“Earth is home to more than twelve thousand species of ants. If you weighed all the ants and all the humans, the ants would weigh more.”
Published August 16th 2016 by Harper Voyager
Michael Crichton meets Elon Musk in this gripping sci-fi tech thriller, set in the eye-opening, paranoid world of the electrifying Zeroes.
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.
I hate ants.
Every year, and it seems no matter what part of the country I live in, these evil creatures invade my home. They find every nook and every cranny and scurry looking for water or some little crumb to enjoy and bring back to their nest. They crawl over your skin with a slight tickle, and sometimes they bite you for the fun of it. Plus they smell an impossible to describe scent. Imagine putrid ammonia and lemon cleanser, and you have a general idea. They are everywhere, and there are 12,000 species in the world. They are a pest, a pestilence upon my household. This book takes my fear of ants and turns it up to 11.
You know how to take the whole idea of a swarming mass of black ants and make it worse. Make them poison you, cause anaphylactic shock, and then cut bits and pieces of your skin off and leave your insides facing the outside while still alive. That’s how you make it worse.
Chuck Wendig, you are a maniac.
I thought The Hatching was terrible for the pure creepy crawlies, nope. Spiders have nothing on killer ants. Not only has Wendig provided a genuine and visceral fearscape to set his imagination wild in, but he also did that with fantastic characters, pacing, and lead heroine.
The story stars Hannah Stander. She reminds me of a grittier version of Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs. She is smart, capable, and tough FBI agent working a murder investigation. Where I think Wendig soared with her character is that she is not two dimensional. No person is hardened all the time. Hannah has moments of weakness and guilt, which makes her character more realistic and empathetic. The supporting characters, although not as fleshed out as Hannah, add a great dimension to the story through the various interactions with Hannah. You want her to succeed in her quest to discover the truth and survive, but as a reader, you are curious to the going-ons of all the supporting characters.
This is a character-heavy story. Because of the development of the characters, the setting and worldbuilding are not as comprehensive as the character creation, and frankly, it doesn’t need to be. Think Jungle. Think tropical. Think medical/scientific compound where experiments are created and carried out, and you have the gist.
Hannah is speculating about a homicide in upstate New York. The victim is found stripped of all skin and laying in a pile of thousands of dead ants. The death is strange and sparks the intrigue of Hannah. Through a series of logical leaps, Hannah finds herself at a research compound of an eccentric billionaire that studies insects. From there the story becomes a fast-paced thriller full of survival, both of Hannah and the humans as a species. It bounces from scene to scene, keeping the reader on edge with the tight storytelling.
This is an exhilarating and exciting read that had me feeling phantom tickles on my cheek after reading. If you are a fan of the creepy crawlies, this is for you.
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