Series: Parasitology #3
Published by Orbit on November 24th, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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The final book in Mira Grant's terrifying Parasitology trilogy.
The outbreak has spread, tearing apart the foundations of society, as implanted tapeworms have turned their human hosts into a seemingly mindless mob.
Sal and her family are trapped between bad and worse, and must find a way to compromise between the two sides of their nature before the battle becomes large enough to destroy humanity, and everything that humanity has built...including the chimera.
The broken doors are closing. Can Sal make it home?
This review does not contain any series spoilers.
Reading this series is always a delightfully horrific and philosophical experience. Being centered around a scientific experiment gone wrong, causing tapeworms that were meant to be the end of human disease and suffering to overtake their hosts, it gets pretty squeamish during some parts.
That’s part of the appeal of the Parasitology series, the pure horror of knowing that some of the people you interact with are no longer human. Instead, they’re tapeworms living in human brains, either driving the human hosts into a zombie-like state or becoming a rare incidence of chimera, who think and even believe that they’re that human.
What’s even more fascinating about this series, is the realism that this could actually happen 13 years from now. If a new technology came out that could cure all diseases, that could safeguard you from any cold or virus, that could prolong your lifespan and give you quality of life – would you take it no matter the cost?
My survival was important. The survival of the people I loved and had promised to protect would always matter just as much. It always had. As long as I kept hold of that, I could endure anything. Whether or not I survived. No matter how much it hurt me.
Chimera is the third book in the series and it asks all the tough questions. It’s multi-layered and complex, contrasting morality with prejudice, survival and human instinct, and the radical views of opposing groups when it comes to humanity. Whether it’s the military faction who has the firepower to wipe out all zombies, to Dr Cale in her hand to creating these monsters, and to a tapeworm scientist who just wants to preserve his species. Time and time again you’ll be asking yourself – who is right? Who is wrong? What is right? What is wrong?
Sal is a strong character with the pure determination to survive, to right any wrongs that have been made, to protect her loved ones and to reunite her family. Following her through all three books, she’s come a long way from the confused accident survivor we met in the first book. Even in Chimera, she hasn’t figured everything out. The one thing I admire about Sal is that, she relies on her determination to succeed to push herself forward, no matter how hopeless, no matter how risky or dangerous the circumstance. Because Sal would rather act and fail, than to sit around doing nothing, and that’s how she’s succeeded thus far. But it hasn’t been without failure or without consequence.
Science hadn’t created monsters. It had just given brains the capacity to move from one body to another, to feed without dependence on the host, to masticate and chew, to live. We were made to live. We were survivors.
Being the third in the series, Chimera is actually quite slow moving. But if you’ve read any of Mira Grant’s books, you’ll know that she favours the detail, bringing forth a vivid world that comes to life, multi-dimensional characters that you can root for and philosophical questions on mankind and survival.
The ending also doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it just addresses this little patch of North America that has been affected by sleepwalkers. More warm and fuzzy moments between Sal and Nathan would have been welcome too, but this story was never about the romance.
If you love science, horror and philosophy, this series will absolutely blow you away with its pure detail of a scientific experiment gone wrong. It never ever skimps on character development, scientific methodology or the morality of different factions. I never thought I’d enjoy a book about tapeworms, but anything that Mira Grant writes deserves to be read. If you can’t stand the thought of tapeworms, but wouldn’t mind the rest, check out Feed, which is one of my all-time favourite books!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me this review copy.