I’ve followed author Chuck Wendig on social media for a while now, and I’m a faithful reader of his blog. I was intimidated by the 800-page length of his latest book, Wanderers, but given the overwhelmingly positive early reviews, I decided to give it a read. I am so glad I did!
From the publisher:
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 as the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them—and an ultraviolent militia threatening 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.
Imagine reading a 12-episode Netflix series. That’s what this book felt like. Set in a near-apocalyptic (and terrifyingly recognizable) United States, it was a bit like a cross between The X-Files and Outbreak.
I loved the pacing. There were steady reveals throughout, each time ratcheting the tension up a notch. Wendig’s liberal political stance is apparent from his social media and blog posts. He holds nothing back in Wanderers, holding a mirror up to the white nationalist menace as it affects a single family as well as the nation as a whole.
Do not be intimidated by the length. I highly recommend Wanderers, one of my top reads of 2019.