dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
Dira Sudis ([personal profile] dira) wrote2013-11-20 07:18 am

Writing this down so I don't have to send it all to Iulia in capslock text messages

So I finished reading Mira Grant's Parasite last night, and... it is my least favorite of all Seanan's works under either name. Be advised before you click the cut tag.

Around the point where the sleepwalkers started forming mobs and attacking people I began to have the very strong sensation that I was reading a rehash of Newsflesh, and that sensation did not leave me. To wit:
  • Zombies.
  • Vast conspiracy of silence to keep the media unaware of the zombies.
  • Vast conspiracy to keep the world unaware of the etiology of the zombies.
  • Lone obsessed morally-ambiguous woman scientist in a secret makeshift lab who knows the truth about the zombies.
  • Awful Parents. When we got to the whole Awful Dad sequence I think that was the most I got completely taken out of the book and was aware of it as a piece of the author's writing. "Wow, Seanan really has a thing about Awful Parents."
  • To stretch a point slightly, if Sal's a tapeworm and the tapeworms are Dr. Cale's children, then this is another brother/sister incest relationship.

    I also found Sal incredibly frustrating as a protagonist--it's not just that the whole book seems to be 500 pages of the protagonist finding out the premise of the book, it's that Sal doesn't do anything. I think that rescuing Beverly by calling her away from her owner is the only courageous unforced action Sal actually takes. It's the one time you see her know and understand something and act based on her own best understanding of a situation. She does also, four hundred pages later, act courageously to go steal information she doesn't know anything about or understand after she's been bullied into doing so by Tansy and, by extension, Dr. Cale. Everything else in the book is stuff that happens to her, and do not even tell me she made a choice to ~enter the broken doors~ because that was so manipulated and such a blind choice and also I am 1000% done with that twee-creepy Monsters Inc. fanfic children's book, STOP BEING A CENTRAL PLOT POINT. STOP RHYMING. JUST STOP.

    Relatedly, I suspect that Seanan finds Tansy a lot more entertaining than I do.

    I am in this position where Sal is sympathetic and understandable enough as a person that I feel bad about saying I don't love her, but that's the biggest reason I have for saying I love her as a character. She's someone I feel bad for. That's not a great relationship to have with a protagonist for 500 pages.

    Also I'm pretty sure the Adam-Tansy-Sherman timeline makes no sense, but I'm too annoyed by the book to actually go check the textev: I'm pretty sure Adam is introduced as two years old, Tansy as one and a half, but then Sherman, who was created to compare to Tansy, is from six months before Sal's accident, so he's ... six and a half?

    Also also the way Sal's dad's workplace is revealed as USAMRIID, and Sal's dad is revealed to be an Army Colonel, just felt like a weird pointless reveal of something that didn't need to be a reveal. It made me perceive him, and the family dynamics, very differently right at the moment where he became apparent as an Awful Parent, and it just didn't seem necessary. As someone who is constantly trying to write unnecessarily coy reveals which my betas then have to force me to just exposit normally, I get the impulse, but after reading this particular one I also get why my betas keep taking them away from me.

    Also seriously please stop with the twee rhyming children's book IT WAS A BETTER PLOT POINT ON SIX FEET UNDER AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO READ HALF OF IT BETWEEN CHAPTERS.
  • iulia: female Commander Shepard from Mass Effect 3, leaning against a wall and being sad (sad_shep)

    [personal profile] iulia 2013-11-20 02:29 pm (UTC)(link)

    I'm so glad you're done with it. I hadn't wanted to voice any of my frustrations while you were reading it, lest I color your perceptions, but now that you're done, we can talk about how Disappointed I was in this book.

    It's certainly my least favorite of Seanan/Mira's work.
    roguesgallery: (Default)

    [personal profile] roguesgallery 2013-11-20 02:45 pm (UTC)(link)
    I can't handle the BIG REVEAL (that has been telegraphed the whole book) being the STUNNING REVELATION at the end. Why would this company be so interested in Sal otherwise? Why would Dr. Cale? Why would the sleepwalkers? I understand Sal wouldn't want to put the pieces together but to write as if the reader hasn't and should be surprised by the TWIST ENDING is just insulting.

    As you can tell I was left very frustrated by this book.
    reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

    [personal profile] reginagiraffe 2013-11-20 02:46 pm (UTC)(link)
    Wow, that's dissappointing. I have it on reserve at the library but I was considering putting it on my Christmas list. ... I may have to read it first to see whether it's worth buying to keep my completist soul happy.
    amberfox: picture from the Order of Hermes tradition book for Mage: The Awakening, subgroup House Shaea (Default)

    [personal profile] amberfox 2013-11-21 05:11 am (UTC)(link)
    It's 500 pages, but it's a pretty quick read (IME), and you'll probably make a decision within the first 100 pages. Give it at least 50 if you can so the plot can try to develop.
    were_duck: Natasha making thoughtful/crafty face, cellphone cradled between her hear and shoulder (Natasha Phone)

    [personal profile] were_duck 2013-11-20 04:15 pm (UTC)(link)
    Blergh, this confirms my impression from the first page that this book was probably not going to be for me. <3
    rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)

    [personal profile] rivkat 2013-11-20 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
    I liked it more than you did but could not agree more about the rhyming children's book. Argh!
    amberfox: picture from the Order of Hermes tradition book for Mage: The Awakening, subgroup House Shaea (Default)

    [personal profile] amberfox 2013-11-21 05:05 am (UTC)(link)
    I like the song she was reworking, so the book thing both worked for me and was annoying for the changes.
    taliahale: (Default)

    [personal profile] taliahale 2013-11-21 04:03 am (UTC)(link)
    Aaaand that goes back out of my queue of library reads. I was pretty hesitant anyway when a friend with similar taste mentioned it was zir least favorite of Seanan/Mira's work. Normally I would've taken ze at zir word, but I tentatively enjoyed the Newsflesh trilogy, whereas Lex hated the last book with a fiery passion.

    Anyway, anyone have recs for something a little more Feed and a little less Parasite?
    Edited 2013-11-21 04:04 (UTC)
    reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

    [personal profile] reginagiraffe 2014-01-13 08:16 pm (UTC)(link)
    Okay, now that we've got the whole 'Sal is a tapeworm' "shocker" out of the way, do you suppose book 2 will be any better?