Del Rey: Ballantine. Jul. 2019. 800p. ISBN 9780399182105. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399182112. SF
When Comet Sakamoto passed over Earth, no one thought much about it. But the next morning, the sleepwalking began. At least it seemed like sleepwalking, as 18-year-old Shana discovers her little sister gone from her bed. However, those caught in this malady cannot be woken, and those who try to stop them experience horrifying consequences. As Shana follows her sister and the others who come together on the way, she emerges a “shepherd,” along with other friends and family members, who watch over their loved ones on their unknown journey through America. In the meantime, the response across the country ranges from religious zealotry to endtimes fear, which may not be too far from reality. With the addition of a government AI called Black Swan, a disgraced scientist, a charged election, and a growing radical militia, this story of a search for answers and survival moves beyond political or moral choices to the light and dark in everyone’s minds and hearts.
VERDICT A powerful story about humanity, technology, and the survival of the world. Comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand are warranted, as Wendig (Zeroes) shatters the boundaries of speculative and literary fiction in a saga that will touch every reader. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
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