Book Title: WanderersRead this review by Julie Ann Rea, written for Three Crows Magazine. It's one of our best reviews, and Julie is a lot more eloquent than I am.
Author: Chuck Wendig
Genre: Science Fiction, Apocalypse
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: ebook & audiobook
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Plot: Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
Wanderers is a huge book, and you'll see it compared to The Stand everywhere. They do have a lot in common, but Chuck Wendig's approach to a pandemic that'll wipe out humanity is, at least in the beginning, a lot gentler than King's.
This novel has the usual fanatics any fictional apocalypse needs, but it also has heart. A lot of heart. Strong relationships, loyalty, dedication, cooperation. And the science is incredibly well researched and fascinating. (Also a bit terrifying!)
What might put some people off liking Wanderers is how political it is. If you know Chuck Wendig and follow him on Twitter, none of it will come as a surprise, and he doesn't bury his message, doesn't attempt to veil it. It's right there on every page.
While The Stand offers some biblical themes and, at least in places, a theistic worldview, Wanderers trusts science. Faith is a crutch, something to overcome.
The book is perhaps overly long in places, but if King can bring out an uncut version of The Stand, filled with random scenes and bits that could be (and originally were) cut, then I'm sure we can forgive Wanderers for being slow. Especially in the first half.
I enjoyed the characters and the writing so much that it never bothered me, and I gladly went along for the ride, even if the screaming, murdering, and dying didn't start until halfway through.
Oh and the president sits on her hands and does nothing...sound familiar?
Highly recommended to all fans of the apocalypse who don't shy away from a doorstopper.