“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.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
Format: Physical book
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
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.
Y’all I did it, I finished this 800 page monster of a book! If you’re thinking of picking this up but a little nervous about the page count just know every single page in this book is necessary and important to the ending of this book in some way. I promise. Wanderers is equal parts thrilling and horrifying. Thrilling because you need to find out all the answers and horrifying because well…the entire world is about to die. Which means part of me wants to say I enjoyed this book and the way the author constructed the plot, but the other part needs to recover from finishing this as well.
This review will be a bit on the shorter side since I really want to keep it as spoiler free as possible but we’ll still tackle two things I liked about the story and two things I didn’t like. First up, was the multiple POV’s. They can always be daunting, especially in a long book but they were oh so necessary. My favorite character was Benji, a black, ex-CDC doctor who is on the hunt to do it what it takes and find out everything possible about the sleepwalkers and the truth behind what’s going on, even if it means infecting himself along the way. All of the other characters were great additions to the story who added so many levels of depth that when they all came together it made the story even better and feel worth the wait. Next, is the plot twists, all ten thousand of them. There are so many twists throughout this, big and small, that it will keep you on your toes. It truly makes you hang on to every page and try to piece together everything that is currently happening in the book and what would happen in future as well.
Now, on to the things I didn’t enjoy so much. Society is crumbling and obviously there is a lot of violence and hard discussions that come with it. There is a group of characters that are white supremacists who use several racial slurs a few times throughout this including the “n” word (hard r). The first time I read it, it definitely stopped me in my tracks and made me feel really unsettled, so I can only imagine how hurtful and harmful it could be for readers of color. The other main issue I had was also the ending, while all the big questions are answered there is still some uncertainty as to what happens next and after 800 pages complete closure would have been nice. I was on the last page panicking because I knew there was not nearly enough time to wrap up all the questions that were ripped right open with the one final plot twist and that kind of bummed me out.
All in all, if you’re looking for a journey across the country, a race against time, and a group of unlikely heroes coming together as the world’s last hope of survival Wanderers is worth checking out. It’s definitely a wild ride from start to finish but just make sure you’re in an okay headspace to get through how dark this story can get!
tw: racism, rape, violence, overdose, gun violence, gore
Shoutout to Amanda at Classy X Book Reviews for the recommendation!
Until next time,