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Bloody Shambles

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Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos by John Shade
Vladimir Nabokov, Brian Boyd
Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind
Under Stones
Bob Franklin
The Erotic Potential of My Wife
David Foenkinos, Yasmine Gaspard
A Corner of White
Jaclyn Moriarty
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell
Progress: 99 %
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Neil Gaiman
The Beetle
Richard Marsh
Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith
Parasite - Mira Grant Oh, Mira Grant. You've done it again. Wonderful premise, snappy dialogue, likeable characters.... and a sloppy "To Be Continued". Sigh. I don't mind trilogies but I do think that any book, whether it is part of a series or otherwise, should be able to stand alone on its own merits. There should be a full story arc with the story largely resolved at the end. This book, however, pretty much ends the same way the first two Newsflesh novels did - with a revelation and a "Stay Tuned For The Next Thrilling Instalment". This is such a blatantly cynical marketing ploy, that as a reader it's hard not to feel disrespected. If it were quite literally ANY other writer, I would have stopped reading her books long ago - and that's the really frustrating part. Her books are (usually) good enough that I keep coming back despite myself. I keep telling myself that the next book will be different, or that I'm probably getting the only kind of book I deserve anyway. The treat-her-mean-keep-her-keen approach only ever works for a while though, until either the standard of writing slips or the audience regains their sense of self-esteem. Please, Mira Grant. I'll try to be a better fan. Just stop hitting me.Literary abuse aside, the premise of the series is bursting with potential. Creepy, disgusting, NASTY potential. My favourite kind! In the future, human beings find themselves with ever-weakening immune systems due to their overly sterile environment. Genetically engineered tapeworms are developed which, when ingested, assist the human body to do everything- fight off infections, prevent allergies, regulate liver function - you name it. Having a tapeworm (the Intestinal Bodyguard TM) becomes essential to modern living. Everybody has one, and the richest people get the really awesome ones that do cool stuff like providing birth control and making you thin. Obviously a large multinational corporation owns the patent to this technology and makes a killing. And obviously they rush the product to market without properly testing it. And obviously the amoral CEO of the corporation is covering up some... irregularities with the science behind the tapeworms in the first place. And obviously this leads to tapeworms migrating into people's brains and turning them into complete meat puppets. Grant's science is actually pretty well supported by current scientific theory. Her premise is largely based on half a dozen early studies that have come out over the last couple of years, including this one on toxoplasma-gondii being a potential link between cat poo and mental illness: How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy But let's just step back for a minute and consider the true horror: TAPEWORMS. Getting into your BRAIN. Controlling you like a ZOMBIE. Come on! That premise alone is worth reading the book for. This is a good thing as it turns out, because the premise alone is pretty much all you're getting. Unfortunately the plot has holes big enough to drive a bus through, and all the major revelations are flagged well beforehand. At this point, I should make it clear that I'm reading an ARC copy, and perhaps the bugs will have been ironed out before the September release. I do think this book has all the key elements there, but it needs some finessing to make it work. As it stands there are continuity errors aplenty, with scenes referencing things that haven't happened yet, and characters seeming to forget the things they figured out earlier. There are just too many things that don't quite work logically, or which are unexplained, or which force you to stop and think... 'does that actually make sense?' My guess is that a bunch of scenes have been yanked out of this book, to be followed up later in the series. So again - bad marketing decisions spoiled what should have been a pretty decent novel.*FULL DISCLOSURE: I received an ARC of this for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**A PIECE OF ADVICE: Never, and I mean NEVER, look up "Tapeworms in Humans" on Google Images. I have a pretty strong stomach for these things, but holy crap! Those pictures are even worse than any image I already had in my head! If only I could scrape these pictures out of my brain.... blurgh... brains. :(