Tracy Robinson's Reviews > Wanderers

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
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it was amazing

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“Biology had at its core a keen and singular horror that made all the bogeyman stuff as scary as a preschool playroom.” – Chuck Wendig, Wanderers

Giant, 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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Reading Progress

November 19, 2018 – Shelved
November 19, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 30, 2019 – Started Reading
June 30, 2019 –
June 30, 2019 –
9.0% "Chapter 10. LOVE THIS"
June 30, 2019 –
16.0% "Part 2!"
July 1, 2019 –
27.0% "Ch. 22 😳"
July 1, 2019 –
32.0% "Ch. 25 this is amazing"
July 1, 2019 –
46.0% "Part 4!!!"
July 1, 2019 –
52.0% "OMG OMG O. M. G."
July 1, 2019 –
58.0% "Part 5"
July 2, 2019 –
70.0% "Part 6"
July 2, 2019 –
74.0% "Ch 65"
July 3, 2019 –
July 3, 2019 –
July 4, 2019 –
96.0% "Part 8. I don’t want this to end"
July 4, 2019 – Finished Reading

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