Parasite (Parasitology, #1) By Mira Grant

(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.

Book Review: Outpost (Donovan #1) by W. Michael Gear

(5/5 stars)  I have mixed feelings about this book. I didn’t LOVE it, but I kind of loved it. 

Donovan is an alien world on the backside of nowhere and owned by The Corporation which intended to mine its plentiful mineral deposits.  Unfortunately, Donovan is the Australia of space and everything on the planet wants to kill people.  So, in the years since the last supply drop, the population of Donovan has made do with what they have and many of them have grown to despise life under The Corporation’s thumb. So, when a new corporate supervisor comes to the planet, things get… awkward.

Donovan is a dangerous and truly alien world. The universe the characters occupy is interesting and detailed. And I really love some of the characters. Parts of the novel seem a bit dry and cliche, but I still couldn’t get enough of it and I am kind of annoyed that the second and third books are not available right this minute for me to buy it. So, yeah.  A solid sci-fi adventure. Five stars.

Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Summary: (4/5 stars) Into the Drowning Deep is a monster thriller novel with the pacing of a movie and reminds me a lot of Michael Crichton’s later work.

The basic premise is that a big, scientific ship is going to the Mariana trench to do some marine research.  Some of the people on the ship are going to investigate the deaths of all the people on another ship that went there seven years earlier.  Some of the investigators believe that the other people were killed by previously undocumented sea monsters that everyone calls mermaids.

Spoiler alert: a buncha people die.  It’s fun!

Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

(3/5 stars) The Final Six is probably a better book than my star rating indicates. I just didn’t love it because it felt like a lot of build-up with little pay-off.  But I think that’s because I’m far less interested in the interpersonal relationships of young people than I am in space travel and the associated mysteries.  It’s a YA book, mind you. So, it feels a little wrong to evaluate it by standards that aren’t quite right for YA, but whatevs.

The basic premise of the book is that earth has been devastated by climate change and is becoming uninhabitable.  So, the various countries and space agencies around the world have teamed up to send a team of teenagers to Europa where they will begin terraforming the moon for human habitation.  The reason they pick teenagers is because they’re old enough to learn complicated things, but young enough to remain adaptable to all the things that the mission requires.  But there’s more to the mission that the teens are being told. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUNNNNN!

An interesting, if far-fetched premise, with characters that I liked pretty well.  The conflicts don’t build up high enough for my tastes and don’t pay off in the way I wanted.  But it’s good enough that I will probably pick up the next book at some point in hopes of getting more of that space travel goodness.

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

(5/5 stars) This is a great sci-fi romp with colorful characters, lots of adventure and intrigue.  The world-building is intricate without getting too nerdy and even though there’s a strong element of “social justice” throughout, I didn’t feel like it got too preachy.  I also appreciate that although this is very clearly a first book in a series, it feels complete.  I could read just this one and not feel like I’m missing anything. But I enjoyed the characters and the universe, so I will very likely come back to the other books in the series.

Five More Book Reviews

Quick book reviews for:
– American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle
– Jade City by Fonda Lee
– Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
– Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book
– Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking