ARC REVIEW: The Wanderers – by Meg Howrey

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Title: The Wanderers
Author: Meg Howrey

Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary
First published: February 7th 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Finished reading: March 5th 2017
Pages: 384

“We can look and look, but it’s not like looking will give an answer. There isn’t a right or wrong decision to be made, just a decision.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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As soon as I heard about The Wanderers last year and the blurb mentioned things including its resemblance to The Martian, astraunauts and a mission to Mars, I just knew I had it to my list of most-anticipated releases. I was stoked to be granted an ARC copy and last weekend I had made preparations to be able to fully emerge myself into a wonderful story… But what I found was a completely different experience. First of all, I really feel The Wanderers suffers from false advertisement. Why? It’s being compared to The Martian (which is one of my all time favorite stories), and the two books just couldn’t have been more different.  I think I won’t be the only one to pick up this novel expecting something else, which is a shame because the right target group might enjoy this story a lot better than I did. The Wanderers is more about the psychological effects of the three astronauts who are TRAINING for a mission to Mars (yes, they don’t even go to Mars), and talks mostly about feelings, relationships and what effects such a mission can have on both the astronauts and their family. The story did started to grow on me later on, but I have to be honest to myself and say I don’t think I would have made it to that part if this wouldn’t have been an ARC. The writing is interesting, but a bit dense and combined with the slow pace it was quite a struggle to get through this book. I had also mixed experiences with the main characters. What I liked is that they represented a multi-cultural group and the diversity in characters is a huge bonus. The psychological effects of the long term Mars mission simulation are probably the most intriguing part of The Wanderers, but that doesn’t mean I actually liked every character. All in all not at all what I was expecting.

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In four years Prime Space will send the first humans to Mars, and the three selected astronauts will have to prove they are up for the job. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka and Sergei Kutznetsov will have to spend the next seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created; a perfect simulation of the same mission they will start in four years if they succeed. For Helen, the MarsNOW mission is the last chance to return to space; the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. Yoshi sees it as an opportunity to prove himself worthy of his wife… And Sergei is willing to do what it takes if it gets him to Mars and set an example for his sons as well. Will they be able to show Prime Space that they are the best crew for the mission?

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I was really looking forward to this story, and I think part of reason I ended up being disappointed by it is the incorrect comparison to The Martian. Yes, both have astronauts and talk about a Mars mission, but that’s about it… The Wanderers is just a Mars mission SIMULATION, the story itself focuses mainly on the psychological effects of such a dangerous and long term mission and there isn’t a lot of excitement involved in general. On top of that, a slow pace and sometimes dense prose made it a lot harder to properly enjoy this story… And although the pace picks up a bit later on and the story started to grow on me, I don’t think this makes up for the initial disappointment. Such a shame!


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WWW Wednesdays #127 – March 8th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two pending ARCs… March is really turning into an ARC month, but at least my Netgalley ratio is finally above 80% again! 😀 The first one is The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney, a psychological thriller I’ve heard great things about and I’ll be looking forward to. The second title is an historical fiction read that the author sent to me: The Last Gods Of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer. It took me longer than expected to finally pick that one up, but I’m hoping to finish it before the weekend.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first book I finished since last week is I Found You by Lisa Jewell, which was even better than I thought it would be. Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat and guessing about the facts until the very end. And even though the amnesia element isn’t all that original on its own, it works perfectly together with the rest of the plot. Recommended!
* I then read The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, which I picked up on a whim when I wanted a little break from my ARCs. I totally didn’t realize this was actually a series! There were things I loved about this book, especially the Library/Language elements, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped. Part of the problem is that so many different elements are being squeezed together in the plot that it just all seems a bit chaotic… I mean: magic, science fiction/steampunk, supernatural creatures (vampires, fae, werewolves AND dragons), a superdetective and an evil supervillian in one story? It just seemed a bit too much and mostly distracted from the very interesting idea behind the Library, Language and alternative worlds.
* Next up was The Wanderers by Meg Howrey, a book I was really looking forward to, especially after it was compared to The Martian. Unfortunately, this turned out to be false advertisement, because the two basically have NOTHING in common. The Wanderers mostly focuses on the psychological effects of a Mars mission SIMULATION (Yes, the astronauts don’t even go to Mars), which definitely wasn’t what I had signed up for. Sure, a psychological analysis can be interesting and I liked the diversity of the characters, but overall the pace was quite slow and the sometimes dense prose didn’t really help either. Things improved later on, but I don’t think I would have actually made it to that point if this wouldn’t have been an ARC: In one word: disappointment.
* After two mediocre reads, I had both my fingers and toes crossed when I started reading Renegade Red by Lauren Bird Horowitz. I ran out of time and dived straight into the second book, but it by no means ment I enjoyed it less. I definitely understand the love for this series now, because I had a blast reading this story. A fast pace, interesting characters and plot, well written… It does have a love triangle I’m not sure about, but this is one of the exceptions where I’ve forgiven the story for it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Guess who is finally going to pick up her copy of A Conjuring Of Light?! I’m a huge V.E. Schwab fan and I’ve been wanting to read this final book ever since I finished AGOS last year, so I guess you can imagine how excited I am to be finally reading it. I was initially going to reread the first two books before, but I really don’t have time right now with all those pending ARCs…. Looks like I will be having a Shades Of Magic reread later this year! 😉 I also need to read the two ARCs Bull by David Elliott and Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson, and I might read History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera after that just to change genres a bit. (Ok I confess, it’s also because I REALLY want to read it in the first place.)


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Friday Finds #110 – December 2nd

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FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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