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Wanderers

A Novel
Written by: Chuck Wendig
Narrated by: Dominic Hoffman, Xe Sands
Length: 32 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 “a magnum opus...a story about survival that’s not just about you and me, but all of us, together” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). 

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 as the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them - and an ultraviolent militia threatening 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.

Praise for Wanderers:

“This career-defining epic deserves its inevitable comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand.” (Publishers Weekly

“A suspenseful, twisty, satisfying, surprising, thought-provoking epic.” (Harlan Coben, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Run Away)

“Brilliant, incisive, inventive, true, and as painful as the punch that pops out a blackened tooth, Wanderers is as much a warning as it is a paean to hope and redemption. With this book, Chuck Wendig proves he's the next Stephen King. Trust me: You're not ready for this book.” (Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Phasma)

©2019 Chuck Wendig (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

Wanderers is amazing - huge, current, both broad and intensely personal, blending the contemplative apocalypse of Station Eleven with the compulsive readability of the best thrillers.” (Django Wexler, author of the Shadow Campaigns series)

“Chuck Wendig’s latest, Wanderers, is a magnum opus of both storytelling and prose, epic in scope, yet told with an intimacy that hooked me from the first page. It reminded me of a technological version of Stephen King’s The Stand - but dare I say, this is even better: a postapocalyptic horror story that bares the best and worst of humanity in all its rawest forms. Don’t miss this tour de force. It left me awed.” (James Rollins, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Crucible)

“With Wanderers, Chuck Wendig levels up - and when you consider the high level he was already writing at, that's saying something.” (John Scalzi, New York Times best-selling author of The Consuming Fire

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Read .. Listen.

This was a terrific book. My first compliment is that I had to look at the authour's name because this sounded and started out like Stephen King.

The storyline is consistent and the characters engaging. There was enough back-story to not make me wonder. There was enough science (and written well too .. like .. hey .. is that true) to make it believable. My dis-belief was suspended. The story had a beginning .. bunch of middles and a firm ending. Sure I can see a sequel but if it never happens I am content with the summary and ending as a single book.

The narrators were fine and easy on the ears. In some books you get pops, squeaks and audio level changes and there was none of that nonsense here either.

Overall it was well worth my monthly credit for length, story line and narrators. If there was a clap-emoji I would put it here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

Kept me engrossed through the whole thing; I was never sure where it was going, but always in a good way!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing, Exciting, Heartbreaking, Concurrently

This is my first Wendig novel, and all I can say is, "Holy crap!". What a ride. The novel is very long, but so well-written that it somehow never feels at all like a slog. Never feels like exposition for the sake thereof. Never feels like it is lecturing, leading or lying to the reader. And it left me breathless. Like I wanted to laugh and cry and scream all at the same time.

Wonderful narration team truly made the characters come alive, can't praise them enough.

Is the story a warning? An allegory for our seemingly horrible current world situation? Or simply a great yarn with fully fleshed-out characters that truly feel like human beings that one can relate to? I can't say for sure what was in Chuck's head, but what I CAN say is that this was one of the best stories I have ever experienced. And it IS an experience. 5 Stars aren't enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Truly great!!!

I’m getting near to the end and I couldn’t even wait to review it. The whole thing, from writing to the voice performances and did I mention the writing, are so fantastic. Ymmv, but for me this production was just truly great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this!

I've listened to close to 50 audiobooks on here and this is definitely near the top of the list for me. Lots will compare this to the Stand (which is also a favourite of mine) but too me they are very different books.

why I liked it so much:
- unlike lots of apocalyptic books I've read this one is set in 2019 which i found very engaging, especially since Wendig does
such a great job panting a picture of how todays world would react to a situation like this.
- great character development throughout. Like lots of my favourite books these main characters will stick with me for a long time
- The use of science in this book is not preachy and dull, I found it really cool the way everything was broken down and
explained in detail. These details you're almost craving as your trying to understand whats going on.
- The Narration was awesome

I could go on and on but at the end of the day this was a great listen! kept me extending the sleep timer over and over again haha, got less sleep some nights but it was worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

So many bad characters, the author created a bunch of characters that I hated, except for Benji who seemed to become almost a minor character in a story that should have been centered around him. I had great hopes but ended up hating this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this epic tale in the vein of The Stand.

What can I say, I love post apocalyptic fiction and I absolutely loved Wanderers. I was hooked from the moment Nessie walked out the front door and didn’t stop until the formidable conclusion. I have read many of Chuck Wendig’s books, but this one has really broken away from anything before it. His tone is reserved with some characters bursting forth with Chuck’s hilariously inventive, colourful language. But it doesn’t feel at all out of place and it isn’t a constant stream.

The story is paced beautifully and there was never a time where I hesitated to go back to it. I simply needed to know the why and the how of where it would all end up.

The audio book version has two different readers as it changes POVs. At first I was honestly put off by it, but both readers were so wonderful. Their accents and tone changes really helped me differentiate the characters, their moods and their personalities.

I have already recommended this book to several friends and it’s next on my partners read pile.

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Ugh--This is not like The Stand!

The Stand is top 3 of my favourite novels of all time, I own it in paperback and read it several times, I own it on Audible and have loved it dearly.

So let's be clear. This is NOT the Stand. This is drudgery. I have not finished this book, or even got past the 5th hour mark, because it's simply rambling, boring, drab, dull as dishwater, meandering, has awful 1 note characters, and while I AM a Liberal, large "L", give me a break. I don't need pablum spoon fed to me, because not all Democrats are white hats and not all republicans are black hats. "Nazi White Guy shit" is a direct quote from this book.
Seriously, if people are really singular notes like that, what a world.

Dammit-- at 5 hours+ it's just boring. Shana is a little shit. I don't care about these people, the sleepwalkers, Shepherds or any of part of this book. I'd really like my money back.

I loved Xe Sands narrative parts, but unfortunately she's Shana's voice and Shana is annoying. Mr. Hoffman's voice makes my eyes glaze over.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

We have seen this story before...

Start by saying that as a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction I mostly enjoyed this novel. Good character development and pacing. However the technical detail weighs it down considerably at the beginning and it takes too long to get going. Also, low score for inventiveness and I found it too weighed down by the political debates of the present moment. So a good novel but not great or overly memorable.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Started out good

What started out as a good interesting story morphed into something strange and unenjoyable. Too much foul language that was unnecessary. And then scenes, like the rape one where I just thought it added no value to the story and frankly didn’t make any sense for the story line of the pastor.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Allan T. Maule
  • 2019-07-29

Recommended, with some issues

Wanderers wants to be a 21st-century rendition of Stephen King's THE STAND: an epic story of American societal collapse and survival in the face of a deadly epidemic. Sometimes, it succeeds: the scope of the story and the twists of the plot are top-notch, and it's certainly a good page-turner. There's no question I enjoyed this book, and if you need an engaging and well-researched read about how our troubled world could collapse, WANDERERS is easy to recommend.

So why only 3 stars Overall and for Performance? Mostly to give potential readers some perspective in between the absolutely gushing reviews and the 1-star haters on this site. So now that I've recommended this read, here are the reason WANDERERS is not perfect and might not be for you:

1) LENGTH: This is a marathon of a book in audio or print, and I can't shake the feeling that it needed another 80–100 pages of squishing in order to keep the plot moving. Wendig knows how to tell a good story, so the pacing is generally pretty quick. Still, every character had several internal monologues where I was saying "OK, I get it," as I wished the author would move on to the rest of the action. This brings me to my next quibble...

2) CHARACTERS: As an epic-in-scope story, WANDERERS has a LOT of main characters who get to command narrative attention and tone in their chapters. Some of them you will like a lot. Others you will dislike, but understand. And still others will make you ask: "Wait, why are you doing that? What's motivating you to think that's a good idea?" I've read enough novels to know I don't have to love or identify with all the characters to enjoy the story, but WANDERERS at times had me puzzled why certain characters behaved the way they did. At worst, it feels like they're acting to advance the plot or just do oddball funny things to lighten the novel's tone rather than behaving in a believable manner. Perhaps this will not bother a less critical reader, but it irked me.

3) POLITICS: If you've ever peeked at Wendig's Twitter feed, you know he's an outspoken progressive—and personally, I agree with him on a ton of levels. My issue here is not that I disagree with his rather bleak view of modern conservatism, but rather that there's not a lot of nuance in how he depicts the American political divide in this book. Outspoken conservatives in this book inevitably end up on the side of monsters, and those sympathetic to such views get co-opted by the monsters and suffer horribly as a result. This won't be a problem for many liberal-minded readers, but where I got hung up was how essentially every character has internal monologues that stop the action to reflect on their political leanings at some point in the story. At worst, these moments feel like the author is signalling us "Don't worry, this character is a liberal" in order to get us to like them. Perhaps this is an inevitable land-mine for a novel set in 2019 America, but I feel like the author is going to irritate or distract a lot of readers by constantly bringing politics into a story that doesn't always require it.

4) PERFORMANCE: There's a pretty marked contrast in acting ability between the two narrators. While Dominic Hoffman has a pleasant voice, he cannot do a British or Irish accent to save his life. What's more, his narration can sometimes become stilted when switching between characters during dialog. Xe Sands is generally better across the board at reading the sections narrated by the female characters, as she empathizes with the characters with more skill. These VO issues don't cripple the book, but I wish the producers had gotten two 5-star voice actors instead of one great voice and one okay voice.

5) SEXUAL VIOLENCE: There's one episode of rape in this book that is both graphic and unexpected, as the character perpetuating it doesn't give much warning that he's capable of this kind of sexual violence in this moment. While it may or may not belong in the story, I found it shocking when it occurred and kept wondering if it was really necessary to the plot. Other readers may not arrive at the same judgment, but I note this here as a trigger warning for anyone who knows they'll be bothered by this kind of content.

CONCLUSION:
WANDERERS is a good, long book that I enjoyed. I felt bothered enough by its imperfections to write this review. I hope this helps you decide if this novel will be up your alley or not.

132 of 137 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ronald Citlau
  • 2019-07-12

A worthy read

Apocalyptic novels are written to explore morality, existence and meaning. At their best, they teach philosophy, religion and ethics while being deeply entertained. The Wanderers”, is the high water mark of the genre. It considers AI, racism, global warming, love, life and death and without being preachy reveals the tenuous position our world is in.

Beyond all that, it was great to listen to. The pace might be too slow for some. But for those who love to be immersed into a story, you won’t do better than this.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephanie J
  • 2019-07-03

Rare thing

I’m 11 chapters in and I can’t stop listening to this book. It’s thoroughly engaging. The science is fascinating. I really want to know why the sleepwalking is happening. I’m enjoying the heck out of this book.

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cathy
  • 2019-07-12

Incredible Story and Immersive Narration

The audiobook for Wanderers is over 32 hours long and now that I'm done listening I wish I had made it last longer. The story Chuck Wendig tells here takes so many twists and turns I have a hard time describing it to other people. Post apocalyptic, global pandemic, the fall of society, the exploration of machine intelligence, the human connections we make in times of crisis. The setting is so believable I found myself washing my hands more frequently and having to pause so I could remind myself the world wasn't going to shit outside my door.

The use of two narrators alternating between the male and female POV characters created an incredibly immersive experience as well. Do not be afraid of the 32 hour listen time - it is time well spent and expertly narrated!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Josh Berthume
  • 2019-08-28

A classic tale of the apocalypse, reimagined

This book is extremely good, especially if you are into similar stories. This hit a lot of the same notes as THE STAND for me, but in some ways it might even be better?!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynnea M.
  • 2019-08-05

Well written adventure story with a very dark ending.

I liked the start to this story, I relished the detail in each character and the unforeseen twists that occurred. I disliked how dark it became as the book got to the last half or so. I imagine it’s probably closer to reality being as dark as it is, but I found myself having to take a few breaks from listening because some of the chapters left me feeling almost stressed out. I give it 5 stars because I feel like the story that was told, came across exactly how the author wanted their audience to feel. It is a very political book, leaning far left and yet it has a strange sci fi aspect to it. Would recommend if you are prepared to face a novel that is meant to make you think long and hard about our political climate, social climate and our ability (or inability) to handle chaos. If you’re looking for something with a warm and fuzzy ending, read a different book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • DavidSep30
  • 2019-07-17

Too long winded in the beginning...

It took just over sixteen hours of listening to catch a little information on why events were occurring the way they did in the story. Once in, things start making sense and you are eager to learn how the story pans out. Overall, the book was okay. I very much disliked one of the main characters, Shana. Shana is such a brat in the story and at times, you want to skip ahead to the next thirty seconds to avoid some of her story line. Shana is one of those characters who does not appreciate who she has in her life until they are no longer in the picture. She will hold back important details, even in the last few moments of the last chapter in the book. I also did not understand why the author presented an A.I. who is supposed to be intelligent, but cannot vocalize responses. Later on in the book you will learn why text output was disabled, but seriously, no vocalization from an advanced intelligence? Seems silly to me. I also thought the rape scene was grotesque, I understood the author wanted portray the character as dominant and showing ownership, but it was unnecessary in my opinion. Benji and Sadie were my two favorites in the book. They could have had their own book and it would have been amazing. I may check out some more options from the author, but if his style is to be so long winded in breaking into the real story - I will check out other authors instead. Enjoy your listening!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William Gardner
  • 2019-07-09

Maybe if Philip K Dick had written The Stand....

Wow. Intense. A couple intensely dark chapters (e.g. Chapter 50). The story also has a certain level of predictability, seemingly of intentional design, which allows Wendig to throw some PKD-ish twists into the plot that you just don’t see coming. There are s few similarities to Stephen King’s “The Stand”, but end result is more like what might have been if King, Phillip K. Dick, and Wm Gibson had collaborated for one incredible kick-ass story.

The performances by Hoffman and Sands were very good as well. Sands in particular, does an exceptional job bringing through the character in the female protagonist’s voice.

Definitely recommend.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • marcus
  • 2019-10-09

Torture porn...

Excepting the moments of graffic torture porn like violence the story was interesting and well written. Narration was good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • kody
  • 2019-10-06

the best modern epic I have ever read

this book covers modern speculative fiction and an apocalypse story along with several point-of-view characters each of which with their own satisfying story arcs. the story was masterfully told and I was very impressed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful