Series: Parasitology #3
Published by Orbit on November 24th 2015
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
Reviewed by: Kim
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?
CHIMERA is the last book in the Parasitology series, and it kept me glued to its pages for the whole ride. It's the end of the world and sentient tapeworms are to blame... or are they?
Sal, a chimera, a sentient tapeworm who has successfully taken over her host body, is an amazing character, growing throughout the events of the series, but really coming into herself in this final book. She is an invertebrate stuck in a mammalian body. She doesn't like it when people smile at her with all their teeth. She remembers being blind and crawling around someone's body. She loves some humans, but isn't one, a fact which becomes increasingly clear the more she is around them – and around her own kind.
Mira Grant (who is also Seanan McGuire) is a fabulous writer, and her wonderful use of diaries and unpublished letters between the chapters do an excellent job of widening the scope of the story. It's always fun to see things from the villain's perspective, even when the villain is completely insane.
I really appreciated the attention to the science these books take. Much like her Newsflesh novels (Feed, Deadline and Blackout), she takes the science seriously and I never felt that a fact or behaviour was changed or ignored simply to make the plot work. The science of the tapeworms, from beneficial aides that secrete insulin for the diabetic and the like, to unwilling killers infecting the water supply, is perfectly realistic and horrific.
I would recommend reading the first two as they definitely set the stage for both the science and the character development, and you're missing some excellent world-building by skipping them. The third book also begins so suddenly after the second ends that it might be jarring for new readers.
CHIMERA makes you think about what makes a person: nature vs nurture, original owner or opportunistic parasite, tapeworm with a conscience or human being without one. Who are the real monsters?Series Titles: