United By Pop received a free copy of Meg Howrey’s The Wanderers in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Title: The Wanderers
Author: Meg Howrey
Overall rating: 4/5
Great for: Lovers of slower-paced and thought-provoking literary fiction.
Themes: Literary fiction, science fiction, contemporary, space, adult fiction.
Review: Non-fiction books focusing on the study of space are my guilty pleasure! So, when I was offered the chance to read this space-inspired story I could not have been more excited.
Whilst a lot different to many of the faster-paced and more action-packed novels I have read on this theme, this offered the genre an entirely new perspective and provided me with a more thought-provoking story than was originally anticipated.
This focuses on the lives of the miscellaneous crew Prime Space have collected to become the first humans to inhabit Mars:
“Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody’s fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it’s an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons.”
Their individual characters have to gel together to become one cohesive, working body, able to handle the tough working environment and close physical space they will be co-inhabiting for the next few years. Given the risky nature of their mission, the chosen three will spend over a year of training in the Utah wilderness, living in a realistic simulation of their impending, adventurous assignment. Prime Space’s Mission Control will throw every possible complication at the crew – from equipment malfunctions and atmospheric anomalies to personal crises and deathly calamities – to observe their actions and reactions.
Each member also comes with their own fascinating back-story that provides understanding, for the reader, about all they are to leave behind. The families of the three are given their own voices, in the story, which adds an additional emotional that really brought their predicament home, for me. These are not three robots. These are human beings with incredible probing minds and an endless desire for adventure and discovery. They are also mothers and husbands, daughters and sons. For them, love and loss are synonymous with each other, and all they are leaving behind becomes as much of the story as the future that is awaiting them.
This book is immense in its capacity for topics to discourse. It manages to cover both weighty and universal topics, such as the trials of space exploration, alongside the character’s inner monologues that deal with their more personal and individual fears and feelings, such as the issues of identity.
This book had a pace that slowly lulled me into the wonder of this tale. This is a book that has action but remains focused on the internal of the characters rather than the outward events that occur. I found this unique and absorbing, precisely because of that, and it has a timeless quality that will ensure this is a beloved tale for all wanderers, for years to come.