Cover image from Goodreads.com
Clocking in at 780 pages, this novel is weighty. So weighty I almost passed on it. Thankfully, the narrative style made this an easy read.
Nessie doesn’t exactly wake up one day. Instead, she sleepwalks out the door and down the road. Soon, she’s joined by others in a similar state. Nothing can wake them. Nothing can pierce their skin. If you try to hold one back, that person expands like a balloon and pops in a most gruesome manner.
In the midst of this is a pandemic. A fungal infection has entered humanity and is killing them, first slowly, then a cascade reaction takes out most of humanity pretty fast. This was a bit eerie to read as the novel was published a year before COVID became a household name.
The novel is told in alternating points of view and reveals who created these wanderers and why.
Overall, the novel kept my attention. The author was excellent at reminding the reader of the characters’ motives, attitudes, and physical descriptions. At first I found this bothersome but as the pages turned I was grateful for the small reminders because otherwise I’d have too much information to hold in my head all at once.
One nitpicky bit: there was a love storyline between two people, Benji and Sadie, which felt clumsily written, like someone was writing about a fantasy love story rather than a depiction of how two people behave.
Otherwise, this novel was decent. I enjoyed it enough to read the sequel. The characters were diverse and interesting enough to hold my attention, and the plots of the wanderers and the pandemic were well enough written (if a bit gory and gross in parts) that I never lost the thread.
Would I read more by the author, other than the sequel? Maybe, if they aren’t quite so large, or if I have nothing else pressing to read.