Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a novel that is an epic tale that manages to balance the worship of both technology and religion, while throwing in the end of the world as we know it type scenario. Wanderers has easily made it into my top five list of books in 2019. This novel is in good company as a pre and post apocalyptic novel. The novel acknowledges such novels as Stephen King’s The Stand, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, Margret Atwood’s Handmaiden’s Tale, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. This novel is going to get compared more to Stephen King’s Stand than any other’s, here’s the similarities in it’s cast it has an aging rock star, Las Vegas is described the same way in both, Colorado is a home base for some of the travelers, and A plot line involves a pregnant walker. Despite the those similarities this novel is an epic ride with huge twist and with a very, very satisfying ending. The ending deserves a slow clap, it had action and heart all rolled into one. This novel is almost 800 pages and I could have read more, for a novel it’s size the pacing had a couple of dips but is pretty steady throughout. The humor and social commentary on movies, music, and social media are great. I could have done with out the political commentary, (Creel was Donald Trump and Hunt was Hillary Clinton) it was on the nose maybe too much it’s hard for escapist reading if you’re reminded of our sometimes dangerous political climate.

The Plot: One day Nessie, a brilliant high school student gets a glazed look in her eye and goes into a sleepwalking state. Shana her older sister notices and followers her out the door and down the street, she ties an she can do to make her stop, Nessie starts getting hot and her skin turns red, and she powers through her sister. Nessie is then joined by more walkers as they are called. The police are called and one overly ambitious officer tries tasers but they have no effect. The officer manages to use his brute strength to move one into his cop car where the body then explodes killing and burning the officer to death. More start to join what is known as the flock, which are followed by their family who act as shepherds. The military and the CDC join the parade as they look for a cure and for protection. Some people see the flock as heaven sent and the start off revelations. But others see them as Devil’s Pilgrimage. Those that fear the flock take measures into their own hands to stop them by force. Benji a disgraced agent of the CDC is given a second chance as a powerful A.I. known as Black Swan believes he’s the key to solving this whole thing, but this isn’t the only epidemic breaking out, in this world gone mad.

What I Liked: This huge novel is a character piece and I enjoyed a majority of the character, Like Arav, Sadie, Pete, Marcy, and Benji who was my favorite a man that convictions are so strong he will sabotage everything to do what’s right. The character arc’s were really good two character change a lot and it was interesting to go on that journey with them. The downfall of society from social media perspective was really effective and at times powerful. The walkers were cool the way they were described and what they can do made them unique. The explanation of the walkers was well explained and a really clever idea in itself. The ending is great very satisfying, when compared to The Stand this ending was way more plausible. it had exciting action, and great finish. I liked that every character didn’t get a happy ending, there’s one ending that I’m sure is going to upset people that, I kind of enjoyed because it felt real and raw ultimately more heartbreaking that the character didn’t get the closure they wanted. I really like Black Swan the A. I. as a character really worked for me, it’s motivation for survival rivaled the human’s. The epidemic of White Mask was described really well.

What I Disliked: Shana as the main character, was sometimes so whiny, and she had a lot of secrets which made her character tough to get to know and connect. I think the political stuff was at times too heavy handed, from a story standpoint it wasn’t necessary, it could have been all about a religious debate instead of throwing politics into them. That being said the author made the choice because he wanted to make a social commentary about today’s political climate and how easily it could be radicalized and maybe it already has. The cover is so boring and this novel is so exciting, so please don’t judge this book by it’s cover.

Recommendations: If you like big epic novels like The Stand And Swan Song then you will like this. This novel does have some trigger warnings of Rape, violence, addiction, and gore. This novel is a great Science fiction in the vein of Michael Chrichton where the science is well thought out and easily explained. I rated Wanderers by Chuck Wendig despite some flaws 5 out of 5. This was my first Chuck Wendig book and will not be my last, I have a friend that has been recommending his Star Wars Aftermath series for some time now.

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