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Invasive: A Novel Hardcover – August 16, 2016
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“Enthralling...Wendig does an impeccable job blending fact and fiction as he describes invasive species and insects being used as biological weapons. This is a propulsive tale that also examines our interaction with — and manipulation of — the natural world.” (Washington Post)
“Wendig crosses, blurs, and smashes genre boundaries more often – and more skillfully – than any author working today...INVASIVE is one part locked room mystery, one part 1950’s monster movie, and one part cutting-edge scientific thriller.” (Crimespree Magazine)
“Excellent...Follows the path set forth by Michael Crichton (a la Congo or Jurassic Park) in which Wendig’s exhaustive research brings a convincing story of humanity tinkering with nature — only to have it backfire...Expect to see it on the big screen.” (Men's Journal)
“This roller-coaster survival tale with copious amounts of creepy insects will appeal to fans of Michael Crichton.” (Booklist)
“Fans of Michael Crichton will feel right at home.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Chuck Wendig can congratulate himself on a stunning new achievement: becoming the architect of all of my future nightmares...INVASIVE is a terrifying and tightly written thriller.” (RT Book Reviews)
“Think Thomas Harris’ Will Graham and Clarice Starling rolled into one and pitched on the knife’s edge of a scenario that makes Jurassic Park look like a carnival ride. Another rip-roaring, deeply paranoid thriller about the reasons to fear the future.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“[A] rich, darkly funny page-turner with details designed to make those little hairs on the back of your neck stand up with how plausible [it seems].” (Locus)
From the Back Cover
In the middle of the Pacific, on an isolated island known as Kolohe Atoll, a team of scientists is employed by a charismatic billionaire hoping to change the world through cutting-edge research.
In a small cabin on a remote lake in the middle of the Adirondacks, FBI futurist Hannah Stander confronts a barely recognizable human body—one skinned alive by thousands of genetically engineered ants.
Hannah’s investigation ultimately leads her to Kolohe. Although the scientists there vehemently deny any connection to the body, the more Hannah studies the group the more she suspects their work has sinister applications. And the more it looks like no one is getting off the island alive.
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Invasive opens with a brief definition of the word ‘formication,’ which is a sensation that feels like insects crawling over or under your skin. This is a good word to know because you’ll be feeling plenty of formication throughout the book, likely by chapter two.
Set in the world of Wendig’s prior novel, Zer0es (which, if you haven’t read, now is a good time to buy. It’s not completely necessary to this title’s narrative, but it is a damn fun read and worth checking out. Minor references are made to Zer0es, but this series seems to be building on a theme of hacking – first cyber hacking in the previous entry, and now bio-hacking with Invasive), Hollis Copper returns and recruits FBI futurist consultant, Hannah Stander, to investigate an unusual case: a cabin housing ten thousand dead bodies. One of them is human; the rest are ant corpses, but are the apparent cause of death for the victim in question.
What follows is a horrific technothriller that feels like the spiritual lovechild of Michael Crichton and The X-Files. While there are streaks of humor, Invasive is a fairly dark read, but it carries all the hallmarks of a big summer blockbuster, right down a gloriously large-scale action set-piece for the book’s second half. Hannah Stander is a terrific female heroine, and shines wonderfully as the book’s strong, central protagonist. I will admit, though, that I was more than a bit captivated by Ez Choi, an entomologist and friend of Stander brought in as a consult. She’s a fun, spunky, punky bug geek and I hope we get to see more of her in future books.
I’ve never been particularly phobic of ants before (I can’t say the same about spiders), and I find them to be rather intriguing little creatures. Wendig has me second-guessing myself just a bit now, though… He does capture their intriguing nature with some nicely done sciencey bits (it seems clear he did plenty of homework, and the book’s layman explanations of the more technical aspects of ant-life and genetic mucking about ring true enough to me), and the more graphic depictions of what these vicious colonies are capable of left with me more than a few uncomfortable sensations. Yes, it’s true – this book made me formicate.
[Note: I received an advance copy of this title for review from the publisher via Edelweiss.]
I first encountered Chuck Wendig as a blogger. He's a good one, so, inevitably at some point I had to read some of his fiction. I got caught by the hook of the book being about ants. I kind of like ants. But not the ants in this book.
These ants are horrible! Awful! Deadly! Genetically engineered monsters! Aaaaargh! And the protagonist of the story is an FBI consultant, daughter of survivalist parents, and we learn a great deal about her and her birth family as we read along. And also about the bad guys of the story. And they're pretty bad. I think Chuck (I think of him as Chuck) is actually pretty much pro science, and I know he likes ants (he blogs about 'em.) But this book raises some excellent ethical and moral questions, indeed it does. We are left to conclude, as we generally are, that we need to hope that only sane and generous souls get access to the knowledge of how to use cutting edge technology. And, of course, we also know that sooner or later, they won't be the only ones. But, as you can see by reading this novel, we manage to survive and end up probably better off than we were before. At least that's what our protagonist learns.
So, if you have a phobia about six-legged crawlies, by all means read something else. If not, and you like a good thriller, well, you know what to do, right? Right! Click now and buy it!
Ants are creepy, so it’s only natural to believe that genetically modified ants can be downright scary. And the ants in Invasive are definitely scary. There were certain scenes in this book where I thought fervently to myself that I was glad it wasn’t summer. And then just as quickly wished it was so I could go out and eradicate any ants from around my house. Just in case. You know, so they didn’t swarm my house, cut off triangular patches of my skin, and march off with it. And the worst thing about the ants in this book is that the idea that someone would do this is totally believable! I’m sure we aren’t that far off from someone actually being able to accomplish it.
Invasive takes place in the same universe as Zer0es (another novel of his I rated highly). A couple of the characters from it have roles in this book. You do not need to have read it though. (Though I’d suggest you read it anyways. It’s a great read.) The main character, Hannah, is a very interesting one. Her job, as a futurist, is to see the worst ways things could play out. Given her background and the issues she deals with, I can’t imagine the stress her job puts her under. Makes you admire her basically from the get-go in Invasive. Gotta love a strong, intelligent, brave female in science fiction!
Invasive maintains a steady pace with things constantly ratcheting up. It definitely earns a spot in the thriller genre. Most of the characters are just there for bit roles before gruesome deaths. I’m completely fine with that as Wendig doesn’t try to make us believe most of them are important. (Though I’m not sure what I think of Ray. I spent most of the novel wanting to smack the crap out of him. His part in the story didn’t give me any pleasure.) There are no huge info-dumps. The science mentioned is talked about in the most general of terms.
Overall, Invasive is a well-written science fiction thriller. If bugs give you the creeps, you’ll definitely enjoy the formication this book gives you. In fact, certain people would probably classify this more as horror than science fiction. I just wish it would have ended a bit more darkly than it did.
Most recent customer reviews
Fantastic romp through paradise ruined by ants and rich people.