Chuck Wendig’s Invasive

By Carl Slaughter:

by Chuck Wendig
sequel to Zeroes

Hannah Stander is a consultant for the FBI—a futurist who helps the Agency with cases that feature demonstrations of bleeding-edge technology. It’s her job to help them identify unforeseen threats: hackers, AIs, genetic modification, anything that in the wrong hands could harm the homeland.

Hannah is in an airport, waiting to board a flight home to see her family, when she receives a call from Agent Hollis Copper. “I’ve got a cabin full of over a thousand dead bodies,” he tells her. Whether those bodies are all human, he doesn’t say.

What Hannah finds is a horrifying murder that points to the impossible—someone weaponizing the natural world in a most unnatural way. Discovering who—and why—will take her on a terrifying chase from the Arizona deserts to the secret island laboratory of a billionaire inventor/philanthropist.

Hannah knows there are a million ways the world can end, but she just might be facing one she could never have predicted—a new threat both ancient and cutting-edge that could wipe humanity off the earth.


  • “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 )

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6 thoughts on “Chuck Wendig’s Invasive

  1. I just finished this book. I don’t regret reading it, but it falls into Jim Butcher territory for me: a competent, forgettable beach read.

    That’s mainly because with the exception of the protagonist, the characterizations are fairly shallow. There are no deeper themes, other than a somewhat heavy-handed People Are Wrecking This Planet And Should Die Off (to be fair, endorsed by the villains). Once the action gets going, the pacing is so frantic there’s no room to think or breathe. I imagine this would (and will) make a good action movie, but I prefer a few pauses for reflection here and there.

    Also, the book is written in third person, present tense, and let’s just say that Wendig…doesn’t have the mastery of the form that N.K. Jemisin does. He obviously likes writing that way, and that’s fine. But his prose doesn’t have the extra dimensions it needs to really pull this off.

    I guess I’d put it at 2.5 stars. Okay, but not outstanding or memorable.

  2. @Bonnie McDaniel – have you read Blackbirds? That’s the only of Wendig’s books I’ve read. I thought it was good, but kinda suffered from what you said – falling into Butcher (or in my probably-from-subgenre-ignorance interpretation, Urban Fantasy) territory. I’ve been meaning to pick up the second book in the series, but it’s never climbed high enough on my TBR wishlist, and sunk very low once I discovered File770 and more recommendations than I can handle. That sinking is largely due to it being on the fringes of what I read.

  3. I really disliked Blackbirds so I’ll probably avoid this. Then again I liked SW Aftermath. But maybe my love of Star Wars overcame my dislike of his style

  4. @kathodus

    No. Invasive was the only book of his I’ve read, and I didn’t care for it enough to want to pick up anything else. (I read his blog too, and it has that same frantic, jittery style.)

  5. Mike — ISTM that you’re publishing a lot of Carl’s uncritical publicity: flap copy with occasional softball questions for authors. How appropriate is this for a newszine?

  6. I really like his Miriam Black series (Blackbirds, et al.). Invasive (and Zer0es, with which it shares a world) I liked less, because they’re written to be thrillers with an SF gloss.

    Wendig gets a lot of hate because of his Star Wars novels (the whole “Expanded Universe” thing, and gay characters) so when reading criticism of his books it’s necessary to figure out if it’s real or just a smear.

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