I became interested in this book because I had heard of the video game of the same name. I never played the video game but I had a general idea of what it was about. For those of you who, like me, have also heard of the video game, I’ll just tell you now that the game is based off of the book, but the plots are very, very different. As different as they are, the book is pretty good, in my opinion.
In Parasite Eve, a woman named Kiyomi dies in an automobile accident. Her husband, a mitochondria researcher, is absolutely devastated by this and in his grief, convinces his surgeon friend to remove Kiyomi’s liver and give it to him, which he then takes to study in his lab. Meanwhile, Kiyomi’s kidneys are donated to a fourteen year old girl in dire need of them. Unbeknownst to everyone, Kiyomi’s mitochondria have their own consciousness, dubbed Eve. Eve has been waiting millenia for the perfect opportunity to take over her host and give birth to the ultimate being.
The plot right there sounds like one of the most interesting and unique things I’ve read in a long time. Having finished the book now, I definitely found it very fun to read although there were some parts where I thought, “Well, that’s a little ridiculous, isn’t it?” Still, it’s very, very good!
When I first began reading this book, I found the first half rather slow-moving. It wasn’t exactly boring — I was obviously intrigued enough to continue — but because it was so “mysterious” in the beginning, I didn’t really understand where the plot was going. Not to mention there is a lot of technical jargon in the book to explain mitochondria and ATP energy and whatnot, so at times it feels like you’re reading a science textbook of some sort. I think having a basic understanding of high school biology is crucial to understanding this book. Without it, the book probably won’t be as enjoyable.
The second half of the book picks up since it becomes more clear how some of the characters are connected, and just who Eve is and what her purpose is. My interest levels definitely perked up much higher reading the second half and I found I couldn’t quite put it down. I don’t normally read horror novels of any kind, but I think Parasite Eve is really enjoyable even for people like me who aren’t huge horror fans. The story isn’t really scary or anything, and it doesn’t try to gross me out — but it is pretty good at successfully creeping me out! Especially the parts where Eve’s consciousness is revealed to the characters and they start flipping out over what is happening. The characters aren’t particularly sharply drawn or anything, they were a bit plain, if that makes any sense, but I think they were all easy to be sympathetic for. I definitely rooted for them to ‘win’.
It was slow to start, but by the end, it was clear to me that Parasite Eve is a wholly unique book and was a great read, although do be warned that it can get into very technical spiels about mitochondria at times. Without some understanding of cell biology, the reader may get completely lost at those parts. Still, the story is very memorable and I definitely recommend it to any whose interest is perked.