Note: While we love Chuck Wendig's writing, he does not write romance, and while we'll be exploring the kick-ass heroine in his lastest book, Invasive, we can't guarantee an HEA...but you probably guess that already.
When I finally watched Jurassic World, having missed it when it was in theaters, I turned to my eldest son and asked “does this movie entirely consist of Chris Pratt yelling at the female scientist for being wrong?”
He said, “Yeah, pretty much, plus the dinosaurs.”
I was thinking of my reaction to Jurassic World as I read Chuck Wendig’s new thriller, Invasive. Without being too spoilery, the story is about an FBI consultant, a self-dubbed futurist, who is called in on the case of a mysterious death in a remote cabin where ants have consumed the corpse. Things quickly become more complicated. There’s a billionaire, a secret lab on a remote island, and the inevitable but terrifying release of the killer ants.
The consultant is the lead of the story, the one who the others depend on for survival. In other words, this character is the Chris Pratt-style lead.
But in Invasive, a woman is the lead.
SEE ALSO: How A Murder Plot Spices Up a Romance
She’s Hannah Stander and, unlike most leads in big action movies (or even action-adventure books), she’s given a great deal of complexity. Hannah has created a specialty and a unique career for herself but she also suffers from sometimes crippling anxiety attacks. In a nice change from the usual, Hanna’s anxiety isn’t due so much to trauma as the long-term influence of her parents, paranoid survivalists. In a way, she’s chosen to believe in the future as a rebellion against her upbringing.
In short, Hannah is confident, complex and the hero of her own story.
It’s a combination I’ve rarely seen outside of romance novels. Usually, if there’s a woman in an action-adventure thriller, she’s the girlfriend or the stereotypical badass among the guys. Wendig’s tense, action-packed book treats Hannah like a full person, not a cliché. About the only quibble I have with the story is that a pivotal sex scene takes place off the page. I say this not because I need a sex scene in my action books, but because I needed to see what led Hannah to make that choice with that character. Hearing about it afterward, as she goes over it in her mind, wasn’t enough.
Overall, Invasive is a fun, fast read that subverts what the genre usually does for women. I await with anticipation the movie to come. (It really should be a movie. Get on this, Hollywood—though I will have to cover my eyes in the scenes with the ants.)
I only hope that, if this becomes a movie, Hannah’s role isn’t eclipsed by one of the supporting male characters. We need Kate McKinnon on this, stat.
Learn more about or order a copy of Invasive by Chuck Wendig, available now:
H&H Editor Picks: