Words, as promised!
The reading blitz continues – yes, I’m as surprised as you are. Who would have imagined that married life would afford so much time to spend in fictional words. Although here’s a hard truth for us all – curling up with a good book and some tea is just NOT THE SAME when you don’t have a cat or two with you. And I intend to remedy that very soon, indeed.
Just, um, don’t tell Georgie.
Today I’m talking about a book I was very excited for: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. Let’s boogie!
Meh. I don’t hate it, but man, I would have gone for something way more interesting (I mean, compare this to the covers for Wendig’s Miriam Black novels). This is just so effing boring. And believe me, this book is anything but boring. Feels like a late Stephen King cover rip-off… and that was probably intentional.
The Summary Heist
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.
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 are 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.
I liked this one, guys. Wendig is hit or miss for me – I loved his early Miriam Black books but hated where the series went, and I was lukewarm on his latest releases. But I think he’s a very strong writer with a distinct and entertaining voice, and I was really eager to read this one, considering the subject matter and the frequent (and justified) comparisons to The Stand.
It’s classic Wendig – the writing is the standout here, quick and nimble and unputdownable. The most notable thing about this book was how fast I read it, and how much I wanted to be reading it when I wasn’t. And it was enjoyable – I had fun, and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I mean, I read 800+ pages in a few days – if that doesn’t tell you something…
While I really enjoyed this book, I had a few issues. The strongest thing about Wanderers is the story, and the potential end to civilization that is envisions. You read to find out what’s going to happen next. However, while the characters were, for the most part, richly drawn and complex, I didn’t really care about them. And they weren’t all compelling – I may be alone on this one but I felt the entire Pete storyline was redundant. I ended up skimming those portions. They served no real purpose and made the story drag.
I also had felt the pacing was uneven. The story took some time to start, and even halfway through I felt like we were still being “set up” for the actual events. And then there was the, um, shall we say “objectionable” content. I expect profanity and violence from Wendig, so that was no surprise, but the rape in this one was a little too gratuitous for my taste, and the hyper-realistic portrayal of religious extremists and white nationalists – fucking Nazis – was chilling, given the world we live in right now.
And the final plot twist was batshit fucking crazy, no question. And not really satisfying from a narrative standpoint. And fucking infuriating from a reader’s standpoint, too, tbh.
But the good remains – a well-written, interesting story that is easy to read, full of pop culture references, apocalypse tropes, and strong, well-researched science… and a depiction of a crumbling world close enough to the one we currently inhabit to be genuinely frightening.
I will also add – this book is already being compared to The Stand but in my opinion, the only similarities is that they are both door-stopper books about the apocalypse. That’s it. This one only has a whiff of SFF, heavy emphasis on the S (science, for you non genre nerds.) I would have preferred more speculative aspects, actually… less frightening than the grimly realistic world Wendig has painted. (As for which book is better, well, as much I dislike current King, there’s no beating classic King.
Read it. Pretty effing scary, and overall, an enjoyable read.
Oh, lordy, you know I forgot to track this. Wendig’s a good writer, though, and there were some really great lines. Sampling from Goodreads in 3… 2… 1…
“…the outside air was so hot and so humid it felt like you were the meat in a sandwich whose bread was the Devil’s moist thighs.”
Ah, classic Wendig. And fitting, too, for the current temperature outside. *Cough* global warming is here and we’re all doomed *cough*
Book Boyfriend material
Listen, I’m gonna go with my gut and say NO ONE. Everyone in this book is horrible with just a enough redeeming qualities that they’re not straight up evil, with a few glaring exceptions… pretty much like real life, ha ha ha, hashtag is it pessimism or is it realism, WHAT.
Eight out of 10
sentient computer programs. Oops.
ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT
I’ve been waiting forever for this moment to come… When it all goes to shit, you guys know where to meet.
– xo, R