunger Games series, but honestly, it fell short and I was really disappointed.

The Maze Runner by James DashnerThe main character Thomas wakes up in a strange place called the Glade with no memories of who he is or how he got there. The Glade is surrounded by walls and outside the walls is a Maze. The boys living in the Glade (who by the way also have no memory of who they are) have to run this Maze every day in order to “solve” it. They also must avoid “Grievers” who are monster-things that live in the Maze.

The characters have little to no depth and the storyline is somewhat boring and predictable–there is little to no action until the end of the book, and the ending was, well, just stupid and ruined the whole book.

Maybe the movie is better.

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Maze Runner http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6186357-the-maze-runner