Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. From the mind of Chuck Wendig comes an astonishing tapestry of humanity that Harlan Coben calls “a suspenseful, twisty, satisfying, surprising, thought-provoking epic.”
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.
My Review ~
‘Nessie ran away again’
The title opens with older sister Shana (18yrs) alerted to a missing little sister Nessie (15yrs). The girls are being raised by a single father, as there mother walked out 2yrs previously. The family is one of complexity, but shared emotional bonds. In particular the close bond between sister Shana and Nessie.
When Shana eventually locates Nessie, she is disturbed to find her in a trance like appearance and attempts to stop Nessie from continually walking send her body into a dangerous ‘meltdown’ type phase. Nessie has become the first ‘sleepwalker’ only now Shana has to figure out the how & why!
‘Nessie did not care. She did not hear. She did not see.’
Soon Nessie is joined on her compulsive walk by another sleepwalker and it isn’t long until more and more follow. The novel also introduces a wide-range of characters early on and we re-visit each various scene. There is disgraced scientist Dr Benjamin Ray and Pastor Matthew, each with their own take on what is causing this affliction and what it could possibly mean for the future…
We are also introduced to the backstory of Jerry Garlin. We are at first unaware of how this ties in to the deeper storyline. But I am not going to lie, I spent me time REALLY enjoying the intelligent detail Chuck Wendig had weaved with the tale. The plot is incredibly detailed, but it is one of those titles that NEEDS it. If it lacked in details and description I think more readers would tire of the plot. The author ensures you are paying attention by continually revolving the story around different characters.
‘This was no disease like man had ever seen’
Chuck Wendig has written a novel, that has earnt him (deservingly) comparisons to the master of horror/sci-fi Stephen King and in particular his cult classic The Stand. These comparisons do not come from bloggers or Amazon reviews, but from established authors and critics. Wanderers is 100% a skilled and worthy read!
Pick it up. Escape to Maker’s Bell Pennsylvania. Get lost in the story. And follow the #Sleepwakers.