Wanderers
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 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 Details

TitleWanderers
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherDel Rey
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic

Wanderers Review

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    This audiobook is 32h long... 32 HOURS!!Now let's see how the world ends...
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    This reminds me a lot of The Stand. In fact, the author admits to it within the novel. What Wendig doesn’t do is veer off into the cartoonish which King, at times, has a tendency to do. Don’t let its length deter you. It reads quickly and I finished it within three days. Wendig wrestles with potent questions here including the power of technology, extreme prejudice, the religious façade and violence of the Christian right, morality and the crumbling of society. What’s more he is able to inject i This reminds me a lot of The Stand. In fact, the author admits to it within the novel. What Wendig doesn’t do is veer off into the cartoonish which King, at times, has a tendency to do. Don’t let its length deter you. It reads quickly and I finished it within three days. Wendig wrestles with potent questions here including the power of technology, extreme prejudice, the religious façade and violence of the Christian right, morality and the crumbling of society. What’s more he is able to inject into it both humor and the quirkiness of mankind. If you liked The Stand (I’ll go out on a limb here) you’ll like this even more.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    This fucking book. I love long "end of the world books." How. it ends doesn't matter to me. This book has many comparisons to other books. Please, let that go. The Stand, and Swan Song are different animals. If you compare Stand to Swan, then you're a fucking idiot. This story. This fucking tale was bullshit! I absolutely despised this crap. I loved the rock star. A.rock star! I have been bored for 2 months now. I quit. Take this boring crap and... Actually, I really don't believe that this fuck This fucking book. I love long "end of the world books." How. it ends doesn't matter to me. This book has many comparisons to other books. Please, let that go. The Stand, and Swan Song are different animals. If you compare Stand to Swan, then you're a fucking idiot. This story. This fucking tale was bullshit! I absolutely despised this crap. I loved the rock star. A.rock star! I have been bored for 2 months now. I quit. Take this boring crap and... Actually, I really don't believe that this fucking book will be one of those who last. This story doesn't have the staying power,not the character development to stand the test of time. This shit was a bore. I need massive amounts of humor on my end of world books. Duh, of.course the gay rocker was funny. That was how it was meant to be. I hated this fucking book. I still keep looking back and trying to find something. There is nothing. I will.say.it again....I hate this book..
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    It's the end of the world and I feel... uuurkkk...Let me tell you something, my fine folks. I think I had more fun reading this book than I have for ANY apocalypse book. That's including the Stand, Lucifer's Hammer, or The Power. And perhaps a few others that I rank higher than the rest.But let me be clear. I had the most fun with this. I'm not saying it has MORE to gloam onto than the Stand, but I had myself a few issues with the Stand. The whole moralistic good vs. evil It's the end of the world and I feel... uuurkkk...Let me tell you something, my fine folks. I think I had more fun reading this book than I have for ANY apocalypse book. That's including the Stand, Lucifer's Hammer, or The Power. And perhaps a few others that I rank higher than the rest.But let me be clear. I had the most fun with this. I'm not saying it has MORE to gloam onto than the Stand, but I had myself a few issues with the Stand. The whole moralistic good vs. evil, for example. And I had a bit of a rough time with some of the 70's sexism in Lucifer's Hammer.Wanderers, however, is leagues above most of the current runs of epic dystopias. No, it's not a zombie apocalypse or a big meteorite spoiling everyone's day or the ultimate reversal of the sexes. It is, however, quite free of rampant female humiliation, gratuitous rape, and violence in general. This book is full of heart even while it DOES have a rather usual trope of religious nutters, white supremacists, and NRA hotheads. They're quite happy to be all opportunistic on humanity's ass.What sets this above all the rest? Clever fundamental choices and trope inclusions, baby. Very strong science, too. And delightfully complex characters.But for me? I love the pop culture references. Wendig is like, some kind of master with pop trivia and really sharp, maybe bloody, wit. His Miriam Black novels left me bloody with words. In Wanderers, he tones it down a LOT and he tames it for the sake of this story. So what that means is we'll be seeing some REALLY cool crap popping up subtly in the tiny spaces. Like Fallout? Check. Like Matrix? Check. Like brilliantly chosen musical references, strange-ass details that HAVE to be memes that haven't happened yet, or setting choices that wind up being fantastic in-jokes for you modern pop-reference junkies? CHECK.And in the end, I remained excited... exhilarated... throughout this read. Sometimes a book will sap my energy. Other times, rarely, a book will just pour it into me. This is one of those books. :)Am I super happy to have read this? You betcha. :) :) I feel almost like I was watching the first season of Walking Dead the first time. Before it got all... you know. :)
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Take a walk on the long side....The premise of this book immediately grabbed my attention: a teenager, Shana wakes up to find her younger sister, Nessie, in trance, walking out of their home and along the road. She does not respond, she does not blink, just keeps putting one foot in front of the other.... hmmmmSoon, Shana's sister is joined by more walkers (who will soon become a flock). Interesting things happen - needles cannot pierce their skin, they shake violently wh Take a walk on the long side....The premise of this book immediately grabbed my attention: a teenager, Shana wakes up to find her younger sister, Nessie, in trance, walking out of their home and along the road. She does not respond, she does not blink, just keeps putting one foot in front of the other.... hmmmmSoon, Shana's sister is joined by more walkers (who will soon become a flock). Interesting things happen - needles cannot pierce their skin, they shake violently when grabbed and let's not forget the gore fest when one was grabbed, and the cop did not let go.Every flock needs a shepherd and soon this ever-growing flock of walkers has family and friends (called Shepherds) following them, trying to keep them safe, etc.So why are they walking? What has happened to them? Is this an epidemic? Is this the end of the world? No one knows. So, a disgraced doctor and members of the CDC attempt to find out just what is going on and how to stop/treat this issue or shall I say these walkers...errr…. I mean members of the flock. Then there is Black Swan....not going to say more about that.This is a long book and it felt long to me - especially in the middle. I really think this book could use a little editing. Be warned there are some scenes in this book which might serve as triggers. Plus, the author is not shy about sharing his political beliefs and viewpoints.While reading this book, I couldn't help but think about The Stand, The Passage and even to a small degree, the walking dead TV show (sorry, never read the comics). But, let's face it, King and Cronin wrote better books. This book is not bad but at the same time, it didn't really wow me. It's one I won’t remember. It took me almost a month to read since I wasn't engaged enough to want to pick it up and keep reading. But I finally finished and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending with the five-year jump. I can see why some are loving this book. For me it was okay but not great.I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group -Ballantine and NetGalley. The thoughts and opinions are my own
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  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    If you're reading this review, it means that you're interested in my individual experience with this book WANDERERS. I think it's safe to say that this is a highly anticipated release this year and it's certainly getting a ton of coverage. So, I'm going to honor the fact that you're taking a moment to see what I have to say about it--among the countless other reviews out there available to you. There won't be any plot details here--just my reading experiences and feelings.I want to leave a If you're reading this review, it means that you're interested in my individual experience with this book WANDERERS. I think it's safe to say that this is a highly anticipated release this year and it's certainly getting a ton of coverage. So, I'm going to honor the fact that you're taking a moment to see what I have to say about it--among the countless other reviews out there available to you. There won't be any plot details here--just my reading experiences and feelings.I want to leave all your own discoveries with this book intact, should you choose to go on this epic journey for yourself. You'll find this book being compared to iconic apocalyptic novels such as SWAN SONG by Robert McCammon and THE STAND by Stephen King. People will want to know, "Is it as good as___"I'd like to say that I will happily shelve this book right next to those two books as my favorite apocalyptic horror novels. And I will recommend all three of them as such.It's impossible to compare them. I think it's ridiculous to even try. They are all totally different and evoke different emotions as they are all written by talented individuals who express themselves in vastly different ways.Stephen King released THE STAND in the Fall of '78. I would say that THE STAND is a character-driven story--focusing more on individual trials & tribulations as protagonists and antagonists navigate through a post-apocalyptic landscape. Heavy themes of Good vs. Evil with elements of fantasy & horror. Agent: Bioterrorism gone awry.SWAN SONG like 10 years later. Robert McCammon uses nuclear war as a catalyst for destruction. Also, character-driven as readers get to follow several different groups of protagonists and antagonists as they navigate through a post-apocalyptic landscape. Also heavy themes of Good vs. Evil and like King, McCammon utilizes elements of fantasy and horror.WANDERERS is 2019 like 30+ years after both of those books. It's the epic apocalyptic story of this generation-of our time. Sure, generation after generation will enjoy this book, just like we enjoyed King and McCammon's offerings so many years after their release but WANDERERS is only going to be THIS relevant, right NOW.So it's exciting to weigh in on it as the intended audience.Unlike King and McCammon, Wendig's agent of destruction is a total mystery for most of the book. The jury is out, so to speak, on just how catastrophic things will get--so this isn't a post-apocalyptic story, it's a "real-time" chain of events leading up to what "could be". See why the comparisons are already sort of a misleading?? Big difference between Pre and Post-apocalypse.Also, Wendig doesn't employ any fantasy elements here--This is "where the rubber meets the road" style realism. Everything feels extremely authentic and plausible--right down to each chapter having these social media blurbs in different formats that feel so real, I actually wondered a few times if Wendig ripped them from his own Twitter feed.Let me just pause for a second to highlight the fact that Chuck Wendig is a prolific social media guru and his knowledge of how the world utilizes and empowers social media enhances the authenticity of this novel in a powerful way. I felt like everything was not only possible but probably actually HAPPENING in some ways; lending itself to the credibility and believability. If you're at all familiar with Chuck's writing (I strongly recommend the Miriam Black series) you already know that Wendig writes in a compelling style that feels addictive. Once you're hooked, the pages don't stop turning and you'll be hard-pressed to find a good place to drop that bookmark. In a book as thick as this one, the pace is a welcomed delight--nobody wants to slog through hundreds of pages.Right around the halfway point, I wondered if Chuck was going to deliver some horror or if this was going to rest comfortably as a solid apocalyptic, sci-fi, urban *thriller* and I will say that Chuck's antagonist delivers. This book explores a horror that lingers around the edges of our modern times that if left unchecked, presents a very serious and dangerous threat. We face manifestations of this threat every day. Chuck's antagonist personifies our political climate in a plethora of ugly, shocking ways. Terrifying to say the least.Lastly, there is one common thread (one valid comparison besides genre and SIZE) that I found runs through this book, SWAN SONG and THE STAND--religion & faith.I love the way King and McCammon wove it through their stories and I also really enjoyed Wendig's use of it too. The chapters with the Preacher were some of my favorites-his character arc and evolution is powerful storytelling. I appreciate what Wendig did there.So there you have it. My unique and individual thoughts among the fray. I applaud everything Chuck set out to do with this book--it's a treasure and I thank him for it.I loved my time with WANDERERS and I'm sad it's over.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    this:was arcstack before i got this beautiful 800 page beast (in a slipcase, no less - fancy ARC, why you so fancy?) about a mysterious epidemic, societal breakdown, post-event survival, journeys across a shattered american landscape - i.e. ALL OF MY JAMS! sorry, arcstack, i think we have to have a talk.
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  • Donna Backshall
    January 1, 1970
    This was a mammoth book, and I feel a sincere sense of satisfaction for finishing. I delayed reviewing, because I needed some time to wrap my head around ALL THOSE WORDS.Here goes: ★★ Two guilty stars because I invested over a week into Wanderers and I have no "OMG I HAVE TO TALK TO EVERYONE ABOUT THIS BOOK" compulsion to show for my commitment to this huge, wandering novel.I don't quite know how to characterize my experience reading Wanderers. The first two-thirds of the book (~500 pages) feels This was a mammoth book, and I feel a sincere sense of satisfaction for finishing. I delayed reviewing, because I needed some time to wrap my head around ALL THOSE WORDS.Here goes: ★★ Two guilty stars because I invested over a week into Wanderers and I have no "OMG I HAVE TO TALK TO EVERYONE ABOUT THIS BOOK" compulsion to show for my commitment to this huge, wandering novel.I don't quite know how to characterize my experience reading Wanderers. The first two-thirds of the book (~500 pages) feels like setup for the story. This is a LONG preface to the real action, and could probably be reduced to several chapters in a much-desired (for this reader, anyway) abridged version.We meet the Walkers, who are basically regular people who hear some kind of calling, drop their lives, and in a zombie-like trance begin a walking journey as "a flock" to an unknown destination west. We also meet:1) their Shepherds (family/friends who volunteer to care for the walkers)2) the CDC scientists (studying the walker phenomenon)3) the fear-mongering "religious" zealots (some, if not most, are not religious, just evil f*kkers preying on fearful worshippers)4) a sentient piece of software known as Black Swan, that predicted a global plague resulting basically from humans trashing the planetWe quickly find that the Walkers are somehow immune to a quickly spreading fungus that promises to all but extinguish humanity, and many fear the Walkers' immunity as much as their predicament. "The disease known as White Mask caused by a fungal pathogen Rhizopus destructans is going to decimate the global population. But we, the flock, are protected by the grace of Black Swan, an artificial intelligence inhabiting our bodies and brains with a connected swarm of infinitesimal machines existing in nanoscale. Robots."So, if you're patient enough to get this far, around 70% in we FINALLY get inside the Walkers' heads! We find out the members of The Flock are telepathically connected in a simulated shared reality. This view is WAY more intesting than all the fearful and head-scratching hubbub going on around the phenomenon, and particularly satisfying because we had to wait so long for it. Things ramp up a bit, and no spoilers, but be prepared to get stiffed on firm resolution of all the questions dangling out there for the full 800 pages.I'll be the first to admit the delay in getting to the meat of the story was difficult to suffer. And the constant religious references and questions were annoying, enough so that I would almost classify this as Christian fiction, which I would have avoided had I been forewarned. (Note: I am not a Christian, but I heard enough preaching and religious bigotry, and then speculation about angels, demons, the Christian God, heaven, faith, "the divine", etc. to assume a believer would have a much easier time than I did with the rural American culture as portrayed by Chuck Wendig.) Can I recommend this as a thriller? No. This slow, tedious build up is the exact opposite of thrilling.As an apocalyptic epic, to go next to The Stand, Swan Song or The Passage trilogy? Ehh, that's a huge stretch, unless you're willing to go purely based upon word count.As a sci-fi novel? Absolutely not, because there's not a lot of science to it and it doesn't go "out there" enough to qualify. Maybe as a speculative study of the human condition? Okay, sure. Why the heck not?If you've read this far in my way too long review, tell me what you loved about it so I can move my mind into loving it too. Or if you could take it or leave it, tell me this too, because I want to know I'm not sitting on this fence alone.
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  • Kemper
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this form NetGalley for review.I’m generally rooting for the end of humanity these days, but if the apocalypse is gonna involve this much walking then I’ll be pretty angry about it because I’d much rather sit on my ass while the asteroid hits or the nukes fly or the zombies start gnawing on me.A small group of people in rural Pennsylvania start walking in a trance like state one day. They can’t be snapped out of it, needles for sedatives won’t penetrate th I received a free copy of this form NetGalley for review.I’m generally rooting for the end of humanity these days, but if the apocalypse is gonna involve this much walking then I’ll be pretty angry about it because I’d much rather sit on my ass while the asteroid hits or the nukes fly or the zombies start gnawing on me.A small group of people in rural Pennsylvania start walking in a trance like state one day. They can’t be snapped out of it, needles for sedatives won’t penetrate their skin, and if you try to physically stop one of them things get awfully messy. They don’t need food or water, and they absolutely will not stop. As they move across the country more and more people start joining them. The public gets increasingly freaked out by these walkers, and a variety of people get pulled into the situation. A tough teenager frantically tries to take care of her younger sister who was the first to start walking. A former CDC doctor who trashed his career for a noble lie tries to learn the cause of the sleepwalking. An aging rock star runs away from his messy life to join the people shepherding the walkers. A preacher begins publicly painting the walkers as harbingers of the apocalypse, and he’s handsomely rewarded for his efforts by a pack of right wing conspiracy theorists who are backing a lying sack of shit for president. Behind it all is a secret that is either the salvation of humanity or its dooooooomm!!I’ve got very mixed feelings on this one. There’s a lot of stuff I liked, particularly some of the core idea of what’s behind the sleepwalkers once it all gets revealed. There was a pretty cool and clever story to all of that. Wendig also has a readable style that keeps you turning pages, and he’s built up an intriguing scenario here that really held my interest for the first couple of hundred pages. But then the problems started creeping in.First off, this is way too long. I’m glad I got an e-copy because it’s gotta be a real kitten squisher in print form. And it just doesn’t seem that necessary. There are big swaths of the story where not that much happens. Yeah, some of that was trying to develop characters, but it really doesn’t matter though because for the most part these people are still exactly who I thought they were the entire time. Unfortunately, that means that they’re all jerks or pushovers from start to finish.Even the ones you’re supposed to sympathize with the most I found irritating and weak. Shana, the older sister of one of the first walkers, is supposed to the tough teenager with a chip on her shoulder, but it all seems like posturing because all she ever really does is be snarky to people. Benjy, the disgraced CDC doctor, should be our hero, but he seems so naïve, helpless, and completely overwhelmed at all times that there’s nothing there to root for. And some of that would make sense in a book like this where people would feel insignificant when faced with something like this, but the structure of the scenario leaves them so little to actually do that they feel completely pointless. In fact, this entire novel is incredibly passive, and the people in it really don’t matter that much at the end of the day. There’s a few minor things they try to accomplish here and there, but usually they even screw that up. You could take every single other character out of this book and just make it about the sleepwalkers while eventually revealing what’s behind them, and the entire story pretty much ends up exactly where it eventually does. I also didn’t care for what seems like a sequel set up in the end. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but Wendig left plenty of room to return. I’d be more interested in that if I thought that any characters in the book might actually be able to impact the story.Overall, I didn’t hate this one, but the potential it had early on seems to just fade away as the book goes on and on.
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  • Zoeytron
    January 1, 1970
    A comet streaks across the night sky, and as it does, the lady who foretold the event dies in her sleep.  Sleepwalkers start to dot the landscape, flocking together as they move.  They are causing quite a stir, some call them the Devil's Pilgrims while others refer to them as God's Chosen Ones.  Before long, life is tip-tilted to an alarming degree, shadows are long, time is slippery, and people are dying.  Opportunistic baddies try to take the reins even as the good guys attempt to figure out w A comet streaks across the night sky, and as it does, the lady who foretold the event dies in her sleep.  Sleepwalkers start to dot the landscape, flocking together as they move.  They are causing quite a stir, some call them the Devil's Pilgrims while others refer to them as God's Chosen Ones.  Before long, life is tip-tilted to an alarming degree, shadows are long, time is slippery, and people are dying.  Opportunistic baddies try to take the reins even as the good guys attempt to figure out what is happening to the world so they can fix it.      I agree that comparisons with The Stand are unavoidable for a number of reasons.  I have read The Stand multiple times, but can't imagine returning to Wanderers for a second read.  As another reviewer mentioned, this had more of the tone and feel of The Passage, and I concur. At any rate, I liked it, just didn't love it.
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  • Michael Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    My review of WANDERERS can be found at High Fever Books.Film critic Roger Ebert once said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” The same is certainly true of books. Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, sure to be the man’s magnum opus, clocks in at 800 pages and took me roughly two weeks to get through (a longer-than-expected number of days for me, thanks to some very limited reading time while I was busy attending StokerCon 2019). Thankfully, it’s every bit as good as I had expected, be My review of WANDERERS can be found at High Fever Books.Film critic Roger Ebert once said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” The same is certainly true of books. Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, sure to be the man’s magnum opus, clocks in at 800 pages and took me roughly two weeks to get through (a longer-than-expected number of days for me, thanks to some very limited reading time while I was busy attending StokerCon 2019). Thankfully, it’s every bit as good as I had expected, better in a lot of ways even, and I never felt burdened by the large page count. Wanderers never felt too long simply because of how damn good it is the whole way through. And frankly, I wouldn’t have minded it being a little bit longer just so I could spend some more time in this world, particularly during the book’s denouement.Wendig’s latest has been picking up some comparison’s to Stephen King’s The Stand, but it’s a very superficial, easy-to-make comparison. Yes, both are door-stoppers of a book, and there’s some thematic resemblances, mostly revolving around a mysterious illness and a cross-country trip for the handful of humanity’s survivors to wage a Good vs Evil war for soul of the future. For his part, Wendig is certainly aware of these short-hand comparisons and is sure to name-check King a few times along the way. To me, though, if we really must compare End of the World tomes, Wanderers feels more like a kissing cousin to Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, in terms of tonality and odd illness afflicting the sleepwalking wanderers.Apocalyptic novels are almost always a product of the time period in which they were written, influenced by the particular tensions of the day. Swan Song and The Stand are both products of the Cold War, rife with American attitudes of Good vs Evil. Wanderers, too, is clearly a product of its day, an apocalyptic epic borne necessarily out of the Trump regime and all its itinerant nasty fallout, like the belligerent rise of white supremacist groups and their roots in Christian Evangelicalism, climate change denialism, and mankind getting bit in the ass for its anti-science idiocy, as well as technological concerns, such as the rise of artificial intelligence. The state of current affairs provides more than enough fodder to craft an apocalyptic narrative, and more than a few times in the Real World over the last few years, I’ve certainly felt like we’re on the brink. Presidential candidate Ed Creel is very much a Trump analogue, running against a Hillary Clinton-like incumbent named Hunt. Creel’s campaign slogans, like HUNT THE CUNT and CREED SAVES AMERICA are sadly representative of America’s current (and likely on-going) state of political affairs. Wanderers is a tour through the bedrock of modern-day America, with all its sexism, racism, xenophobia, religious zealotry, anti-vax whackadoo, and violent political divisions. Wendig takes all of these elements and weaves in a modern-day American novel about the collapse of society and the possible extinction of humanity. But there’s also hope, a hope for a better tomorrow borne out of the tribulations of the present, a hope for some kind of rebirth and, perhaps, a renaissance for the future generations of Americans, should they live long enough to survive this current crisis. It’s heady stuff, to be sure, but Wanderers never feels bogged down by the Holy Shit Everything Is Terrible state of the world writ large all around us. The apocalyptic elements, in fact, are fairly late game-changers that the narrative surely and steadily builds toward, with the bulk of this book concerning itself mostly with the pre-apocalypse that is the Now. Wendig introduces us to a fairly large cast of characters as the sleepwalker crisis begins and unfolds, and then weaves in various side stories to expand on the mysteriousness of Wanderers premise, as well as explorations of what this sleepwalker sickness is (both why it is and what it is), and nature of the mysterious artificial intelligence, Black Swan.Wanderers is a big book, both in terms of content, subjects, and characters. It’s as rich as it is long, and there’s a lot for readers to unpack. It’s one hell of a meaty read, and the narrative is constantly engaging and evolving, straddling the line between Biblical End Times and scientific examinations of the collapse of everything. It’s dark and serious, but there’s also plenty of room for romance, love, and humor in between all the various losses and tragedy. I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud more than a few times, despite the grimness surrounding much of these characters. One woman, for instance, describes her appreciation for a man by telling her friend, “I would mount him like a piece of taxidermy.” Another wants to “tap that ass like a whiskey barrel.” It’s the seriousness that lingers, though, like the fist pumping rousingness of a racist bastard getting told off by a powerful woman of color:“I know you. I know your kind. You pretend like you have this…ethos, this patriotism or this nationalism. You love your white skin and pretend that it’s hard armor instead of thin, and weak, and pale—like the dime-store condom that split in half around your father’s dick when he gave it to the dumb, truck-stop janitor that was your mother. I got your number, Big Man. I know you. I know you’re weak and unwanted, so you take it out on everyone else.”Wendig’s latest stands proudly beside The Stand and Swan Song, offering as many differences as there are passing similarities to those works, showcasing 21st Century concerns and points of view that are wholly its own. Wanderers is a necessary update to the canon of epic apocalyptic American spec-fic, examining the collapse of society and the mass extinction of humankind through the lens of USA 2019. This is a wholly modern-day end of the world, unshackled from the nuclear concerns of the Cold War and built off the spine of contemporary issues and problems close to home and rooted deeply in the soil of America. Some of these issues are necessarily ugly, the problems impossible to solve. But there’s enough beauty and hope sprinkled throughout that you can’t help but root for the good guys and gals to win, regardless of the odds stacked against them. At the end of the day, few things are as American as hope, and Wanderers gives us plenty to hold on to, even as it chills us with all its "what if?" horrors.[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]
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  • Bri | bribooks
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ page 300. Yes, I’m still rating this book. I slogged through a third of it — I’ve earned the right to give it my rating.What I need you, the reader of this review, to know is this book isn’t bad. Chuck Wendig has crossed his q’s and dotted his t’s. The writing is fine. Many of my friends have given Wanderers a perfect score, and I can understand why. If you’re a fan of big apocalyptic(?) novels in which the author seems to jerk off to some sort of quasi-Springsteenian sense of America—you k DNF @ page 300. Yes, I’m still rating this book. I slogged through a third of it — I’ve earned the right to give it my rating.What I need you, the reader of this review, to know is this book isn’t bad. Chuck Wendig has crossed his q’s and dotted his t’s. The writing is fine. Many of my friends have given Wanderers a perfect score, and I can understand why. If you’re a fan of big apocalyptic(?) novels in which the author seems to jerk off to some sort of quasi-Springsteenian sense of America—you know, where most of the people who dot the landscape are white, moderate liberals and the only thing you have to fear is cornfed hicks in MAGA hats—then maybe this will work for you. As for me, I’m done. Chuck Wendig seems to play dress-up here: he’s trying to look a little like Stephen King, a bit like Robert McCammon, maybe a touch like Michael Crichton. But in the end he looks like a big goof. What is this book trying to say? I made it three hundred pages, and I still don’t know. The “epidemic”—the cause of the “apocalypse” (quotation marks used to indicate there’s really a whole lotta nothin’ going on here in this lard-ass story)—is a bunch of characters, one day, begin sleepwalking .... together. As a group. The group grows by day, and scientists are stunned. Is it a disease? Group hypnosis? I’m a patient reader, but I can take only so much of a bunch of paper-thin disease control specialists sitting around and spitballing theories. As for the “Walkers” themselves, the reader gets to know none of them. None. Why should I care what befalls them? The head “Walker” is the little sister of a main character, another cardboard cutout, and two of the main characters briefly interview the wife of another Walker. Out of a group of hundreds, the reader is aware at all of only two. The author failed to make me connect with these characters, and he failed to bring to life this outbreak, this apparent tragedy. And c’mon—a sleepwalking epidemic is no nuclear war or superflu. And this is Chuck Wendig, so of course there’s politics and apparently this guy doesn’t know satire because Ed Creel is Donald Trump and Nora Hunt is Hillary Clinton, and it’s painfully obvious, but Wendig seems to think he’s . . . clever. Of course Hunt, the current President, sits on her hands and and fails to act but is, generally, given leeway by the characters, despite doing . . . well, nothing meaningful. At least in the first few hundred pages. Meanwhile, all Creel supporters are written as backwoods, know-nothing rednecks. Yawn. The politics—like most everything else in this novel—comes off as shallow, easy, snappy. This is fodder for your airplane ride at best. I’m tired of some mainstream male “horror” writers writing only in black and white. This shit is why I muted Chuck Wendig on Twitter long ago. This book is a big nothing. Whatever. It didn’t work for me. If it works for you, fantastic, I’m glad—sincerely. I’m just let down.
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  • Char
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 Stars!WANDERERS was a fun listen, alternating between two narrators, one male and one female. This format worked really well for me and I enjoyed this tale quite a bit. It's an "end of the world" book and even though the terms "walker" and "sleepwalker" are used, these are not really zombies like THE WALKING DEAD walkers, and they're not sleepwalking either. This is why the book was so interesting and different. The characters developed quite a bit throughout, none of them the 4.5/5 Stars!WANDERERS was a fun listen, alternating between two narrators, one male and one female. This format worked really well for me and I enjoyed this tale quite a bit. It's an "end of the world" book and even though the terms "walker" and "sleepwalker" are used, these are not really zombies like THE WALKING DEAD walkers, and they're not sleepwalking either. This is why the book was so interesting and different. The characters developed quite a bit throughout, none of them the same as they were in the beginning. None of them are perfectly black or white characters either, which made them seem more realistic to me than say, Mother Abigail from THE STAND or Sister from SWAN SONG. Even though the setting of WANDERERS brings those books to mind, it's completely different from both of them.Overall I loved listening, and I very much enjoyed the ending because it was surprising and eerie. I can't say more about it without spoiling the story, so I'll just end with this:HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!*Thanks to my local library for the free audio download. Libraries RULE!*
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.I don't know how I feel about this book. I enjoyed much of it, and other parts of it really ticked me off. It felt grand on an epic scale, but then certain parts made it feel small and not so epic.Pros- good character development, interesting storyline, cool conceptCons - twice as long as it needed to be, unnecessary rape scene, end with little to no Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.I don't know how I feel about this book. I enjoyed much of it, and other parts of it really ticked me off. It felt grand on an epic scale, but then certain parts made it feel small and not so epic.Pros- good character development, interesting storyline, cool conceptCons - twice as long as it needed to be, unnecessary rape scene, end with little to no closure whatsoever.Overall, I enjoyed it enough to finish, but I didn't love it and I think it would have benefited from an editor who could help slim it down and get rid of a lot of unnecessary fluff. Also, seriously, if you're going to put in a rape scene, it had better have some significant point in the story... rather than just a little bit of shock value. *shakes head* I thought you were better than that, Chuck.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Running against the herd here, but this one simply didn’t work. Speaking of herds, if you’ve watched enough Walking Dead, you know about the dead 💀 wandering in herds. Here, you get a similar phenomenon with eyes bulging and consciousness seeping out they walk toward a goal like the folks in Close Encounters with shepherds tending to them. The survival of the species might be at stake, but that all gets lost in a story with shifting points of view and an attempt to throw politics religion and ro Running against the herd here, but this one simply didn’t work. Speaking of herds, if you’ve watched enough Walking Dead, you know about the dead 💀 wandering in herds. Here, you get a similar phenomenon with eyes bulging and consciousness seeping out they walk toward a goal like the folks in Close Encounters with shepherds tending to them. The survival of the species might be at stake, but that all gets lost in a story with shifting points of view and an attempt to throw politics religion and rockstardom in together. In the end, you didn’t care where this was going or where the end was. Onward!
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  • Lisa Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    This massive, 800 page book seemed like a huge reading undertaking... but once I started, I savored every word, paragraph, and chapter. Did it need to be this huge? Why, yes. Yes, it did.Wanderers is truly epic in scope. What starts as a weird local event -- a sleepwalking girl who can't be woken or stopped -- turns into something huge and eerie (and to some, horribly frightening) as Nessie is joined by more and more sleepwalkers in her journey across America. Escorted by family members and fri/> This massive, 800 page book seemed like a huge reading undertaking... but once I started, I savored every word, paragraph, and chapter. Did it need to be this huge? Why, yes. Yes, it did.Wanderers is truly epic in scope. What starts as a weird local event -- a sleepwalking girl who can't be woken or stopped -- turns into something huge and eerie (and to some, horribly frightening) as Nessie is joined by more and more sleepwalkers in her journey across America. Escorted by family members and friends who look after them, the flock moves endlessly forward. Meanwhile, the CDC scrambles to find out why, and right-wing militiamen, politicians, and conservative rabblerousers see the flock as a harbinger of end-times, and use their existence as an excuse to ramp up their hateful, violent rhetoric, whipping their public into a frenzy.Just what is causing the sleepwalking phenomenon is revealed over time, as is the connection to a money-hungry tycoon's mysterious death. The weirdness of the sleepwalking is leavened by the beauty of the human interactions and interconnectedness as we get to know the various shepherds, their motivations and fears, and their own sense of running out of time.Parts of this book are terrifying. Strangely (or not), I was much more disturbed by the human evil and hate-mongering than by the pandemic threat to all of humanity. Nature, science, possible extinction -- these just are, without good or evil. Instead, it's the people of Wanderers who inspire admiration for their bravery, sacrifice, and wisdom, as well as despair over the cruelty that people display toward one another.This book takes our current crises related to climate change, increasingly drug-resistant bacteria and viruses, and hate-filled politics, and spins these into a tale that feels prophetic, cautionary, and disturbingly real. Wanderers forces the reader to ask "what if"... and then see how the scenario plays out in full, grisly, technicolor detail.I suppose I should add, if not already clear, that this book contains violence and cruelty and should be approached cautiously (or not at all) by anyone who may find themselves triggered.That said, I just loved so many of the characters, felt completely invested in their journeys and ordeals, and could not stop reading. At the risk of sounding incredibly corny, reading Wanderers made me feel like I'd been on a journey too. A terrific read.
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  • Karen’s Library
    January 1, 1970
    My two favorite genres are sci-fi and apocalypse, so when I find a book that blends the two, I’m in reading heaven!! My all time favorite books in this type of genre are The Stand, Swan Song, The Book of M, The Passage, and now... Wanderers! All are epic and most are behemoth books! I couldn’t get enough of Wanderers! A teen girl sleepwalks out of her house one night, but can’t be woken up. Ever. Eventually other sleepwalkers join in. Their loved ones stay with them to watch over them and eventu My two favorite genres are sci-fi and apocalypse, so when I find a book that blends the two, I’m in reading heaven!! My all time favorite books in this type of genre are The Stand, Swan Song, The Book of M, The Passage, and now... Wanderers! All are epic and most are behemoth books! I couldn’t get enough of Wanderers! A teen girl sleepwalks out of her house one night, but can’t be woken up. Ever. Eventually other sleepwalkers join in. Their loved ones stay with them to watch over them and eventually become known as Shepherds of the Flock. This made for an eerie and disturbing picture in my head. The premise was amazing. As the miles pass by, more and more sleepwalkers join the flock, which means more and more Shepherds.Wendig then veers off to others stories such as the preacher who gets caught up with the white supremacy, at first with some hesitation. His story was very hard to read. A former CDC doctor starts off by investigating the cause but becomes the sleepwalkers’ protector. The strangest storyline was the aging rock and roll star who joins as a Shepherd for attention. His role was one of my favorites!Shana’s sister Nessie was the very first sleepwalker so Shana was the very first Shepherd. I loved Shana’s character the most. Although the book is 800 pages, I never felt that it was a long book. It went by much too fast and I read it in 3 major sittings. I stayed up way too late because I couldn’t put it down!! Chuck Wendig, this was my first time reading one of your books, even though I own several. I need to grab your backlist off of my shelf (they’re even signed!) and get to it!! *Thank you so much to NetGalley and Del Rey Books for the advance copy!!*
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  • MissBecka
    January 1, 1970
    Are you freaking kidding me?!You had 800 pages Chuck and you couldn't wrap that shit up in a nice tidy bow?Dammit.If you haven't already guessed by my rant I am unhappy with how this ends.Too open ended. Hopefully that means there will be another book?Don't get me wrong I loved the crap out of this book and I am super excited at the prospect of more in this world. But dude.....COME. ON.I hate waiting.Much love to Chuck Wendig for the signed ARC I got at BookCo Are you freaking kidding me?!You had 800 pages Chuck and you couldn't wrap that shit up in a nice tidy bow?Dammit.If you haven't already guessed by my rant I am unhappy with how this ends.Too open ended. Hopefully that means there will be another book?Don't get me wrong I loved the crap out of this book and I am super excited at the prospect of more in this world. But dude.....COME. ON.I hate waiting.Much love to Chuck Wendig for the signed ARC I got at BookCon.It was awesome to meet you and I appreciate you posing for a ridiculous picture with a My Little Pony.Now hurry up and write the next book dammit!!!Heads up it gets pretty graphic and gross at parts, but he makes it work.
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I've been hearing buzz about Wanderers for several months now and was thrilled to have Memorial Day weekend to curl up and read it!Shana Stewart wakes up one morning on her family farm and notices her sister Nessie wandering down the road.  When Shana catches up with Nessie, she believes her sister is sleepwalking.  As Nessie walks through town, seemingly unaware of her own actions and unable to be awakened, another person soon joins her.Shana doesn't know where her sister and the I've been hearing buzz about Wanderers for several months now and was thrilled to have Memorial Day weekend to curl up and read it!Shana Stewart wakes up one morning on her family farm and notices her sister Nessie wandering down the road.  When Shana catches up with Nessie, she believes her sister is sleepwalking.  As Nessie walks through town, seemingly unaware of her own actions and unable to be awakened, another person soon joins her.Shana doesn't know where her sister and the growing number of sleepwalkers are headed but they are slowly making their way across the country with an intense determination and their number is climbing steadily. The group becomes known as the flock and the friends/family who follow and protect them known as shepherds.America is soon divided about the meaning of the sleepwalkers.  Is it a terrorist attack?  The beginning of Armageddon?  A disease?Along their journey, readers meet a vibrant cast of characters, including an aging rock star, a preacher whose family and faith are in crisis, a wealthy businessman trying to escape the shadow of his family's legacy, and a group of scientists with the CDC; including the disgraced Dr. Benjamin Ray whose involvement is sanctioned by a mysterious piece of artificial intelligence known as Black Swan.When Black Swan alerts Dr. Ray and his team to a body discovered in the Everglades, it appears at first to be entirely unrelated to the sleepwalkers until an epidemic sweeps the country and everything from government to religion crumbles in the chaos, the only constant being the sleepwalkers steadily moving toward their unknown destination.It's up to Dr. Ray, his team, and the shepherds to protect the flock from a violent militia that preys on people's fear and faith and discover how everything connects before the world as they know it ends.Wanderers is an epic saga that covers everything from politics, science, religion, good vs. evil, and the power of technology with a rich cast of characters that add to the story sometimes in superficial and other times vital ways.This book will certainly be compared to Stephen King's The Stand but it manages to hold its own with a modern-day message and by focusing on the actual apocalypse rather than its aftermath.Now for the negatives:  At 800 pages, there is of course a lot of build-up; we're introduced to so many characters who shape the entire story and that takes time.  Readers are completely in the dark for the entire first half of the book; we know the events but not how or why they're connected so it can be frustrating to wade through almost 400 pages without any real movement on the plot itself.  The ending. Oh the ending.  All that carefully crafted build-up for a mediocre showdown (which coincidentally was my main complaint with The Stand). Everything has been building toward this moment and readers get a few pages of limited action.  It just wasn't enough after that long journey.  Annnnnnnd then readers are given a rushed "five years later" catch-up that concludes with an open ending. I need closure, Mr. Wendig! All that said, it's a fantastic journey that I was completely invested in, personally.  The plot is heavy but entertaining, the questions raised are both compelling and thought-provoking, and most of the characters are well-developed.If you enjoyed The Stand, odds are that you'll enjoy this novel also.  If this 800 page behemoth seems daunting, it's a coin toss to recommend:  on the one hand, it was a highly entertaining saga of an apocalyptic epidemic and I enjoyed the long journey, but on the other hand, the pay-off wasn't completely satisfying with a rushed finale and frustrating open ending.Thanks to Del Rey Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Wanderers is scheduled for release on July 2, 2019.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsIf you like end of civilisation stories, this is a good one. The idea of a fungal pathogen was super creepy for me. I cringe every time I even think the phrase "fruiting bodies."Characterisation was well done, and with good variety. Considering how long the book is, I was surprised at how evenly the momentum of the story was maintained throughout. Wendig's trademark conversational and easy style of storytelling is very much in evidence. Unsurprising is that in th 4.5 starsIf you like end of civilisation stories, this is a good one. The idea of a fungal pathogen was super creepy for me. I cringe every time I even think the phrase "fruiting bodies."Characterisation was well done, and with good variety. Considering how long the book is, I was surprised at how evenly the momentum of the story was maintained throughout. Wendig's trademark conversational and easy style of storytelling is very much in evidence. Unsurprising is that in this, as in pretty much every other story of this type, as bad as the illness is and as bleak the prospects of survival, the real horror comes from the people. White supremacists, religious nut bars, the unfortunately usual and expected cast of characters messing up the apocalypse for everyone else.
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  • Koeur
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 1.5/5Review: This was quite the grande attempt at combining “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “Andromeda Strain”. Throw in a splash of zombie like symptoms and voila! Seems like there is a plethora of pandemic/apoc novels floating around these days….some good, mostly bad. I think this novel fell into the ‘bad’ category although it shouldn’t have.Writing for the masses. This novel tried to appeal to the movie goer that enjoys dramatic dialogue interspersed with over-the-top violence by the government or convenien/>Writingcombining/> Rating: 1.5/5Review: This was quite the grande attempt at combining “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “Andromeda Strain”. Throw in a splash of zombie like symptoms and voila! Seems like there is a plethora of pandemic/apoc novels floating around these days….some good, mostly bad. I think this novel fell into the ‘bad’ category although it shouldn’t have.Writing for the masses. This novel tried to appeal to the movie goer that enjoys dramatic dialogue interspersed with over-the-top violence by the government or conveniently placed tropes in the form of militia or white extremists.Political soapbox. Throughout the novel it becomes very obvious where the author’s perspectives lie with regard to the current tapestry of political ennui. Every bad group or person is this amalgamation of WHITE people, and the author goes to great lengths to generalize about the inhabitants in certain towns and their racial perspectives based solely on their geographical placement.Been there done that. Like I mentioned before, this story line has oft been abused in a myriad of ways. There is nothing new, creative or inventive about this work. If you enjoy traipsing along for a long walk to nowhere, then be selectively bored.The author did his research and that comes to the fore but does not in any way add to the story line. Clinical processes and facts are a real downer and lack the potential to capture the reader via symptomatic expressions. Cut the zombie walk down by at least half and curb the political finger pointing and you might have a winner here. Oh and write for the reader not the Hollywood studio executive.
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  • Karl
    January 1, 1970
    This hardcover first edition is signed by Chuck Wendig.
  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this book. I tried so hard. But I just ended up actively disliking it, which makes me sad.Wendig bit off something really vast with this novel, and he actually executed it very well. It’s been billed as an epic saga, and that’s a fair description. Wanderers is as large in scope as the novel it is most commonly compared to, Stephen King’s The Stand, and mirrors the novel in other ways, specifically in its inclusion of an apocalyptic epidemic, its varied cast of characters, and its cross I really wanted to like this book. I tried so hard. But I just ended up actively disliking it, which makes me sad.Wendig bit off something really vast with this novel, and he actually executed it very well. It’s been billed as an epic saga, and that’s a fair description. Wanderers is as large in scope as the novel it is most commonly compared to, Stephen King’s The Stand, and mirrors the novel in other ways, specifically in its inclusion of an apocalyptic epidemic, its varied cast of characters, and its cross country journey on foot. However, Wanderers was far more hopeless, to the point of nihilism. The elements that should have been hopeful ended up being among the darkest and most disturbing. Don’t get me wrong; there were moments of loveliness. But overall it ended up leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. I also deeply hated the ending, and that further impacted my view of the book.“I love you in the future tense: I will love you, tomorrow and the day after and the day after that until there are no more days left for us.”I’m aggressively optimistic, so I have a very hard time dealing with bleakness, especially when hope is portrayed almost as a weakness. The Stand sounds like a book that would bother me, but there was a good bit of hope to be found there, and you could tell it was written from a deistic worldview. Wanderers was its opposite in that respect. Believers in God were often portrayed as naive, and faith was something to be overcome in most cases. I know realistically that many people, if faced with the types of situations in which these characters found themselves, would question God and possibly lose their faith. But there was just something about how that loss was handled in this novel that seemed as though such crises and the denial of God were something to be praised instead of pitied. It just really bothered me.“That is how science and medicine are practiced best, though—we are best when we admit our ignorance up front, and then attempt to fill the darkness of not-knowing with the light of information and knowledge.”Wanderers was also far more political that I was prepared for, and the politics present in the novel were thinly veiled versions of America’s current political climate. When asked about my political views, I bill myself as moderately conservative, though I try to just steer clear of politics as much as possible. Mostly, I just see myself as an egalitarian, and believe all people should be treated with dignity. That’s how Jesus lived His life, and it’s how I try my best to live mine. In this novel, almost everyone with a conservative view point is not only portrayed as wrong and small-minded, but as downright evil. It’s a portrayal that I can understand, as there are indeed many people like this in the world and our nation in particular, but I strongly disagreed with the implications that all political conservatives are evil, and that the vast majority of religious individuals only have faith because said faith has never been tested, and that it will break at the first sign of hardship.“You didn’t change anyone’s mind about politics by hammering away at them—all that did was drive the nail deeper into the wall of their own certainty.”The plot of the book was interesting, and I found it compelling enough to continue reading even though I disliked the implied worldview. Wendig did a great job of slowly building on the plot, and including multiple twists along the way. I’m a fan of slow burns, and Wanderers definitely qualifies. While I didn’t love the book, it never felt like it dragged, which is quite an accomplishment for an 800 page book. The portrayal of a world under siege by a disease, and the resulting breakdown in societal infrastruction, was very believable. I also thought that Wendig did a great job compiling his cast, and having such varied interests and viewpoints and personality types. “Hell, nobody's okay. Maybe we never were, and we damn sure aren't now. But we're here. Until we're not. And that's all I find it fair to ask for.”While I really respect what Wendig crafted in and with Wanderers, it just didn’t work for me. Our worldviews are too different. Nihilism is anathema to me, and I would never had read this book had I known it would leave me feeling so hopeless. However, I can definitely see why this book would appeal to so many, and I foresee it being very popular. I would recommend this book to fans of apocalyptic fiction like The Stand and Station Eleven (though I far prefer those two to this book), but know yourself; if you have a difficult time with nihilism, you might need to skip this one.You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.
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  • Andrew J.
    January 1, 1970
    I was so looking forward to this book. This story could’ve been so good. But instead of using the story to take a real look at humanity, Wendig uses this book as a soapbox for his own views, determined to shove literally every hot-button talking point into the narrative whether they fit or not. And worse, he doesn’t even have anything fresh or unique to say. For instance, I’m not a Republican. I don’t watch Fox News. But it’s quite clear Wendig really REALLY dislikes Republicans and I was so looking forward to this book. This story could’ve been so good. But instead of using the story to take a real look at humanity, Wendig uses this book as a soapbox for his own views, determined to shove literally every hot-button talking point into the narrative whether they fit or not. And worse, he doesn’t even have anything fresh or unique to say. For instance, I’m not a Republican. I don’t watch Fox News. But it’s quite clear Wendig really REALLY dislikes Republicans and Fox News. It’s the same old tired stuff: People of faith are stupid, scientists are the poor put-upon smart ones. Conservatives are horrible hate-mongers, liberals are the poor long-suffering angels of the world. White people are mostly trash, especially the men. Etc. A good author writes so he’s invisible, so he disappears and only the story remains. But Wanderers feels like Wendig shouting in your ear with a megaphone. The writing ranges from plain to actually bad (like, how did this sentence make it past an editor bad). The characters are boring and dull. The concept is really good and starts interesting, but it’s poorly executed. But worst of all, Wendig’s view of humanity is ungenerous, uninsightful, and horrendously cliché, lacking the nuance and insight a story like this requires. His ham-fisted attempts at social commentary are so unsubtle it mars the whole story. This book could’ve been a beautiful and hopeful human story. Wendig made it a hateful and political one. And that’s a shame. This story deserved a better, more generous, author.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    Although the writing is phenomenal, this epic story just is too slow for my liking. I'll have to pick it up when I'm in the mood for a slower paced novel.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Wanderers is far from the first novel of its kind- an epic, sprawling, apocalyptic story, that evokes memories of Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage, or Robert McCammon’s Swan Song (admittedly, the latter two of these I have not read).  And I don’t think anyone would be wrong to compare this to any of those that came before- Wendig often mentions many of these books by name, almost poking fun at the derivative nature of his own story.  But I would say there is one key differen Wanderers is far from the first novel of its kind- an epic, sprawling, apocalyptic story, that evokes memories of Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage, or Robert McCammon’s Swan Song (admittedly, the latter two of these I have not read).  And I don’t think anyone would be wrong to compare this to any of those that came before- Wendig often mentions many of these books by name, almost poking fun at the derivative nature of his own story.  But I would say there is one key difference between Wanderers and the others.Wanderers spends a lot more time on the actual downfall of man kind.  It isn’t really until 75% of the way through that readers get to see what the world looks like when most of humanity is dead or dying.  For that reason, some might find this to be slower paced than those others, but for me it amped up the stakes.  It forces the reader to think about what it would really be like to know human civilization is coming to end, the enormity and devastation of that statement. It doesn’t skip straight to the part where the survivors are just trying to survive.  You spend most of this book wondering if there will be any survivors at all.The characters were full of depth, likes and dislikes, talents and flaws, hopes and desires.  They grow and they change.  It has been a long time since I’ve seen a full cast of characters in which I felt each was given sufficient attention.  None of them feel like background characters.  None of them feel unimportant.    There was one that made me groan a little when his parts came along- but I think it was more the nature of his character than it was that anything was wrong with him, but his arc is probably one of the better ones in the book.The pacing on this story is pretty slow- I’d say it’s driven forward by the mystery/intrigue of what’s happening to the sleepwalkers more so than the action.  But the way the mystery and the plot unfolds is so natural, and even as we gain answers we also gain more mysteries, until most of the mysteries are solved and the action starts to ramp up.There was a surprising bit of science in this book that I expected to fall more in the realm of horror or fantasy.  I really enjoyed it and it added a level of “realness” to the story that made it all the more terrifying.  I can’t dive into this too much without spoilers, but I read the acknowledgements at the back and Wendig’s research seemed pretty thorough, though he admits he’s not sure how accurate it ended up.  It sounded real enough for me so… *shrugs*.Finally, without spoilers, I will say the ending disappointed me a bit.  It was way too ambiguous and the reader doesn’t get any closure to some of the character’s story lines.  It kind of crushed me to get that sort of ending in a book I invested 780 pages worth of my time into.  It felt like a cop out.  So I deducted a star.Otherwise, I think this is absolutely worth reading, especially if you enjoyed these sort of books or are a fan of Wendig’s work.  I’ve been craving an epic I could sink my teeth into and get lost in, and this hit all the right notes.
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  • Jenny Baker
    January 1, 1970
    I can't stop yawning, so I give up. I listened to 11 hours of the 33-hour audiobook, but I'm still taking credit for "reading" this monster of a book. I'm disappointed that this was a flop for me. I was so excited when I read the summary. It sounded like my cup of tea. Oh well. I hope you all love it more than I did.
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  • Tracy Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    My review from www.scifiandscary.com“Biology had at its core a keen and singular horror that made all the bogeyman stuff as scary as a preschool playroom.” – Chuck Wendig, WanderersGiant, crashing meteors. Zombie outbreaks. Alien invasions. Cataclysmic weather events. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. Nuclear disasters. Insidious biological/viral maladies. Why are so many of us drawn to tales that outline the destruction of life as we know it? These are not light things. Unimaginable loss of life My review from www.scifiandscary.com“Biology had at its core a keen and singular horror that made all the bogeyman stuff as scary as a preschool playroom.” – Chuck Wendig, WanderersGiant, crashing meteors. Zombie outbreaks. Alien invasions. Cataclysmic weather events. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. Nuclear disasters. Insidious biological/viral maladies. Why are so many of us drawn to tales that outline the destruction of life as we know it? These are not light things. Unimaginable loss of life and the complete breakdown of technological comforts and common social behavior are not the things we look for to inspire levity.Hyong-Jun Moon (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) states that “the extreme versions of future catastrophe in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives might function as a psychological buffer, through which [people] strive to accustom themselves to the coming realities of harshness, insufficiency, and antagonism” (241). This explanation makes sense to me; we look to fiction such as this in order to view possible outcomes at a safe distance. It is the possibility that these things may come to pass in some form that draws us in — will we make it, is there hope?I mention all of this to lead up to Chuck Wendig’s newest release, Wanderers. Thank you to Del Ray Books and Netgalley for the ebook for review consideration. This is a BIG book, a chunky almost 800 page hardcover. It is a major time investment. And absolutely, 100% worth every second of it. As mentioned in the synopsis, a mysterious affliction manifests in part of the population. What follows is one of the most engaging, well-developed, and epic journeys I have ever read. And yeah, I’ve read and watched a lot of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. As one might expect in a book of this length, there is a veritable host of characters introduced throughout. Lay people, scientists, a preacher, CDC members, politicians, zealots, backwoods militia, and more. This unfolds organically and I had no issue keeping track of who was who and their relation to other characters. This is crucial. These people are crafted so beautifully and it was an easy, natural development for me to accept.I don’t want to talk about plot. Read the book. What I will comment on is Wendig’s ability to tweak a thread here that becomes something of huge importance later, while still weaving these pieces into a tapestry of storytelling that left me in awe. I was never lost, often surprised, and always on the edge of my seat until the next discovery was revealed.I could wax on for days about various thematic elements in this novel. There are so many. What effect have humans had on this world? Is where we are heading entirely our fault? How does the cultural system of religion play a part when the world we know goes sideways? Are there benefits to creating newer, better technology? What is good and what is evil? These are the things that draw me to books like The Stand, Swan Song, The Road, and most definitely Wanderers. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach this review. I fell down several internet rabbit holes about apocalyptic fiction. In fact, I’ve culled so much from this review already. You don’t need to hear more from me, but if you ask, I will most definitely have more to say.This book is an experience, a treasure, and just an epic read. I will be re-reading this when I have a physical copy on hand. I want to hold the weight of it, flip the pages, and dive back into a world that completely immersed me. So yeah, read the book. I cannot recommend it more highly. Thank you, Mr. Wendig.
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to rate this one. At various times, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star or 5-star. Much like Stephen King's The Stand, I think an abridged version will be published although I do not think this book is nearly as good, perhaps because dystopian fiction has had 30 years of development.One morning, Shana discovers her younger sister Nessie walking outside, completely disconnected from her surroundings. And she is joined by many others on her sojourn to the west. The "walkers" do not eat or sleep, if Hard to rate this one. At various times, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star or 5-star. Much like Stephen King's The Stand, I think an abridged version will be published although I do not think this book is nearly as good, perhaps because dystopian fiction has had 30 years of development.One morning, Shana discovers her younger sister Nessie walking outside, completely disconnected from her surroundings. And she is joined by many others on her sojourn to the west. The "walkers" do not eat or sleep, if someone tries to stop them, they literally explode. Shana and her father follow in an RV as the first of the “shepherds.” The CDC is asked to intercede and the walkers become a polarizing political issue: they are accused of being terrorists, devil worshippers, and are a rallying point for right-wing, nationalism and hatred. The CDC is also dealing with virulent new disease, thought to be 100% fatal, with a long rate of incubation, that has begun to spread across the globe. Wendig has created a memorable cast of characters, Shana, Nessie, a disgraced CDC scientist, an AI, a preacher (who loses his way), a white supremacist, an ex-female cop, an aging, closet-gay rock star, who all have roles to play to avoid human extinction. Lots of current issues: guns, racial hatred, abuse of power, fear, baiting/name-calling, nanobots, global warming, role of the government. Sadly, it seems all too plausible, too familiar and too terrifying in today's world.
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  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    Fair warning, I’m going to start with an anecdote. (Sorry, but stick with me.)The other day I was in a restaurant with my daughter and my parents. The conversation started out, as it often does, with the question: What are you reading?So, I began to tell them about Wanderers. I didn’t do the spoiler thing, but I did take them through the first couple of chapters. By time I was done, they were announcing theories (my mom kept insisting it was aliens). I smiled and told the Fair warning, I’m going to start with an anecdote. (Sorry, but stick with me.)The other day I was in a restaurant with my daughter and my parents. The conversation started out, as it often does, with the question: What are you reading?So, I began to tell them about Wanderers. I didn’t do the spoiler thing, but I did take them through the first couple of chapters. By time I was done, they were announcing theories (my mom kept insisting it was aliens). I smiled and told them they would have to read the book.A little later, people from a couple of adjacent tables came up to me, excused themselves for eavesdropping, and asked me the name of the book.And that’s how compelling this is. From the moment you start reading this, it becomes one of those epic, can’t-put-it-down reads. Comparisons to The Stand are apt, but this is wholly original.Readers sensitive to political issues will want to note that the book DOES get political. If you know the author, you know what side of the political fence he’s on anyway and he’s refreshingly unapologetic about it.But, politics aside, it’s the story that matters and this is a huge, world-shattering, wonderfully told story with all the drama, heartbreak, and yes, hope!I loved this book. I want everyone to read it. And I hope those people at El Torito really like it. *ARC received via Net Galley
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