The best of Helen Kane exists in space. If she doesn’t go back up, she’ll be consigned to a lesser version of herself on a planet that has also seen better days. Helen is an experienced astronaut with a NASA position and a struggling grown-up daughter who needs her but when, at fifty-three, she is offered a place on the training programme for the first mission to Mars, the most realistic simulation ever, she cannot refuse a last chance to walk among the stars. Her fellow astronauts are Sergei, a gruff Russian whose teenage sons are less mysterious to him than they’d like to think; and Yoshi, who wants to prove himself worthy of the wife he has drifted apart from. The three will be enclosed for months in a tiny craft, while outside their loved ones negotiate everyday life on Earth. How far will the wanderers travel in the pursuit of endeavour, and what will it be like to come home?
I really enjoyed reading The Wanderers. I haven’t read much science fiction books, so before starting this I was exciting to diving into a book about space. Now having read the book I wouldn’t say its a normal science fiction story, yes the book is about space, but for me the story is more about the characters.
The Wanderers is about Helen, Yoshi and Sergei, who are astronauts training for a mission to Mars. To prepare the astronauts for their mission they are sent to a training camp that simulates what Mars is like to see how they would cope on the real mission. The story is not just about the three astronauts, its also about a character from each of the astronauts family. The story switches perspectives with each chapter so you get to know the astronauts and their family more as you continue to read.
I see this more of a character driven book than a science fiction book because each chapter goes in depth with each character, and you do end up learning quite a bit from just reading a chapter. Not knowing this before I started did make starting this book a little difficult because I was thinking to myself ‘when is the science fiction part of the book going to start?’. But after getting used to the switching perspectives and the fully in depth chapters, I did enjoy reading this book and I definitely become invested in the characters.
I managed to read The Wanderers in a couple of sittings over a couple of days. After getting into the story and the characters I found the book easy to read and even easier to get lost in. The different perspectives definitely made me read more of the book because I would always want to read more about my favourite character.
One of the reasons I carried on reading the book at the beginning, even though I was finding the heavy detailed character development hard to read, was the writing. I have never read anything by Meg Howrey before, but after reading this now I will be checking out her other books because I found the writing both interesting and engaging. Yes sometimes there was a lot of information to process sometimes but the writing makes it a little easier to take it all in and understand it.
I would definitely recommend this book to people who like to read a well researched and well written character driven book. If you are looking for a science fiction book with action and explosions every other page, then perhaps this novel is not for you. The Wanderers is more about characters and their relationships with their family, friends and colleagues. Even though The Wanderers turned out to be something I wasn’t quite expecting, I still enjoyed reading it.
I rate this book 4/5 stars
***I was sent a copy of this book to review. Everything in this review is my own honest opinions.***
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