🎧 Wayward by Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig @xesands #DominicHoffman @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks

Posted May 25, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 18 Comments

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

🎧 Wayward by Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig @xesands #DominicHoffman @PRHAudio  #LoveAudiobooksWayward by Chuck Wendig
Narrator: Dominic Hoffman, Xe Sands
Series: Wanderers #2
Published by Penguin Audio on November 15, 2022
Genres: Dystopia
Length: 34 hours, 26 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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Five years ago, ordinary Americans fell under the grip of a strange new malady that caused them to sleepwalk across the country to a destination only they knew. They were followed on their quest by the shepherds: friends and family who gave up everything to protect them.

Their secret destination: Ouray, a small town in Colorado that would become one of the last outposts of civilization. Because the sleepwalking epidemic was only the first in a chain of events that led to the end of the world--and the birth of a new one.

The survivors, sleepwalkers and shepherds alike, have a dream of rebuilding human society. Among them are Benji, the scientist struggling through grief to lead the town; Marcy, the former police officer who wants only to look after the people she loves; and Shana, the teenage girl who became the first shepherd--and an unlikely hero whose courage will be needed again.

Because the people of Ouray are not the only survivors, and the world they are building is fragile. The forces of cruelty and brutality are amassing under the leadership of self-proclaimed president Ed Creel. And in the very heart of Ouray, the most powerful survivor of all is plotting its own vision for the new world: Black Swan, the A.I. who imagined the apocalypse.

Wayward is the sequel to The Wanderers.  They are both long books, covering a pandemic, white nationalism, artificial intelligence and other timely social issues which were not as prevalent at the time the books were written.  For me, it was the combination of a good story with many issues to consider from different perspectives.

It’s almost impossible to review without spoilers for the first book.  The “flock”  as they were called had nanite robotics in them which protected them from the white mask pandemic.  They marched to Ouray, Colorado where they were in stasis for about 5 years.  There were also shepherds, typically family and friends, who went along as they marched to protect and stay with them.  There were attacks on the group and some of the flock and shepherds were killed.

Now five years later,  Shana has her baby.  Benji is still there, grieving Sadie. Marcy is still acting as Sheriff. Matthew is running a church.  Nessie, as the first walker, is on the council and has great belief in Black Swan, the AI, running the nanites.  But when Shana has her baby, Black Swan takes him to be his “body” so he can further his being and control.  Shana and Benji are against that and eventually leave to find out how to stop Black Swan.

Nessie is put in charge of baby Charlie.  As those infected with nanites, become more strange and Black Swan sees himself as a god, Nessie becomes less enamored of him.  Matthew is totally disillusioned and takes off as well.  Marcy, like Nessie, was a true believer, but also eventually sees the downward spiral.

While things are deteriorating in Ouray, Shana and Benji make their way to Atlanta to the CDC.  They have adventures and difficulties, on the way and once they arrive.  They are certainly smart and passionate for what they believe is right.  Shana wants her child.

There two other storylines. Ed Creel, a white supremacist and misogynist, declared himself president as the pandemic starts.   Also, we hear about the travels of Autumn, Matthew’s wife, but I didn’t understand it was her until the end.  I was most invested in Shana, Benji, Marcy, Pete, and somewhat Shana, and Matthew.  Pete was really a humorous but also blunt reality guy.  I enjoyed him.

The duology really weaves in many moral and ethical issues.  Certainly some of the viewpoints were horrifying to me, and others. In some cases, the choices were limited and it was about making the least bad decision.  I enjoyed this thought provoking read.


Xe Sands has long been a favorite narrator for me.  I enjoyed her performance.  Dominic Hoffman was new to me, but I was comfortable with his performance also.  There were distinct voices for different characters which felt right to me.  I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip: HERE

About Xe Sands

Award-winning narrator known for credible characterizations and an intimate delivery with more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art. I believe an authentic performance demands authentic connection to the text and subtext.

About Chuck Wendig

Author: Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, Wanderers, and the upcoming Book of Accidents (July 2021). He’s also worked in a variety of other formats, including comics, games, film, and television. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his books about writing. He lives in Pennsyltucky with his family. His agent is Stacia Decker, with Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.

Rating Breakdown
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Narration (Audio)
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Posted May 25, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 18 Comments

18 responses to “🎧 Wayward by Chuck Wendig