Or “How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear Hockey Pucks”
So I finished INVASIVE within 48 hours of starting it. I highly recommend doing this. It’s not that the book is so good as to warrant dangerously speedy devouring. It is—but my warning comes from a place of squirminess. You don’t want your mind resting on the main stars of this book.
Ants. Lots and lots of ants. Thousands. Probably millions.
I’ve been a Chuck Wendig fan for some time, but I have to say this is likely my favorite of his so far. While in the same universe as ZEROES, it is a very different book. I was not so hot for ZEROES, though I enjoyed it well enough. This book is a wholly different experience. It earns its comparison to (if not flat-out rivalry with) the techno-thriller master, Michael Crichton.
INVASIVE rests on three big strengths. Let’s take the least skin-crawly of them first.
Hannah Stander. INVASIVE’s main badass is exactly that. She’s no Black Widow mind you. No flipping, kicking, and snarking here. She’s a badass because she’s smart and cool under pressure. This has the book standing in stark contrasts to ZEROES that had few, if any, truly likable characters, apart from Agent Copper who, thankfully, is alive and well for this romp. I really hope to see him emerge as a Coulson in tying this literary universe together.
Ants. What the like of Crichton and King usually (though not always) have to do is get you to fear something you’ve never seen. Velociraptors, super flus, John Cusack. Not many of us have experienced these creatures of myth and prehistory. But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve had an ant attack you. Actually, come to think of it living under a rock is an excellent place to experience ants…Point is, it doesn’t take much for the reader to dash to the nearest shower to sit in the frigid water for fear of the crawling bastard-buggers to make an appearance as you’re reading about them.
Speculation. I think what put this one ahead of ZEROES for me is that it was only slightly speculative. I won’t pretend to be a genius geneticist (law enforcement tells me this is called ‘fraud’ and I’m not to do it again), but with all the GMO panic going on, genetically engineered ants feel less like science fiction and more like next Thursday. It’s being done right now in other ways to other insects, so who’s to say this very premise isn’t unfolding right now?
Yep. Your skin could be carved up tonight while you’re sleeping. But if you pick up INVASIVE and read it today, you won’t have to worry about it! You won’t be sleeping anytime soon.
INVASIVE is out now! I grabbed it from Phoenix Books in Essex, VT, but you can snag it wherever you get your tattooed dead trees!