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Chimera by Mira Grant


by Mira Grant

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This was an excellent end to a fantastic series. If you enjoy sci-fi with a medical focus (as these books are all about parasites humans tailored to take care of their bodies and administer medication, taking over their hosts) I highly recommend the series! It's fast-paced without being too overwhelming, the characters are convincing and for a layman like myself, the science was believable. I hated to put this book down and yet, I never wanted the series to end. Grant did a wonderful job of grossing me out and giving me feels and keeping me engrossed up to the very last page! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Aug 17, 2016 |
Read more reviews at The Artemis Reader

Chimera was an interesting conclusion to the Parasitology series. I spent a large majority of the time reading Chimera frustrated beyond belief. These characters are really dense sometimes! That being said, I did enjoy this final book in the series just not as much as its predecessors.

Chimera begins with Sal, pretending to be a resurrected Sally Mitchell, in USAMIIRD custody on her way to the Pleasanton facility. Along the way she meets Paul and Carrie, two non-infected humans who were rounded up in San Francisco, become Sal’s gen-pop housemates in the quarantine zone. Sal later uses Carrie to escape once again from the facility. After a car-chase and a run in with some sleepwalkers, the girls and their new chimera child, make their way to Dr. Cale’s bowling alley laboratory. Reunited with Dr. Cale, Nathan, Adam and Fishy – things seem quite peaceful. However, Sherman manages to locate them and capture Dr. Cale and her team. Sal and Fishy, and a few other supporting characters manage to avoid capture and decide to head to USAMIIRD to team up and take down Sherman. They also want Joyce – who might be a good match for Tansy who is in organ failure. These events lead up to the quick, but action packed conclusion of Parasitology.

One thing I’ve really loved about this series is the ambiguity in determining a true “bad guy”. Each major player has done something truly horrible/outrageous/extreme, but has also tried to contribute to the solution that the “sleepwalking” sickness has caused. The USAMIIRD in an attempt to create a quarantine safe zone for survivors, creates a survivor prison with limited resources and overcrowding. Solider’s shoot the inhabitants for disobeying the rules and living conditions are poor. Sherman, who infected the water supply with Sal’s tapeworm eggs, is trying to create the perfect race. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Symbogen and Dr. Banks – who we don’t see much of in this final installment – can probably take most of the blame for adding high percentages of human DNA to the tapeworms. And Dr. Cale for creating the overall formula. Each side has done something to cause this epidemic, but is also trying to rectify the situation.

There were lots of frustrating moments in this book. And I read a majority of it on the commuter rail to and from work, so I couldn’t chuck my iPad into the closest wall. Chimera started very slowly, but it definitely set the scene in how USAMIIRD was handling the situation and how very little they knew about the other players. I mean they had no knowledge of Sherman and the chimera squad?! They seemed to be more focused on just Dr. Cale. Plot wise this felt so rushed, especially the last half of the book. Grant spent a lot of time forging a relationship between Carrie and Sal and their escape and then Carrie just kind of disappears at the end? Also whatever happened to Anna – did I miss that? Also really didn’t like how “easy” Col. Mitchell gave over Joyce.

One thing I was really happy about was the lack of Nathan. Definitely my least favorite character in the series. Nathan is a stagnant character – he has almost no reaction to anything throughout the whole series. Was really glad that there was minimal involvement with him in this final installment.
There is a lot of things I felt had the potential to be really great that just didn’t get developed in time. I also could of done without the first third of the book constantly reminding me of what I already read in the first two. More on Juniper and how she came to be would have been nice. When Sal returns to the bowling alley compound Dr. Cale briefly mentions the depression Adam experienced when Sal and Tansy went away and I think elaborating on this theory would have strengthened my understanding of Juniper and Sal’s attachment. But she almost glosses over it and moves on. The whole Tansy/Joyce debacle felt rushed too. All in all, the last third of the book especially felt so rushed – at one point I remember having seventy-five pages left and knowing that everything was going to be over far too quickly.This also led to the ending/epilogue being very anti-climatic. While there is no resolution on the sleepwalker/chimera front the theme of can we coexist is so strong – especially in the scenes between Col. Mitchel and Sal. For me this was a huge plus and made up for other areas that I felt were lacking.

Overall, Parasitology is a fascinating series filled with a little something for everyone. Grant manages to create a full world in this series, with (some) vibrant starring and supporting characters that push the plot forward with plenty of action. The series is certainly entertaining, and while not as outstanding as other’s I’ve read, it is still a series worth reading.

And I am really going to need a full version of Don’t Go Out Alone. Creepy children’s books for the win! ( )
  artemisreads | Jun 7, 2016 |
Lacking in that Wow factor that Grant's initial series books can have this is still a very decent conclusion to the trilogy, everything explained, and everybody accounted for.

There's not a vast amount of action - Sal does a great deal of running around between the camps - military, Sherman's chimeras and Shanti's scientists, all of which seem overly eager to accept her, and also overly easy to escape from. Along the way she finally comes to terms with what she is, and who she isn't. And hence who she does really care about, and the side she must choose to do everything she can to save.

Enjoyable and interesting. ( )
1 vote reading_fox | Apr 21, 2016 |
Sal is trapped at USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases) where her father is convinced that Sal will help them cure her comatose sister and consent to having the tapeworm in her brain removed. He is still under the delusion that Sally can somehow still come. Sal keeps this hope alive because it's the only way she can keep existing for the moment. Meanwhile, Dr. Cale is trying to find a solution for all the tapeworm eggs living in the tap water and Sherman, the man who put them there, is lamenting the effect of what he's done. The tapeworm eggs effect everyone: chimera, human, and sleepwalker alike. It's simply acting as a poison except for the lucky very few who become chimera. Will Sherman succeed in replacing the human race? What will happen to Sal and her family?

Chimera is the last book in the Parasitology series and picks up right where the last one left off. Sal has gone through quite the transformation over all of the books. Now, Sal is solid in her understanding of and confidence in herself as a chimera. The beginning of the book has Sal trapped in a refugee camp with the general populace, crowded with at least ten people in each room. She goes through a period of depression, where she just languishes and doesn't do much. Then she realizes that she's gotten out of worse and formulates a plan to get out. It's a crazy, not very well thought out plan, but it works. Sal plays on people's assumptions of her and puts on different personas when necessary to make them underestimate her, using half truths and rationalizations to give her performance more veracity. No one can shake Sal's understanding of herself and it's her biggest strength. Everything she does is for the benefit of her family. She deeply cares for humans, chimera, and sleepwalkers alike, but when the priorities get right down to it, she isn't afraid to hurt or stop whoever is hurting those closest to her. Sal's compassion impressed me. It's hard to feel that for people who aren't sentient or aware, but she recognizes their relation to her and ultimately wishes they could be left alone. I like her ability to feel yet she doesn't let it compromise the safety of those around her.

All the characters add to the world and bring along their own flaws and rationales. Fishy, for instance, is convinced he's living in a video game world, complete with cut scenes, restarts, player characters, and everything else. His delusion isn't as strong as it used be and the reality where his wife and child are dead shows through sometimes. Sherman is a classic abuser that blames all of his shortcomings and mistakes on his victims. Sal forced him to take samples from her and dump all the eggs into the water supply. It's not his fault that it didn't have the desired effect. He also has a completely different view of Sal, similar to how she was in the first book but weaker and more malleable. The few passages from his perspective were chilling. It fascinated me how his mental gymnastics justified his awful behavior. Although he hates the humans for mistreating chimera, he does the same thing to humans. In contrast, Sal's group for the most part has their own code of ethics that preserves both chimera and human life whenever possible.

Juniper is a brand new character and chimera because she is the product of multiple worms invading and one coming out on top inside a small girl. The phenomenon is even rarer than the production of regular chimera. Sal immediately protects her and treats her like her child because that worm was created from Sal. Juniper doesn't have a huge role in the books and has to learn everything about being human, but Sal finally understands a mother's perspective. Her experience lets her understand Dr. Cale and Sally's mother better after experiencing the emotions and instincts involved. Dr. Cale is one of my favorite characters because she may be a woman and a mother, but emotions are very low on her list of motivators. She loves all of her children and she takes care of them, but logic and rationality are higher priorities to her. Her experience also pointed out sexism in her field like how she went into hiding because her male colleague lied and opposed her. Few would side with Dr. Cale if any, so she decided to take herself out of the equation instead. This installment gave me a much better understanding than before when she just seemed cold and callous.

The plot twists and turns and I had no idea where it would end up. Some of it seemed a little convenient, but other things are our of Sal's control and don't go quite how she would like. It's a satisfying end to a unique series and doesn't seem too outlandish. I would love to see other stories set within the world. Mira Grant is the pen name of Seanan McGuire and I will read everything she writes. Her writing always sucks me into whatever world she made and keeps me there until I finish and crave the next book. ( )
  titania86 | Feb 23, 2016 |
Third and last in Grant’s Parasitology trilogy. We’ve moved past most of the zombie-like features here, because Sal spends most of her time dealing with humans or other chimeras like her, who’ve integrated their tapeworms with their human host bodies. Grant’s skills at generating dramatic situations are on display here, as are her most characteristic habits/flaws—particularly that all the characters sound basically the same and use a lot of repetitive sentence structures/repeated phrases. Plus everybody keeps quoting a made-up children’s book in ways that just got super annoying, enough so that I agreed with the bad guy’s mockery. Anyhow, civilization is in full collapse by this book, and Sal is trying to navigate among the US Army, the evil chimera who’s trying to replace humanity, and the research team (including her human lover) trying to find a way to allow humans and tapeworms to coexist. With a bit of lampshading of her improbable importance, Sal does her best to protect her chimerical family. ( )
  rivkat | Jan 3, 2016 |
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This book is dedicated to Theodora Hope Buchanan.

You saved me in Montreal. Someday I'll return the favor. But probably not in Montreal.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316381039, Hardcover)

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?


For more from Mira Grant, check out:


Newsflesh Short Fiction
Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell
Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:44:13 -0400)

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.… (more)

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