So……Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a great book, but I probably should not have read it in May of 2020 (though it was first published in July of last year). Simply because the state of the world is kind of shit right now. Though I am recommending this book, I am also recommending that you put it on your TBR list and read it when the world gets back to some form of normal (especially if you live in the United States). I will, as always, keep this spoiler free. Here is a look at the back cover:
“Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange illness. She appears to be sleepwalking. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. Soon Shana and her sister 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. As the sleepwalking epidemic awakens terror and violence, and as civilization collapses, the secret behind this phenomenon will either tear society apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.”
On V.E. Schwab’s No Write Way interview series, Chuck Wendig called this novel his love letter to Stephen King’s The Stand. Wanderers was often compared to The Stand since its publication and I can see why. (I have not yet read The Stand but will likely read it at some point. I started it once and gave up after about 70 pages. Apparently the first 150 pages are character introductions and I kept waiting for things to kick off. Granted, the book is 1200 pages. I just couldn’t get into at that time.)
One little warning though: this book does take a bit of a dark turn. It was somewhat expected to happen, but a certain scene really rattled me. A friend of mine really likes Stephen King, he has read The Stand and he did state it also gets really dark, and I’ve already recommended this book to him. Because despite the dark times, there is a lot of great things happening and the story is worth the read.
Wanderers is a large book at 800 pages, but the pacing is extremely well done and the writing, much like Stephen King’s, is easy to read. Not simplistic, just easy to dive into and keep going (the true mark of a master of the craft). Of course, I liked some characters more than others and at times didn’t much care about one or two story-lines, but they all wrap together to make one overarching, impelling story. The characters are also not all introduced at once, but brought in at various stages and without creating a overwhelmingly large cast. Again, this ties back to the great pacing and intrigue of the story.
You can tell Chuck put a lot of research into making this story plausibly realistic in regards to how diseases spread, impact the world, and how organizations like the CDC combat and investigate such threats. It’s always crazy to be reminded that a tiny virus or disease can threaten a species, including the human race (even while we are living it, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic though of course the book’s disease is much worse). I can almost guarantee you will not be able to predict what happens throughout this book, which is a good thing.
My uncle actually bought me a copy of this book, of which I am thankful, and I read it in about a week and a half (the story/writing will pull you in). My reading speed has really increased this past year. If you are up for an epic, apocalyptic-esque mystery, then pick up Wanderers. Maybe just wait until the current pandemic has passed.