#RRSciFiMonth Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace + Giveaway!

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.

***The giveaway is now over, thanks to everyone who entered!***

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Invasive SpeciesInvasive Species by Joseph Wallace

Genre: Science Fiction, Suspense, Horror

Series: Book 1

Publisher: Berkley (12/3/13)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nature is scary. Books that remind us of this fact are always enlightening, and that’s what I loved about Invasive Species. When your story involves science and ecological elements—and especially when your focus is on nasty, icky bugs—even a novel in the Suspense/Thriller category can easily read like a Horror.

From the book’s description alone though, it was hard to tell what it would be about. All we know is that an unknown breed of predator has emerged, and humans are its favorite prey. This new enemy is faster, stronger, and far deadlier than anything we’ve seen before. Right away, my brain started working on constructing this hypothetical creature, and I couldn’t help it—films like Predator, Alien, and other movies featuring science fiction’s most terrifying killing machines immediately sprang to mind. After all, we’ve seen these types of plots so many times before; it’s difficult to imagine that a threat of this nature could be anything other than a malevolent, extraterrestrial monster.

Turns out, I was totally wrong. The “monsters” in Invasive Species turn out to be wasps. Sure, they may be wasps on steroids, having evolved to be become larger, smarter, and more poisonous than the norm. But still…just wasps. Does it make this book any less scary, though? Nope. Actually, it just made me feel even more creeped out and unsettled. If you’ve ever been stung by a wasp, you know what I’m talking about. Wasps are pure evil.

Certainly, if you’re an entomophobe, you’re going to have a really tough time with this book. While it’s a science fiction story that also gets a bit far-fetched here and there, the premise has just enough science in it to make you squirm. Our protagonist Trey Gilliard is a modern explorer of sorts, literally taking the road less traveled. His life’s work is all about heading into the least known regions of the planet. There are still areas on earth relatively untouched by humanity, and some of these are in the deep jungles of Africa. You don’t have to suspend reality too much to believe that a new species could evolve separate in such a place, unknown to the rest of the world. It’s here where Trey first encounters his first “thief”, a new kind of parasitoid wasp. The locals call them that because of the way they steal your mind, your body, and your life. They’re also referred to as “slavemakers” because of the way adult wasps can attach their stingers to hosts and take over their bodies.

Invasive Species Slavemakers

The thieves are deadlier than regular wasps for many reasons, but first and foremost it is because they have developed an intricate hive mind, allowing them to communicate long distances and also to recognize and “remember” those who have done them harm. Primates are also their preferred host, including human beings. They breed by injecting their larvae into the abdomens of their unsuspecting prey, and neurotoxins in their venom also scramble and befuddle their victims’ minds, making them unaware that they are pregnant with a baby wasp until it is too late. That’s some messed up, creepy stuff.

The thieves are also great at survival. Deforestation and hunting practices have diminished their natural habitat and available hosts, but instead of dying out, they’ve become even more opportunistic, hitching rides on cars, boats, and planes in order to spread to the rest of the world. In the United States where it’s an election year, their presence eventually sparks a political storm.

Remember my review earlier this year of Bat out of Hell, a so-called “eco-thriller”? That one didn’t work out so well for me. And well, after reading Invasive Species, I realized this is how I wished that book had turned out! Invasive Species is a far better book because author Joseph Wallace did the right thing and focused on the disaster at multiple levels. He focused on the individual victims. He also focused on the threat of the thieves themselves. He emphasized the way these insect invaders fueled the fear and panic, ratcheting up the suspense to a fever pitch. The book is also a frightening reminder of just how fragile we are when science and technology fails us, and how quickly a civilization can come apart at the seams without the proper infrastructure and resources to maintain it.

I won’t spoil the ending, because you’ll just have to read this for yourself to see how the conflict resolves. However, I will say Invasive Species finishes on a bittersweet, melancholy note. After the roller coaster ride this story gave me, I thought it was ominously appropriate. For a book I knew next to nothing about when I first started it, I ended up really enjoying myself. Gripping, suspenseful, and delightfully chilling, this is a novel that will really get under your skin! A fine blend of drama and action for fans of sci-fi thrillers and horror. The follow-up titled Slavemakers is actually on the horizon, due out later this winter, and I’m looking forward to picking it up now more than ever.

4 stars

* * *

INVASIVE SPECIES GIVEAWAY

Invasive Species

 With Slavemakers due out next week, there’s no better time than the present to check out Invasive Species to see how it all began. The publisher has very generously offered The BiblioSanctum an opportunity to host a giveaway for one print copy of Invasive Species. This giveaway is open to US addresses only.  To enter, all you have to do is send an email to bibliosanctum@gmail.com with your Name and valid Mailing Address using the subject line “INVASIVE SPECIES” by 11:59pm Eastern time on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Only one entry per household, please. Entrants must be 18 or older. The winner will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winner and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends all entry emails will be deleted.

So what are you waiting for? Enter to win! Good luck!

13 Comments on “#RRSciFiMonth Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace + Giveaway!”

  1. Aw man!! I sure don’t need convincing that wasps are scary :/ And now they can enslave us, too? Yikes! I don’t know whether I’m entirely an entomophobe but after watching Starship Troopers, I still sometimes check my ceilings to make sure there aren’t any brain drilling insects above me 😛

    Like

    • Yep, bugs are icky. Haha, speaking of checking the ceilings, one morning a few months ago I woke up to a huge house centipede on the ceiling right above my bed. AHHHH!!!

      Like

  2. Ooh now I’m excited to read this. I love it when a thriller like this is done right. I immediately thought of the tracker jackers from The Hunger Games when you mentioned wasps:-)

    Like

    • YES! This is eco-thriller done right! No sign of preachiness, and definitely not boring. The wasps gave me the creeps though. I can’t even watch those nature documentaries about the parasitoid wasps laying their eggs on caterpillars.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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