Written by Chuck Wendig
Published by Del Rey, July 9th, 2019
My star rating – 4 stars
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 on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens 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. Find it on Goodreads
My review, huh? If that’s what we’re going to call this. It might be better described as incoherent and confusing word vomit where I have a one sided argument with myself. I have so many conflicting thoughts! The one thing for sure though, I really enjoyed this book!!
Before I get into the meat of the review though – it’s circle time kids!!! Everyone sit around and I’ll tell you why this book isn’t for you. There are A LOT of triggers in this book. It’s depicting disease and world extinction so, of course, it’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows. There’s a lot of death and in the worst ways imaginable. There’s physical abuse and violence, suicide, rape…. it’s dark folks. And detailed. There’s a very detailed rape scene of a pastor that you might want to skip. Sweet Jesus (no pun intended) that was a hard read. Adults only children!
First off – it’s intimidating! I mean, she’s a chunky bitch! Coming in at 782 pages, this book is a commitment. Books this long usually take me weeks to read so I was hesitant to start it. Here’s the thing – I flew through it in 5 days…. 5 days! I guess that’s saying something! Yes, it’s long, but the way it was written was perfect. The pace was steady, the writing was fluid, and I was constantly moving to the next chapter to see where this was going to go. I do think that it was a bit long but i’ll get to explaining that in just a minute.
This book was downright terrifying! I can watch the “scariest movies” and read the “creepiest books” and all I do is laugh. It’s usually so outlandish and there’s always a stupid girl who runs up the stairs to a room that won’t lock instead of running away for help. Dumb bitch, the murderer always finds you, no matter how great you think your hiding place is! This – this was far to real. Something like this could actually happen. Ok, maybe not the whole “sleepwalker” thing, but the epidemic that the synopsis mentions. An unknown virus that presents itself as a cold and suddenly turns into something that makes you lose your mind, go insane, and secrete white power from your face….. The predictions of the speed of travel of this disease along with the 100% fatality rate….. NOPE! With the whole coronavirus crisis happening right now, the timing of me reading this book was a little too intense! Actually, this book mentions the coronavirus…… pretty early on as the CDC and WHO were going through the possibilities of what could be happening to the sleepwalkers. Notice the publishing date? July of 2019. The doctor who warned the world about the coronavirus did so in December of 2019….. this was published before then….. I have goosebumps just thinking about it!
I love that this book was told from many perspectives. If it was told from just one person then it would get old really fast. We have Shana who was the sister of the first sleepwalker, Benji who is a scientist fighting for credibility after he made a decision that ended his career, Matthew who is a pastor and man of God and Pete who is a rockstar on the brink of a new world tour before the world went to hell. Those are the main ones but we get more sprinkled in throughout. Seeing this situation from all those angles made this story so big! We have people connected directly and emotionally to the sleepwalkers. Those who are disconnected from the sleepwalkers but trying desperately to put the pieces of the puzzle together to save the world. Those who make assumptions and grasp at straws just so they have an answer. Due to the fact that they didn’t have a single clue what was happening, it was only natural that the CDC would be keeping things from the families of the sleepwalkers until they knew what was happening. But everyone had their own struggles and relationships and the way it all came together was great!
The review is so far so good, right? Here’s where I go off on a bit of a rant. The ending – I HATED the ending!! If you’re wanting a book that wraps everything up and answers all your questions, this isn’t going to be your book. It’s so detailed the whole way through and then BAM! It’s over. I don’t need things to wrap up with a happy ending BUT I much prefer having answers than leaving the ending hanging where you choose your own adventure as to what happens next. Just NO! At almost 800 pages, this book was insanely detailed. Thinking about it, all the things were necessary though! I wasn’t bored by the details in any way. In fact, it propelled me forward and brought suspense and mystery to the table as I tried to play detective and figure out how it was all going to come together. But when it came to the ending, and the opportunity arose to lay out what happened to the sleepwalkers, the author was like “Nope. I’m done. Peace out.” and he dropped the mic and walked away. I don’t feel like he copped out and took the easy way out of finishing the book though. I don’t think he intentionally left it that way. I can see that his point was to make the reader think for days on end about how things would look in the future. I’m not a fan of that though. I still have so many unanswered questions! I think that if he took the time to write page upon page of detail about the possible diseases in the beginning, why couldn’t he have at least taken A SINGLE FREAKING PAGE to describe the ACTUAL situation at hand? WHY!? The ending was so abrupt….. it honestly felt like a publisher mistake where they forgot to include the last chapter.
Even though I struggled with the length and the ending, this was still a book that’s worth the page count! I’ve heard so much about this author and I’m glad I finally got the chance to read one of his books. I plan to read more! I just hope he figured out how to end those ones….
Until next time, happy reading!