Reviews for Wayward Wanderers series, book 2. [electronic resource] :

Publishers Weekly
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Wendig’s sequel to 2019’s Wanderers disappoints, with the sprawling postapocalyptic epic hobbled by heavy-handed political satire­—at one point, U.S. President Ed Creel, a cartoonish Trump stand-in, fights with a man calling himself White Jesus—that overwhelms the more thoughtful elements of the plot. In an alternate present, a Hillary Clinton–like figure, President Nora Hunt, was assassinated during the 2020 White Mask pandemic, which killed millions. Creel then assumed power, but in the wake of the virus, his domain is initially limited to a Kansas bunker. Outside the bunker, those not killed by White Mask struggle to survive, among them former CDC epidemiologist Benji Ray, who is stunned to discover the disease’s true origins. Other of the myriad plotlines feature Shana Stewart, whose pregnancy may give some sense of what future humanity can expect; violent political intrigue surrounding Creel; and Matthew Bird, a pastor trying to reconcile his faith with what he’s learned about an über-powerful AI called Black Swan. There’s not much that feels fresh; both the plot twists and the characters’ inner journeys are predictable and familiar. This is best suited only for diehard fans of the previous volume. (Nov.)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The world as we know it ended in Wanderers, Wendig’s 2019 bestseller. Now what? A sequel to a pandemic novel written during an actual pandemic sounds pretty intense, and this one doesn’t disappoint, heightened by its author’s deft narrative skills, killer cliffhangers, and a not inconsiderable amount of bloodletting. To recap: A plague called White Mask decimated humanity, with a relative handful saved by a powerful AI called Black Swan that herded this hypnotized flock to Ouray, Colorado. Among the survivors are Benji Ray, a scientist formerly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Shana Stewart, who is pregnant and the reluctant custodian of the evolving AI (via nanobots, natch); Sheriff Marcy Reyes; and pastor Matthew Bird. In Middle America, President Ed Creel, a murdering, bigoted, bullying Trump clone, raises his own army of scumbags to fight what remains of the culture wars. When Black Swan kidnaps Shana’s child, she and Benji set off on another cross-country quest to find a way to save him. On their way to CDC headquarters, they pick up hilariously foulmouthed rock god Pete Corley, back from delivering Willie Nelson’s guitar to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This novel is an overflowing font of treasures peppered with more than a few pointed barbs for any Christofacists or Nazis who might have wandered in by accident. Where Wanderers was about flight in the face of menace, this is an old-fashioned quest with a small band of noble heroes trying to save the world while a would-be tyrant gathers his forces. All those big beats, not least a cataclysmic showdown in Atlanta, are tempered by the book’s more intimate struggles, from Shana’s primal instinct to recover her boy to the grief Pete buries beneath levity to Matthew Bird’s near-constant grapple with guilt. It’s a lot to take in, but Pete’s ribald, bombastic humor as well as funny interstitials and epigraphs temper the horror within. IMAX-scale bleeding-edge techno-horror from a writer with a freshly sharpened scalpel and time on his hands. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The survivors of 2019's Wanderers have settled in Colorado in an attempt to rebuild after an AI unleashed a deadly fungus upon the world. They're (mostly) good people in a good town, but the world still contains bad towns. Like America City, where Trumpist demagogues plan plots beneath portraits of white-supremacist president Andrew Johnson. The Black Swan AI is also still around and becoming increasingly more unhinged, taking a special interest in protagonist Shana's new baby, who has started to exhibit some startling characteristics. As sometimes happens with sequels, parts of this feel more languid than the original, and some readers might have trouble staying with the story for its 800-plus-page amble. The narration itself may also prove divisive: readers might think Wendig would ditch his breezy style for a postapocalyptic novel, but, well, he doesn't. Genre fans who appreciate good world building should like the book, though, as well as readers with an appreciation for playful, quirky prose.

Library Journal
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Five years after the events in Wanderers, readers return to Ouray, CO, where they left shepherds Benji, Marcy, and Shana, as they helped the sleepwalkers cross the country. During those years, "white mask" ravaged humanity and killed most of the world's population, but the AI known as Black Swan kept those in Ouray safe. With the sleepwalkers awake and the fungus threat dissipated, the story shifts to how people are living in this new reality. With multiple points of view that keep the pacing up and enhance the character development, a clear political stance, well-placed action, and interesting sequences, most of the terror here comes from the humans, both well-meaning and evil. Readers will experience a rollercoaster of emotions while ensconced in Wendig's meticulously built world and find peace as the story reaches a heartbreakingly beautiful conclusion. VERDICT This high demand sequel to one of the best and most terrifying books of 2019 will delight fans. Suggest both books to fans of epic, post-apocalyptic, socially conscious horror such as Joe Hill's The Fireman, Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro's "The Strain Trilogy," and Justin Cronin's "The Passage Trilogy."