Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: June 1, 2019
Release Date: 800
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.
Wanderers is politically poignant as Wendig captures the political landscape that is the United States of America and what it could devolve into if met with a medical crisis.
Wanderers follows multiple perspectives as the sleepwalkers gain numbers and the political landscapes slowly devolves because of the mysterious malady. Wanderers follows multiple perspectives. However, not all of the perspectives are interesting. The chapters are short, so it never feels like a slog.
Wendig takes his time unraveling the mystery since the political landscape is just as important to the plot. So, characters are introduced that seemingly have no direct link to the mystery.
I would liken Wanderers to The Walking Dead in that both are slow paced and the walkers are a catalyst for other problems. If you like character development and simmering in the world being depicted, Wanderers will be sure to please you.
My only criticism and the reason I rated the novel four instead of five stars is that I felt like the book could have been 50 to 100 pages shorter. At the beginning of many of the chapters, there are long meandering anecdotes that get annoying quickly.
Trigger warning for rape. There is a descriptive scene that made me sick to my stomach.
Overall, Wanderers paints a bleak picture of the future of the United States of American as Wendig digs into real life issues plaguing the country.