February 25, 2021
I only recently started reading Chuck Wendig -- I started with Double Dead -- and it's been very interesting to see his writing style evolve. The utilitarian prose in his earlier work has deepened and smoothed over time. To be fair, I've only dipped a bit into his catalog: the other books of his I've read are Unclean Spirits, Bad Blood and Blackbirds. I found all to be entertaining, but Wanderers is significantly more complex in structure. I particularly enjoyed the multiple layers of paralleled stories -- its symmetry was very satisfying. It's tempting to compare Wanderers to The Stand, which I read 20 years ago, but I found hubris to be a more compelling villain in the end than the supernatural Flagg. Though The Stand had the literal devil in it, it felt like Wanderers incorporated more religious touchstones, both directly through the pastor and religious stand-ins and thematically. Given recent events, it was timely in both its depiction of a pandemic and the descent into fascism. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel, though I felt the story wrapped up well enough to stand on its own.