Review: Parasite (Vertex #2) by Soren Summers

It’s been one hundred and forty-five days since the world ended. Paragon has swept through the city of Pleasance like a reaper’s scythe. Now the dead walk the earth, seeking the flesh of the living. Still Jarod Samuels refuses to die.

As a hunter, Jarod safeguards the Hive, the ruined mall he calls home. He exterminates zombies to protect the city’s last few survivors, and to keep Gabriel Anderson unharmed, their lives intertwined now more than ever.

But in a city ravaged by Vertex’s corruption, there’s no telling what dangers each day will bring, whether the threats within the Hive’s walls might be deadlier than those without – or whether monsters from the past still lurk and linger in the city’s shadows.​

This romantic horror story is approximately 69,000 words in length.

Dear Soren Summers,

You did it again. I am not sure if I should side-eye you for making me read zombies or thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. I don’t do zombies and yet I was surrounded by them because I couldn’t get enough of Jarod and Gabriel. And there was the other stuff, just the daily stuff that happens within these 20 days and all that has been declared as a civilization that is now the Hive. There was so much I had to know and though you tossed Tyler in there, I will forgive you because you also tossed in Danny.

Yeah, you are some sort of wizard or just a brilliant and talented author because you made me, the zombie loather, read a book full of zombies.

Also, that end? Did you hear me yell when I read it? Well done.

Still a fan but now with possible side-eye while I wait for the next book,


This ain’t your normal zombie story…

Before this all happened, Jarod didn’t think that the dead would be able to walk. Hell, he didn’t think people could bleed to death and come back to life. He didn’t think people could move things with their minds.

It’s been 145 days since we left Jarod and Gabriel fleeing the destruction of Vertex and the thing Robbie had turned into. 145 days of them finding the North Pleasance Mall aka the Hive, where they have created an apartment out a storefront and 145 days of them living this budding dystopian world full of zombies and trying to do what Jarod promised Gabriel, not to die.

Getting back to this world took a bit of time for me. I’ll be honest and admit that zombies leave me cold like a naked man in security but I knew I had to read this. I’ve always said I can read anything if the author is good enough and well, Summers is damn talented because he dragged my ginger ass through the mess that Paragon has created and even meet new folks along the way. The new folks were amazing and annoying at the same time… Lord, Tyler tried my patience and for most of the book, I wanted to kick him in the nards. I knew he would have a story and I just didn’t want to like him. I needed not to like him. Dammit.

But then we get Danny and Danny is all sorts of great and this character who pulled at my heartstrings the moment I met him. It’s not the pull of fluff, it’s the pull of all this young man could have been if Vertex could control their whacked experiments and ultimate destruction of mankind. You know?

The best part, perhaps the only good part of being in this hellhole is knowing he’ll wake up next to Gabriel every day, without fail. That’s all Jarod wants now. It’s all he can hope for.

I know, I am getting off on tangents already but this book, it’s one for me that really doesn’t show me how completely brilliant it is until I sit back and take it all in when I am finished. It’s like a Monet you know? Up close it’s a total mess but when you take a few steps back to look at the whole picture, it’s gorgeous. For me that is the best way I can describe this book because it was frustrating to read with the lack of romance between Gabriel and Jarod I was jonseing for because I am a hopeless romantic. But then again, zombies and fucking don’t really go together and once I chilled, I was fine. We do get swoony moments between the couple as they navigate their new relationship in this crazy world they live in and the jealousy added a good amount of angst. The intimate moments between Jarod and Gabriel were perfect and honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I mean, I could because I am greedy but it was enough for this book.

Now while it took me longer to read it than book one, trust me when I say it’s no less brilliant. Goodness. This was amazing.

So, Jarod and Gabriel are living at the Hive and following the new rules that go along with it. Everyone has a job and the couple are hunters who go out and kill the zombies. They go out with Tyler Torres who as I mentioned is an asshole but he is one of those redeemable assholes that happen to be favorites of mine. The hunting provided a lot of action when the men come across clusters of zombies but folks, these are not your run of the mill zombies. These are creature made by Vertex and they are smart because they were created by Paragon, the regeneration drug. I won’t even get into the complexity of these zombies; how they were created, what they can do and who they come after once they are dead and then undead. It’s freaking trippy as hell but so well thought out and just brilliant that there is no way I could paraphrase it all.

But you know how it started.

Yeah, that’s another thing. Folks at the Hive don’t know that Jarod and Gabriel used to wear gray shirts with the Vertex logo on them. They don’t know that they watched Robbie die and them come back as a gurgling mess to then regenerate before their eyes and kill Nessa. They don’t know that the escaped Vertex as the staff was being torn apart by Robbie’s hunger and turning them all into zombies. The only ones who know are Jarod and Gabriel until Esther decides to make Jarod talk. OMG! Do not get me started on Esther because the shit that happened at the end? WTF was that and also how cool was that? The author has thrown in some new ideas with Ester that blew my mind and made me grin. I love her… all of her.

Jarod and Gabriel may have escaped Vertex but that doesn’t mean they have left it behind. When Jarod’s old boss comes for him and we learn more about the zombies it was intense. And then that whole visit on the rooftop with you know who when Jarod needed air? OMG and say what? That was crazy, the revelation of what Paragon was created for was disgusting and yet, I need that man to come back because he needs to be taken care of. Ugh. This book, was so freaking good.

“You made me one promise. I need you to keep it.”
“I promise. I swear. I can do this because you’re always here. You’re always looking out for me.”
“We can do this…Together.”

I feel like I need to add in just one more time about Jarod and Gabriel because this is still a romance. It’s still very romantic it’s just in this crazy setting. Looking back on my notes as I write this review, there are some very poignant and emotional moments between the couple and Gabriel still has a knack for the dirty talk but their relationship was on par for their situation. I think I would have been turned off if there was a butt load *ahem* of sex in this as it would have felt misplaced. Gabriel and Jarod are trying to survive, they are trying to do their best while keeping secrets from the others in the Hive and each other. Yeah, the men have secrets and while Jarod learns what Gabriel has been hiding, Jarod is keeping his secrets buried way deep and are they twisted AF!

Oh boy. I could keep going because I haven’t even talked about Magpie who is wicked smart and shiny. I haven’t talked about the politics of the Hive which I got but couldn’t help but get sad when someone was turned out even though they deserved it. I didn’t go into detail about a lot of things but I won’t either because I want you to read it all and absorb it until you feel goosebumps at the hissing of your sprinklers turning on in the early morning and you wonder if they are whispering your name….

Okay. I am done. I’ll stop now.

Parasite is a stellar follow up to Monster and a perfectly placed and paced book for this series. We get 20 days from start to finish, 20 days of action, of jealousy, of truths and lies and we end on hope. Oh yeah, that end had me yelling and wishing I had the next book because it was stunning.
Wow. Yep, I am hooked.
I read zombies and I liked it.

Go figure.

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