Summary: (2/5 stars) Strange, inconsistent characterization in the main character combined with an extremely predictable plot made this a distinctly un-entertaining read for me. You can pretty much guess everything about this book from the summary on Amazon:
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 Intestinal Bodyguard worm 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.
If you want a book about parasites taking people over, I would recommend The Girl with All the Gifts instead. And in my parasite hobbyist’s opinion, I think the chosen parasite in The Girl with All the Gifts makes more sense than a genetically modified tapeworm.
SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, I’m going to discuss this book without any concern about spoilers. So, if you don’t like spoilers you should stop reading now.
Feh. Where to begin?
Sally Mitchell is the main character in this book. She was in a car wreck and declared brain dead. Then, the tapeworm living inside of her brings her back to life, but she has no memory of herself or her life before the accident. So, now she goes by Sal, she hates riding in cars because of the car accident that nearly killed her. She presumably has the mental age of a six year old, but carries on adult relationships and is able to grasp very complex ideas with the capacity of an adult.
I don’t dislike her, but I don’t like her, either. She just struck me as a very inconsistent character.
Also, she’s not entirely human. You know this book about tapeworms taking people over, so guess what. Sal is actually a human possessed by a tapeworm. That point is only stated at the VERY end of the book, but it’s an easy thing to guess from the beginning. It’s even easier to guess once you meet other people who are being controlled by tape worms. I suspect that Sal is not 100% tapeworm controlled, but rather that she and the tapeworm actually have some sort of mutually beneficial relationship because the second book is entitled Symbiont, but I don’t care enough to read it and find out.
And if that weren’t predictable enough, the evil entity is actually a Big Pharma corporation run by some dude who values money over human life. *yawn*
I like the idea of a parasite being genetically engineered to help us manage our health. I think that’s a really cool and interesting idea. I also like the general concept of this book, but it just turned out to be super basic, super tropey, and super meh. I don’t HATE it, but I don’t like it, either.