Wayward (Wanderers #2), by Chuck Wendig

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Chuck Wendig, Ballantine Del Rey and Random House for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

While many found Chuck Wendig shone in the series debut, I was not as captivated as I would have liked. However, with this ARC in my possession, I wanted to give things a chance to see if I could be drawn into the middle of things with the sequel. While I was not, I surmise that it could be my own personal issues and not Wendig’s abilities throughout this detailed novel.

It was five years ago when a number of everyday Americans began randomly sleepwalking across the country. The reason was unknown, though the malady caught the attention of many. Making their way to a specific place, these sleepwalkers were followed by people, self-identified as shepherds, in an effort to protect them as they wandered in their trace-like state.

Upon arriving in Ouray, Colorado, the group began setting up their outpost, as though they were the chosen ones and all others were set to perish. While a militia sought to destroy them, the sleepwalkers remained diligent in their mission, advised that this was only the first step in a slew of significant changes to come.

Those who are setting things up in Ouray include a scientist who tries to piece together a plan to lead, a former police officer with ideas on how to protect a select few, and a teenage shepherd who is still trying to come to terms with what’s happened to her and what awaits the world. While outside forces continue to push around the outskirts of Ouray, many will have to sacrifice it all to protect themselves. From ruthless politicians to those who do not fully understand the special nature of the sleepwalkers. At the heart of it all is Black Swan, an A.I. program behind the entire ‘end of days’ scenario. Wendig does well to stir up the reader’s emotion throughout, even if it did not impact me as much as I would have hoped.

While I have only read the series debut by Chuck Wendig, I have tried other books in the genre, so there is a general understanding of the premise. Wendig provides a strong foundation and keeps the reader wondering throughout the narrative. Continuing with the apocalyptic theme, the story clips along and will likely grab many readers. For me, my mindset was not entirely into the experience, though I can see Wendig’s abilities clearly.

The story continues with a great narrative that serves to guide the reader. Bleak when needed but also well-paced, the story adds more surprises and roadblocks found in the debut novel. Using strong characters with their own personalities helps to shape the story once more. Plot twists emerge to offer some excitement as things take a darker turn. Some may get lost in the premise of this novel or simply not like where Wendig is headed. While it was not for me, I can see how many would really enjoy this series and find themselves excited by this new publication.

Kudos, Mr. Wendig, for a thought-provoking piece that is sure to impress your fans.

Wanderers (Wanderers #1), by Chuck Wendig

Seven stars

After receiving an ARC for Chuck Wendig’s second novel in this series, I thought it best to begin with the debut novel, in hopes of getting proper context. Part science fiction, part psychological thriller, Wendig offers readers a thought-provoking look into mind control and how science both views it and tries to control it. Wendig digs up some intriguing ideas on which readers can ponder or posit, depending how invested they wish to be in the experience.

After Shana wakes to discover her sister in some trance-like state, she’s worried. This does not appear to be simple sleepwalking, as the younger girl cannot be woken from the state. As the two girls begin a journey walking to an as-yet-unknown destination ,Shana realises that her family is not the only one in the middle of this oddity. Before long, Shana comes to see that many others are sleepwalking in the same manner, with ‘shepherds’ to keep watch over the slumbering individuals.

All the while, a scientist who thought his active work at the CDC was over has been brought back to help on a Black Swan experiment. While this is nothing like any previous scientific endeavour on American soil, secret or publicly known, there is an element of fear woven into Black Swan, such that no one is entirely sure of the endgame.

As the sleepwalking begins to catch headlines, the curiosity turns to fear and people rally against this group that appears destined for a single goal. A militia is formed to exterminate anyone sleepwalking, which only creates more of a dystopia in an already fragile world. The truth behind everything could bind the country together or tear it apart at the seams. Only time will tell and Shana is not ready to wait. Wendig does well to stir up thoughts and controversy within the pages of this book, which is sure to entertain some readers.

While I have not read anything by Chuck Wendig, I have tried other books in the genre with mixed success. Wendig does well laying some groundwork here and keeps the reader guessing as to how things will play out, when the pieces do fall into place. Working on a dystopian/apocalyptic flavouring, the story progresses well and is sure to capture the attention of many readers For me, it was a bit much for the reading mindset in which I find myself at present.

Wendig uses a strong narrative to paint a picture for the reader throughout this piece. At times bleak, while also fascinating, the story weaves its way through surprises and roadblocks along the way. Strong characters with unique personalities cannot be discounted throughout the reading experience, making some readers want to delve deeper. Plot twists emerge, on many fronts, and fuel a story that does not seem to have a clear A to B delineation. That said, for many it follows a path they can handle. Others, like me, may get lost in the slow reveal that is the essence of this novel. While it was not for me, I read the book to get to the ARC, which I will attempt next. Full disclosure, I am already on guard, which may work against a completely neutral review of the latest publication.

Kuds, Mr. Wendig, for concocting something worth talking about. I am eager to see what others think of it and how my views fall on the spectrum.