by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #3
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
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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?
Being a monster is not the same as being a bad person. It just means you’re willing to eat the world if that’s what you have to do to keep yourself alive.
Annnd it is over * Hugs Chimera by Mira Grant and cries* I am going to miss the tapeworms. What, you think I am crazy? Chimera is the final book in Mira Grant’s Parasitology series and like its predecessors, it was brilliant with suspense, shivers and characters whom I have come to love.
Mira Grant became a favorite author with her Newsflesh trilogy. Her blending of horror, science fiction and strong unique characters placed her on the shelf of authors whose works I will buy regardless of the topic. Am a fangirl? Abso-freakin-lutely. Grant creates worlds and characters that become a part of me, ones I want to revisit repeatedly.
“…The broken doors are ready, you are very nearly home. My darling child, be careful now, and don’t go out alone.”- From DON’T GO OUT ALONE
Spoiler free thoughts on why you should read Chimera and the Parasitology trilogy:
Grant takes us into the not so distant future, introduces us to a world on the cutting edge of medical technology, and shows us how miracle medical cures could be society’s downfall. Eerily realistic it highlighted financial greed, humanity’s search for the magic pill and ponders how far in the name of science is too far.
Since the beginning of the trilogy Grant has presented multiple perspectives some in diary format, audio messages, and others in scientific documents. Throughout the trilogy, we have watched the transformation and growth of protagonist Sal as she finds herself caught on both sides of this war. We witness good characters, greedy characters, sympathetic characters and villains who will make you shiver. Human and parasites alike fall into these categories. I love that Grant did not make this a battle against good and evil, but gave it a realistic perspective where both sides need to compromise.
One of the things that impressed me with the trilogy and particularly Chimera is that Grant blurs the lines between humans and tapeworms. The characters played a large role in this transformation. Sal in particular as well as her brother Adam and her sister Tansy changed my perspective. While this is classified as horror and yes in the beginning, I shivered it slowly became more about the characters and made me ponder humanity’s advancement. Could the ultimate medical cure be our downfall? Is our search for eternal youth, diet pills and carefree eating going to be our undoing?
Grant once again weaves in humor, tender moments and surprises that tugged at my heartstrings and made me giggle. She highlights strong characters who can accept and those whom are close minded presenting a realistic look at what if. She made me care and I became completely engrossed in the outcome. I feared for them, cried for them, loathed others, and damn it she made the unthinkable loveable.
“Sometimes I miss lying to myself about the things that make my life complicated.”-SAL
“Wow”said Fishy. “I don’t think I heard a single full stop in there. You know, when you start talking entirely in comma splices, you’re probably ready for a time-out and a tranquilizer.”
For fans of the trilogy Chimera packs a punch and delivers a nail-biting final book with twists and turns before closing with an open-ending that left me deeply satisfied. Of course, it also left room for novellas in this world, something Grant does these marvelously and I gobble them up like candy. If you read this Ms. Grant, I would like Fishy’s story and for the love of all that is holy, I need a copy of Don’t Go Out Alone.
Fans of horror, science fiction and fleshed out characters will enjoy Chimera and the Parasitology series. The series has earned a spot among my favorites.
Read an Excerpt from Parasite Book One
[The recording is crisp enough to look like a Hollywood film, too polished to be real. The lab is something out of a science fiction movie, all pristine white walls and gleaming glass and steel equipment. Only one thing in this scene is fully believable: the woman standing in front of the mass spectrometer, her wavy blonde hair pulled into a ponytail, a broad smile on her face. She is pretty, with a classic English bone structure and the sort of pale complexion that speaks less to genetics and more to being the type of person who virtually never goes outside. There is a petri dish in her blue-gloved hand.]
Dr. Cale: Doctor Shanti Cale, Diphyllobothrium symbogenesis viability test thirty-seven. We have successfully matured eggs in a growth medium consisting of seventy percent human cells, thirty percent biological slurry. A full breakdown of the slurry can be found in the appendix to my latest progress report. The eggs appear to be viable, but we have not yet successfully induced hatching in any of the provided growth mediums. Upon consultation with Doctor Banks, I received permission to pursue other tissue sources.
[She walks to the back of the room, where a large, airlock-style door has been installed. The camera follows her through the airlock, and into what looks very much like an operating theater. Two men are waiting there, faces covered by surgical masks. Dr. Cale pauses long enough to put down her petri dish and put on a mask of her own.]
Dr. Cale: The subject was donated to our lab by his wife, following the accident which left him legally brain-dead. For confirmation that the subject was obtained legally, please see the medical power of attorney attached to my latest progress report.
[The movement of her mask indicates a smile.]
Dr. Cale: Well. Quasi-legally.
[Dr. Cale crosses to the body. Its midsection has been surrounded by a sterile curtain; the face is obscured by life support equipment, and by the angle of the shot. She pulls back the curtain to reveal the gleaming interior of the man’s sliced-open abdomen. The skin has been peeled back, and the blood has been suctioned away, revealing a wide array of colors. Liver brown, intestinal green and glistening white, and the smooth pink sac of the stomach. Calmly, she reaches into the man’s body, pushing organs aside until the surface of the small intestine is revealed.]
Dr. Cale: Scalpel.
[One of the masked men passes her the requested tool. She takes it, pressing down against the man’s intestine. He does not move. Her hand does not tremble.]
Dr. Cale: I am not following strict sterile protocol, in part because infection is not a risk. The subject’s immune system has been supplemented. D. symbogenesis eggs were introduced to the subject’s system six days ago, fed into his body along with the nutrient paste we have been using to preserve basic biological functions.
[The surface of the intestine splits, spilling a thin film of brownish liquid over the surrounding organs. Dr. Cale ignores it as she sets the scalpel aside and thrusts her hand into the man’s body. He still does not move as she digs through his small intestine. When she finally retracts her hand, she is clutching something. She pulls down her mask with her free hand and directs a beatific smile toward the camera.]
Dr. Cale: I am pleased to report that we have multiple fully- formed proglottids present in the subject’s body, as well as some partial strobila.
[She holds out her hand. The camera zooms in on the white specks writhing against her gloved fingers.]
Dr. Cale: D. symbogenesis is capable of maturing when cultured inside a living human host. Ladies and gentlemen . . . at long last, it’s alive.
[The film ends there. There are no notes in Dr. Cale’s progress reports relating to the eventual fate, or original identity, of the first human subject used to culture D. symbogenesis. The medical power of attorney referenced in the recording has never come to light.]