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Parasites is a YA science fiction, solarpunk exploration novel that takes place at the end of the universe, just as it slowly starts to contract in the ‘big crunch’. On the planet Lyra, humans evolved late, on a resource-poor world, in a resource-poor solar system. The Lyrans master space flight, only to discover that their nearest worlds have also been stripped of resources. The population begins to decline, until a scientist discovers a technology allowing people and vehicles to travel through ‘thinnings’ – patches of space linking universes.

Kael and Alessia are explorers, charting where the thinnings go and bringing valuable resources back to Lyra, trying desperately to extend the lifespan of their home world. Alessia’s father, Ben, set out two years ago to uncover another species’ reference to a ‘solution’ to the big crunch problem – but never returned. A chance discovery leads Kael and Alessia to a clue, prompting another expedition to see if they can avoid the mistakes of the past and help to unravel the mystery.

Kael, Alessia and their gruff bodyguard Basteel retrace Ben’s steps, seeking closure for Alessia, a solution for Lyra and together begin a voyage through wild, weird and wonderful planets.

315 pages, Kindle Edition

Published October 1, 2019

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About the author

Matthew Samuels

5 books11 followers
I'm Matthew Samuels, a science fiction and fantasy writer based in London, UK. I'm the author of Parasites and Dusk, solarpunk / hopepunk science fiction exploration novels and Small Places, an urban fantasy novel.

I'm currently working on the sequel to Small Places and another urban fantasy title.

I enjoy reading, gaming, walking and quiet.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for WS_BOOKCLUB.
332 reviews11 followers
March 22, 2020
Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is available now.

When it comes to sci-fi writing, I’m pretty picky. It’s very easy for me to lose interest, or just give up because I get confused by the “sciencey stuff” (don’t mind me, I’m just over here making up new phrases). There was never any danger of that with Parasites, however. It was a unique book and kept me entertained from beginning to end.

I think the biggest strength the author displayed in this book was the world (worlds) building. It was excellent. He managed to somehow make things utterly alien, while keeping it believable and with enough of a grounding in reality that it made sense. I was never bored by overly-complicated scientific mumbo-jumbo: even the explanations were easy to understand, without speaking down to the reader.

All of the characters were enjoyable, although Basteel (the bodyguard/father figure) was by far my favorite. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I can’t stand overly dramatic love stories, and this book didn’t have any. It was fabulous. The relationships were important, but they were never over the top, or melodramatic. The interactions between the characters was based more on friendship and respect, than on the gushy stuff (ha!).

Matthew Samuels wrote with confidence and skill. Parasites is an excellent addition to the science fiction genre, and one I suggest picking up.
Profile Image for Natyreadsbooks.
55 reviews
December 11, 2019
If you’re looking for a sci-fi book with awesome characters and a great adventure, look no further. This book is jam packed with everything you’re looking for. I loved all the characters except one but I will not name him since it can be considered a spoiler. The science was such an interesting aspect to this story, the author did a great job in making everything believable and what I mean by this is we as humans can possibly overcome technological advances sometime in the future. The creatures the characters faced throughout their travels were so unique and as I read, I can picture them entirely in my head (I really enjoy when a book can make me do this). There was even a part in the story that had me shed some tears (do not be surprised Matthew, I am a sensitive person and I cry for absolutely anything). I definitely recommend this book, I gave it 5 stars and I would not mind if this becomes a series. Here is my full review https://natyreadsbooks.wordpress.com/... Enjoy!
Profile Image for Night.
71 reviews13 followers
March 15, 2020
A huge thank you to the author for providing a copy with a lovely thank you note!

What a trip!

This story is perfect for sci-fi fans and I will recommend it to them. We are introduced to likeable and smart characters that are self sufficient and mature which means there’s no time for silly romances or fights for drama sake.
The world(s) are well thought through so the author does not leave you to fill in the gaps instead describes everything allowing you to sink into their world which is important for sci-fi. It’s especially impressive since this is a self published novel.

As a person who focuses more on characters and dialogue I think it would be worth sometimes letting the characters speak and letting us learn the story through them or situations instead of telling us through descriptions. But this is me and I know readers who are the opposite and will love it the way it is and be grateful for it.

Definitely an author worth a follow!

Thank you again for letting me read Parasites.
Profile Image for Nadja Petković.
9 reviews3 followers
March 3, 2020
First of all, I want to thank the author for sending me a free copy of his book in exchange for an honest review, so here it is! Also, I was so surprised when I opened the package and found the card from the author, wishing me a happy reading, which was so nice and thoughtful. It really made me want to read Parasites even more.
This book was really, really good! And that's coming from a person that usually don't read sci-fi. It's just not my genre. But I was intrigued by the title, and honestly just wanted to dive into this book to see what it was all about! There's a rich diversity of the worlds that our main characters are exploring, there are different species and creatures, and all the characters feel real and pretty relatable.
The world building is great and so are the descriptions of the places, first of all being the planet Lyra where the story of Alessia and Kael begins.
In the first half of the book, we see their daily lives and their jobs, we get to know the whole situation on Lyra and how Alessia and Kael decided to go on their mission, and what they required for it.
The second half is where we discover the other worlds, all of them being different and with different inhabitants, climate, organisms. I really enjoyed the character interaction, and especially the dynamic between Alessia and Kael, and later between Slyph and Alessia.
This is a great adventure as well, one amazing journey to discover what really happened with Alessia's father and his crew and to find a solution for their dying planet. For a debut novel - I simply have to say I'm impressed!
There's a lot of things to learn about, all the technology and machines, vehicles used to travel between worlds. If you're looking for a completely new science fiction adventure and likeable characters, story of survival and hope, dreams and friendship - this is just the right book for you!
Profile Image for Darran Handshaw.
Author 3 books80 followers
March 21, 2020
I found Parasites when I put out a tweet about whether any other authors had a book about an engineer in a ruined city. And man, was I not disappointed when Samuels tweeted back at me and I found a new, great book to read.

Parasites follows the adventures of a pair of explorers that drive a special hover car through dimensional rifts called thinnings. The premise is highly original and it reminded me a bit of Stargate or Sliders (which really took me back to when I waa younger). The explorers are on the hunt for useful resources to help their home planet, Lyra, which is running out of resources itself.

The author's imagination was one of the best parts of the book as he crafted a dozen different worlds with strange creatures, formations, weather patterns, peoples, and even alternate physics (or sufficiently advanced tech such that it was indistinguishable from magic). Each place held secrets and mystery to be uncovered by our explorers. The book ends up leaving many open questions about the various locales, but that is okay, because the main questline of the story demands that they press through many of the strange places, just trying to stay alive. Thus, the remaining mystery is all part of the adventure. It reminded me a lot of Zelazny's Damnation Alley, where they are scrambling from one danger to the next just trying to survive — often in over their heads.

Another aspect of the book I liked was the concentration on science and engineering skills throughout the story. Kael and Slyph are engineers and Alessia is a botanist and medical expert. These skills play more of a role than combat throughout much of the story, which is refreshing.

The editing was also done very well and is up to par with many of the big traditional publishing houses.

If there is one criticism I have, it is about the character Tam. He appears to mostly serve as a foil to make arrogant Slyph a bit easier to like, but I think her character could've earned respect on her own. I would've preferred he have some sort of redeemable quality or instead have his space on the car used by Qira or Wyl, who were very interesting. Maybe he'll play a role in a sequel though.

Oh, and one more thing: it caught me off guard that the author uses third person present tense. I find that perspective to be jarring for some reason, but Samuels pulled it (pulls it? — see what I did there?) off well and I soon forgot all about the tense. Don't let it stop you from reading it, if it isn't your favorite perspective of storytelling.

In summary, Parasites is an enjoyable read with a fascinating premise that I hope to return to again one day (future books in the universe?). It also tells a hopeful story about competent characters trying to improve their world. In my opinion, we need way more of that these days. Write on!
Profile Image for Traveling Cloak.
276 reviews39 followers
November 7, 2019
On the planet Lyra, resources are scarce - forcing the humans that live there to scavenge other worlds. Like parasites. They can travel to different universes through gates call "thinnings", but they find resources are scarce everywhere forcing Lyran explorers on missions that get more dangerous each time to push the boundaries and find what they need to survive. Alessia and Kael are two of those explorers, but when they find something in another that has the potential to be immensely invaluable to their Lyran counterparts they are asked to pursue further. They know it is a dangerous mission, but the idea of adventure and helping their planet draw them to the cause.

This was a really good book, expertly written by author Matthew Samuels. I like the characters a lot; Alessia and Kael are very professional on missions, but their trust and friendship shine through the whole way. The other crew members are great, too. Basteel is a cool, father-type bodyguard, Slyph plays the role of the anti-social genius, and then there is the skiddish Tam. Not to mention the fun alien-types they meet along the way.

The premise of the story really drives this book. When you set it up so that your characters can travel to other, unexplored universes it pretty much leaves the author with a blank slate to do whatever they want. And this author takes advantage of that fact, creating unique worlds rich with alien species and different features. One of the best things about this book is the fact that there was not too much explaining. Many Sci-Fi writers fall into the trap of wanting to write these super-long explanations describing their world. Matthew Samuels does not take that route, instead working the details into the story.

My only criticism is the fact that the story is so interesting in some places that I forgot the point of the story at times. I would be reading about an encounter in another world and think, "what are they hoping to accomplish on this mission?" I think the author could have worked a few more reminders into the story. Near the end of the book Alessia says, "Remind me why we did again?", echoing my thoughts.

Overall, this story was a light read and fun adventure. I recommend it for Sci-Fi and Fantasy readers.
Profile Image for Ollie Bowdoin.
161 reviews39 followers
March 25, 2020
As I was starting out my blog, and not having much of a plan on where it was going to go, I got the attention of the writer through Twitter, who was looking for a few reviewers.  I was stoked that he was willing to mail me a physical copy of his book for an honest review. (Stoked is a major understatement, pretty sure I told everyone I knew).

It’s been a number of months since I had initially received Parasites. I guess the timing was just never right for me to jump in. I finally made the plunge though, about 2 weeks ago (did not have much time to read), and it ended up flying by. I really enjoyed the experience of travelling from world to world, with the smallest hope our travellers would find something that might change the dire circumstances of their times. The setting was imaginitive, believable, original and complete.

The story is set who knows how many years in the future. The overriding dilemma and what drives our MC’s is the cooling of the sun as a result of the nearing “Big Crunch” (opposite of the Big Bang), so it’s a ways down the road, to put it very mildly… Thousands of years? Millions of years? Probably the latter. Anywho, the MC’s are scavengers by trade on a planet called Lyra. Their job is travelling to other worlds via a “thinning”, which allows them to visit and scavenge other worlds. In some cases, it’s a planet with no traces of human or alien city’s and home to nothing but the naturally evolved plant and animal life, in some cases, they have abandoned city’s to look for useful tech and resources.

The story really gets exciting when they take on a job that would have them travelling through multiple worlds and their thinnings, past the limits of their current maps, to solve a mystery or two, and hopefully, hopefully give them some hope for finding a solution to being wiped out by the coming final days of the universe.

By the way, did I forget to mention that the thinnings don’t just allow them to travel to other planets and space stations in their universe, but transports them to alternative, or possibly parallel locations. I don’t want to be a big spoiler but as you can see, theres a lot of good scifi ideas brewing and keeping this story interesting.

Bit of a spoiler up ahead!!!!!!

As the mission proceeds, events escalate with each new world. They have a run in with partially organic clockwork soldiers, in a massive ship that completely ignores the known space-time laws of reality. It is filled with at least 3 intelligent species who have been at war for a ridiculous amount of time, INSIDE the ship.

Since I am just writing a review and not the book, I will layoff telling you about what happens from there and if they ever make it back to Lyra, so I will leave you with this:

The tension grows, and the unexpected ensnares. But the characters, including the ones I did not even mention, kept me in their world and just really pulled me in, not letting go until the final page. I love my scifi, and it was a relief to get so much enjoyment from an indie SF book. Hopefully Matthew Samuels catches the eye of a publisher, and helps him to continue writing for years to come.
Profile Image for Alex.
120 reviews24 followers
March 17, 2020
I am obliged to point out I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review, but the score was in no way influenced by this.

I took a while just thinking how to properly describe the sub-genre of sci-fi that I feel Parasites sits in. Solarpunk is probably the closest – despite having a slight dystopian vibe in parts, the society and many aspects of the world are a future many would aspire to live in. Except the planet is dying, as are it’s people, with a dangerous lack of resources adding a layer of dystopia over the hopeful optimism of Solarpunk. This gives the setting quite a unique premise – there is amazing technology available that we could only dream of using, yet resources are so scarce that expeditions are set up simply to find new ways of generating them.

We start on our protagonists’ home planet of Lyra, with the main characters tasked with charting other universes and planets in the hope of a solution – even finding seeds they can grow into vegetables in the radioactive soil back in their home city of Vega is a worthwhile venture. I was tempted to therefore run a tagline of Vegans start to run out of plants but I think that my childish humour could do a disservice to the story.

The story, then. The narrative is written in the present tense. Having not read a story from this perspective since I can remember, it immediately felt a little alien to me (pun not intended). I even questioned whether this would prevent the immersion I hoped to feel. Fortunately, my misgivings were misguided and this actually added to the feeling of being in the middle of the action and I can genuinely say I really didn’t consciously notice it after the first few pages. Samuels has a brilliant sense of adventure, imagination and creativity that is prevalent through the whole story. Through his imagination he is able to engage the reader’s interest, to the extent that even when the story at times does drift off a linear path and you begin to forget what it is the characters are trying to do, the sense of discovery and adventure always keeps you turning the page.

Perhaps this is why I felt in very small parts the story wasn’t quite moving quickly enough. It was in actual fact probably moving at a reasonable pace, I just wanted to get back to first contact, discovering other alien races and planets because those parts were just so good. I was therefore willing the story to move on quickly in any of the more ‘downtime’ type scenarios – fixing the vehicle and the characters problem solving between themselves, or discussing what had happened in the previous scene for example. For readers who do prefer hard science fiction, or detailed and realistic explanations of how everything works (and could work in the real world) this book may not be for you. You do have to accept that some technology or way the universe functions just works whether particularly plausible or without in depth analysis. For me, being in a mood for care-free adventure that was easy to read and just enjoy the ride, this satisfied what I was looking for.

Despite being impatient for the action and discovery parts of the story, I enjoyed the character interactions and they were all well written. I’d say my favourite character was Basteel – I always felt safe when he was involved! I enjoyed his honest, hopeful but realistic approach and felt his presence was important for the balance of the other characters, and that the reassurance of his experience in difficult situations kept the rest of the crew as calm as possible. We have Sylph who is probably the most interesting of the characters – I did think she was sometimes able to solve everything perhaps just a little too easily for her age, though it is really driven into the reader that she is a prodigy and one of a kind analytical mind. The two main characters, Alessia and Kael are perfectly likeable and certainly played their part in the dynamic of the crew. I’d say they’re not quite as intriguing to me personally as Basteel or Sylph but can hold their own together without the other characters. I think this may be because Basteel and Sylph have more specialist roles, although Alessia makes a pretty awesome doctor/medic judging by one particular scene! I’d personally be really interested in reading a novella or short story featuring Basteel and Caroline (his absent combat partner) on previous missions, where there’d be a lot of scope for worldbuilding, further character development or just plain simple fun and adventure.

As mentioned, where this book really excels is in the adventure and discovery aspect. Every new planet and organism encountered is well thought out, inventive and fun. It’s easy to share the characters’ foreboding, interest and desire to investigate further. You can really feel the uncomfortable, bleak isolation of the Crystal Planet and the eeriness of first entry to Space Station 728, with each planet having a very different vibe. This is something that holds endless possibilities for a series should Samuels wish to write a sequel, which would work with the current cast of characters, any of them picked out from the group or even in fact a new cast of characters set in the same world. The story is left in a place where it works as a standalone or could have these possibilities and more for a series, definitely. If there is a sequel I’d love it to go a bit deeper and explore the origins of life or the history of some of the planets or species in the universe created here. There’s certainly potential for more world (universes?) building and either a deeper approach or simply another fun adventure. Many books have a great start introducing everything, and a fast paced finish when the author knew where the journey would end, with stagnation in the middle. One of this book’s strengths is that it doesn’t fall into this trap and it keeps you engaged throughout the story. You don’t feel like you are just reading waiting for something to happen at the end.

For a debut novel, independently published, I was seriously impressed with Parasites and would definitely read a follow on book. Matthew Samuels’ creative flair is certainly strong enough to drive a long career, this book feeling like it was written by an author with quite a back catalogue already published.
31 reviews3 followers
June 4, 2020
EDIT 15.4.2020

A new edition of "Parasites" has been published where the editorial issues and ableist language I mention in the review below have been addressed. The rating has been bumped up from 3.5 stars to 4/5 stars, which translates to "I really liked it" on the GoodRead's scale.


"Parasites" is about two space explorers, Alessia and Kael. The pair live together and travel together on missions, searching for resources for their people in other dimensions. One day they stumble upon an abandoned civilization where they learn that its earlier inhabitants had left for a place that promised a "solution". In hopes of finding a way to solve their home planet Lyra's resource problem, the pair and their trusted friend and bodyguard, Basteel, set out on the dangerous journey to the given coordinates.

This story reads like an adventure, except it's in space. The crew jumps across dimensions, meeting and seeing all kinds of things. They have a clear goal, a destination to get to, but there are no deadlines looming over them, which makes for a more relaxed-pace in the story-telling.

The Lyrans live by a principle that they should be as efficient as possible and focus on bringing back resources. Nothing is wasted, not even to save crews that have gone missing and never returned from their travels. This thinking is ever-present in the story and the main characters live by it. Kael and Alessia have a close relationship, they live together, share their money and travel together, and they trust each other wholly. There's little friction between them. The other characters have stronger and bolder personalities than the two main characters and sometimes they clash with each other. The story isn't relationship-centric though, but focuses more on the settings and the world-building than the people doing the traveling through them. No light is shed on the main characters' shared past, which I found a little disappointing. I liked the dynamic between them and their bodyguard.

There are some editorial flaws to be found, among them periods missing at the end of paragraphs, often one-lines and some confusing paragraphs, where a dialogue line is combined with an action that isn't performed by the speaker. There's also some ableist language, such as the use of "crippled".

This is the first book in a series, but with a neat and "happy" ending (I say "happy" with quotations marks because it doesn't end with the heroes riding into the sunset or anything, but you don't have to worry about being left on a cliffhanger or mourning someone's death). As a reader you're left with a lot of questions though, maybe to be answered in later installations. I'm not the type of reader who enjoys unresolved mystery by the end of the story though, so the book didn't leave me all satisfied.

I enjoyed the story, but there are some faults that left me a little uncertain about how to rate this book. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5, because just saying "I liked it" doesn't really cover my feelings for it, but I don't feel satisfied enough after closing the book to give it a full 4 stars. I would, however, gladly pick up a sequel to this story. I'm rating it 4 stars on GoodRead's scale because they don't allow halves. I'm a strict reviewer and my current rating is 3.19 across 177 books for comparison.

The formatting of the paperback novel is different from standard fiction formatting with spacing between paragraphs. Once I started reading though, I realized I really liked the format and it's easier to remember where you are on the page. The novel is large and thick, but of great quality and the cover is gorgeous.

I received a free physical reviewer's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm leaving this review because I want to do so. If you want to see how I've reviewed other ARCs, you can do so by going through my "reviewed" tag for comparison.
Profile Image for Cassidee Lanstra.
483 reviews51 followers
February 13, 2020
“I’m so sick of this. Sick of scavenging and proves and scouting and caution and harvesting. I don’t care that we’re amazing at it. I don’t care that we can just dampen down every part of our curiousity which make us human. I’m sick of just wandering around and taking what we can find. I’m sick of being parasites.”

I started this book this morning and I easily finished in a couple of hours. Parasites by Matthew Samuels is an easily devourable YA science fiction and space odyssey novel. Our home-world is Lyra, which is rapidly declining. Our main characters, Alessia and Kael are best friends that explore other worlds to scavenge objects, food, and other means to keep their home and people from crumbling at an even faster rate. Alessia sets out on a mission with Kael and their friend/bodyguard/father figure, Basteel, to find a solution to the imminent danger to their planet. It happens to be that this is the same mission her father was on when he disappeared.

What I loved most about this book was the friendship between Lessie and Kael. I think it makes it easier to face dangers over and over when you have someone to trust. Eventually, they acquire a good little group of trusted individuals that make their mission easier. Also, Alessia was conflicted about her feelings towards her father when he disappeared and I think Samuels was very wise in doing that. I think it made her more human and relatable. Sometimes people die and you have unresolved feelings or you feel bad about the conflicted feelings you had. Part of this story was about finding peace within herself after her father disappeared.

I think that this is an especially fabulous introduction to the majesty that is science fiction and solar punk for YA. I felt like I was learning new things while reading an entertaining story and this is the type of story that you feel smarter after reading. At the same time, it’s completely marketable to readers of all ages. If you’re looking for an indie author to support, give Samuels a try. You’ll hardly believe this is an independent publication. Thank you, Matthew for sending me this delightful story.
Profile Image for Genre Book Reviews.
33 reviews3 followers
February 19, 2020
I was pleasantly surprised when opening the package I received this book in to find a card enclosed within from the author thanking me for taking the time to read his book. Right away I was filled with a liking and respect for Mr. Matthew Samuels. I thought the cover art was very beautiful and loved feeling the book in my hands. It seems to have been printed on a heavier paper stock than usual and just feels sturdier and heavy in a good way. I loved the characters of Allesia and Kael, we are introduced to them at the start of the story and at first I thought they were brother and sister. When I realized they weren’t I figured they would have a romantic connection. While the both of them share a deep bond there is no romance between them. I like that, I thought them being attracted to each other would be a little cliche. Not saying the possibility wasn’t there for a relationship in the future, but for the time being they are all business.

I’m sometimes put off by science fiction stories that use hard science, if it’s too techy I find them hard to follow and feel stupid. But even though the technology used to travel through the “Thinnys” and the vehicle and hardware that is needed to survive in this world are very “hard science” it’s very well explained and at no time hard to understand. The worlds that are visited are very well described and feel real. I also found all the characters very relatable. I really enjoyed the story and look forward to a continuation. I believe fans of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Lost in Space will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Alex Jones.
673 reviews14 followers
October 24, 2019
Set on the planet ‘Lyra’ a planet woefully short of the resources needed to sustain the life residing upon it, this Young Adult targeted science fiction novel, tells the story in the main of Alessia and Kael, 2 explorers who traverse the universe through ‘thinnings’ in their ‘car’ going to distant worlds, scavenging for supplies likes Parasites...

They stumble upon a message, and set out to trace the footsteps of Alessia's father before her in hope this message is the saviour of Lyra ..

The first half of the book is paced well, it moves along setting the scene and building the story and universe.

Samuels is an author with an inquisitive and inventive mind as he set some beautiful and stunning planets and settings .

As the 2nd part of the story really ramps up, Samuels mind and creations come to the fore in a fast paced sci-fi thriller full of action and mystical aliens and worlds.

There is more to this story than spaceships and aliens, it's also a very touching story of friendship, empathy, and survival, showing inner strength when your back is against the wall and coming out on top. It's very feel good at times.

A great read by an author full of imagination, I would happily recommend to young adults and older readers, it’s a cracking piece of science fiction and I would happily read more by Matthew Samuels and hope to see more of Alessia and Kael, and Basteel of course!

4 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Profile Image for Steve Brock.
534 reviews48 followers
November 5, 2019
This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November, 2019, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet / Stevo's Nobel Ideas. You can find me at http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (https://www.amazon.com/shop/stevo4747), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Stevo4747), on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brocksteve/) or search for me on Google for many more reviews and recommendations.
Profile Image for Paperbacks.
292 reviews19 followers
April 11, 2020
I would like to extend my thanks first and foremost to Matthew Samuels for sending me a copy of Parasites for review, I truly appreciate the paperback copy and lovely accompanying note. Whilst I’ve certainly watched plenty of films around the concept of survival with a dying sun, this is the first book I’ve read and been introduced to a whole new genre in the term of Solar Punk. My thoughts were very much in a cinematic place which was added to by the use of 3rd person present tense which gave an almost screenplay feel to it.

Parasites mixes both character and story well, with a descriptive and captivating writing style that had me turning far more pages that I thought I had, so engrossed had I become when our characters began on their journey. The book is nicely spaced out sectioning each new journey with a little cliffhanger lead in to the new location. These locations really make the story, such imagination and creativity goes into each world, taking a nice amount of time to take into account the local fauna and flora, I particularly enjoyed the Crystal Planet and the idea behind it’s eco-system was great. The science throughout the book was well thought out and reasoned, from the car the travellers make their journey in, yes car – no cliched space travel here, to the layout of the space stations they pass through. Everything has a place and a purpose whose explanation is never bogged down with too much tech speak. I really enjoyed the first space station they reached and felt that the use of the symbiotic relationship between the plants and the travellers pretty genius. The one world I struggled with sadly was Carthusian, It’s again an amazing idea but there was just so much going on that it probably could do with it’s own origin story spin off. Hundreds of years of warring factions with religious and ideological backstory needed more than the few pages it was given and I did struggle to get my head round it all. It reminded me of the film The Cube with the way it moved which was nice as I really love that film.

Character wise we have a condensed cast, I enjoyed Kael and Alessia’s dynamic and it was actually a nice touch to not have them in a relationship, they work with perfect synchronicity until an element of chaos is introduced which needs time to adjust to. That adjustment is done thoughtfully and takes into account both sides well. I have to love Basteel though, he’s unshakeable and takes on each task with good humour and dedication, a real father figure of the piece I instantly warmed to him. I think I need to give the car a shout out as a character too, never failing and reliable and I’m glad it gets treated with the highest regard.

I found the ending a bit existential, but then why not given the subject matter. By that point it’s clear that the characters have run out of steam and the writing reflects that. I think on reflection it is an uplifting round off because it celebrates peoples limitations and that our best effort is good enough.
Profile Image for A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol).
1,955 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2021
Book source ~ Review copy. My review is honest and voluntary.

Kael and Alessia are from the planet Lyra. They’ve only ever known to conserve resources because they are scarce. When they develop space travel the Lyrans discover nearby planets are just as resource deprived as their own and of very little help. It takes a scientist discovering something called “thinnings” to give them hope. Thinnings are a means of traveling from one universe to another and the planets that are there. Sometimes they get lucky and find information and/or resources to use on their own planet. But in all their years of traveling they find no sentient life left on most of the planets they find. When Kael and Alessia find a clue to solving a major problem they are tasked to follow it, something that Alessia’s dad and crew tried two years before and never returned from. Will their fate be the same?

What a great space adventure this is! Completely alien, it still rings true for Earth. Lyrans are trying to scavenge other planets for resources because theirs is practically worthless. Many planets they discover are abandoned. Well, that’s never a good sign. Bringing back foodstuffs or other things that could be recycled is how Kael and Alessia make their money. It’s a dangerous job, but they are methodical and careful. That makes them one of the best teams around, but not always very profitable.

When they discover a clue on a frozen world, their leader gives them a grant to follow it. The thing is, well, Alessia’s dad and his crew, probably the best crew there ever was, set off to do the same thing two years previously and never returned. Kael and Alessia are apprehensive, but willing to try. They hire a bodyguard, Basteel, get as many supplies as they can safely carry, alter their car (technically spaceship), and upgrade their weapons then when all the lists are checked, double-checked, and triple-checked they take off.

The first couple of thinnings take them to places they’ve already been. One’s slightly dangerous and one that should not have been dangerous, but is? The space station they jump to has something very wrong with it and they have to see what that is. When they do, well. What the hell? Ok. So, this leg of the journey has proven to be very interesting. So they move on to a nice planet where there’s warehouses for explorers to restock, rest, and make repairs. Now it’s time to make the jump to the crystal planet that proved to be fatal (was it? who knows?) to Alessia’s dad and crew. They assume extreme danger and approach with as much caution as possible. Holy shit.

Each jump brings more things for them to overcome and one of them has folds in space and weird life forms that just make my brain hurt. It’s the only jump that I didn’t enjoy reading about. It is so confusing to me that even now, days later, I still don’t know what the fuck it’s all about. Anyway, that’s just a small disappointing blip in an otherwise fantastic tale of space adventuring. I love the characters, I love the world, and I love the plot. Except for that one jump to Carthusian and that’s just a personal thing of mine. I don’t do well with alternate universes, space folds/rifts, and stuff like that. My other slight complaint is the POV shifting tends to happen quickly. From one person and back again without warning. I got used to it, but it was a tad confusing at first. If you like your sci-fi filled with space travel, humor, danger, and excitement then I highly recommend you give Parasites a go.
Profile Image for Muskan Gupta.
117 reviews2 followers
June 2, 2020
🔅Parasites is a book which you can easily complete in few hours due to its gripping narration. It’s a wonderful YA science fiction. Beautiful journey of The mission to find a solution for the danger on their plant, the friendship, efforts, Finding peace with yourself, trust and love.
🔅Kudos to the authors imagination for creating dozen of great worlds and combining them into one piece with different patterns, formations, creatures, magic, physics etc.

🔅And The view of conflicted feelings, trust issue, the love in friendship discovery and adventure as a incredible combination.
🔅It is definitely a very fascinating read. The editing is very nicely done and the narration is very fine. I personally don’t prefer much sci-fi but this succeed to keep me hooked till the end. The cover is very thoughtful one which is relatable to the storyline.
🔅When I received the book, trust it was a happy dreamy moment to hold it in hands as it is soo beautiful. The print is very nice and thick Which is an addition to the beauty along with a sweet signed postcard to cherish with it.
🔅I had taken my own sweet time to read it as I was enjoying to wander so many different worlds altogether and doing adventures in them with the characters.
They have been very well crafted and hold the measured spice of connection.
🔅Everything plays it’s own role perfectly and keep us connected with the book.

Absolute recommendation to all the sci-fi readers.
Profile Image for Jord MiddleofNowhere.
109 reviews32 followers
May 27, 2022
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

When I first saw the title of Parasites, my mind immediately went to alien like horror. But this could not be farther from the truth. It is based on a society that goes through discovered portals called "thinnings" to discover what they can bring back to help their dying world to continue to exist until a solution can be found. In essence, they become the "parasites" of the universe. It follows a small group of characters as they go on a special mission to discover a possible long term solution.

This is a quick and fun read. The worlds that are introduced through this world are what really stand out to me. Each one was unique and different, making each discovery satisfying. I felt like the discovery was great and that it could be what we might have to do if we were looking for a solution to the end of our world.

The characters are individual, but we do not get a lot of information about the society where they come from, other than hints. I would have loved to know more of their history and how they ended up in the situation that we see them in. It is intriguing and leaves a lot for us to discover.

The technology is described in great detail, showing advancements in technology and such, without being over the top. I really enjoyed that the society that it focuses on might not be the most advanced in these universes.

I look forward to discovering more in this series and to find out where it is all headed. A great sci-fi debut.

Thank you for reading my review and I wish you the best of reading!!
Profile Image for Mark Everglade.
Author 9 books13 followers
August 9, 2020
Parasites is a solid read, and a great choice for both young people who like playing games like No Man's Sky, and adults with an interest in hard sci-fi and space exploration. The second half of the book really takes off in terms of creativity, the building of a complex plot, and the fantastical settings. The book reminds us that natural resources are easy to take for granted, a lesson just as relevant in today's world. I also think the book has appeal to fantasy fans towards the second half. I particularly enjoyed the cool alien species he created. Well done!

Profile Image for Barri.
5 reviews1 follower
December 2, 2020
Look forward to doing more exploring with Alessia and Kael. Hopefully though, a certain alien species won't play a large part in future adventures.
Profile Image for Kriti | Armed with A Book.
375 reviews143 followers
August 30, 2020
For the people on Lyra, the existence of thinnings make it possible to go to other planets without investing in space travel technology in the traditional sense. Taking advantage of these natural phenomenon that bend distances and work as tunnels between places that are not only far away but belong to different universes is a fascinating concept. I had never thought of that until I read Parasites.

Reading Experience:

Kael, Alessia and the rest of their crew are seasoned travelers and experts in what they do. Apart from the places that they traveled to and explored, it was interesting to learn about the kind of infrastructure that would need to be in place for making traveling through thinnings possible and reliable. This is world building at a new level and I felt that Matthew Samuels, the author, did an amazing job at it.

I loved how well thought out most of the stops on this journey were. I assumed that the thinnings would only be to planets but after learning that they can be anywhere – even old decaying space stations and moons – the possibilities are endless and the dangers of their exploration magnified. I loved the one space station that had other living species and their history!

Parasites presents a brilliant concept that I have not read before. Hopping between planets for scientific pursuit and intense problem solving in space - this was so much fun! I don't often say this but I wish it had been longer and allowed me to savour each of the planets on the way more. See full review on Armed with A Book as well as interview with the author.

Many thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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