I recently got off work a bit early (one of the many down sides of being a Fry Minion, you get sent home because of “labor costs.”) and having nothing to do but surf my phone, downloaded a reader (how did I live without one?) and started perusing my to-be-read pile, which is quite large. Wayward was one of the first books in the stack, (it was ahead of its prequel, even, which I have not read.) I’m used to starting series in the middle – I actually do it as something of a litmus test for new writers I’m trying – but to put it gently, I was highly unimpressed with Wayward. Perhaps it’s because my last quarter of college included sociology and anthropology: I don’t feel the story stayed at all true to human nature. But that’s neither here nor there. The good news (more or less) was that it was readable, if not engrossing, and suitably thrilling for the general description given (murder mystery with dystopian elements.) The bad news is that the story is disjointed, elements are askew, and Crouch pulls all his punches.
If you’re going to hold our hands all through a point (such as the murdered woman’s parentage) the point is that you either mislead us like mad or you hit us so we never saw it all coming. You don’t tell us the mystery, then regurgitate what you just told us, then tell us a third and fourth time (No, I’m not exaggerating.) You throw the punch and saunter off while we gasp. If you don’t do that, there’s no punch. This book seriously lacks punch. It’s just too…cuddly…for dystopia. Everyone’s so happy! Lives are all so perfect! Arranged marriages are a blast! Nobody worries at all about what Junior is learning in grade school! Especially not since, you know, the kids have been told to tell their parents not to ask! That’s so totally legit!
And now you know the truths about Wayward Pines: that it is the last human civilization, held together (and created by) a megalomaniac who is obsessed with brand names (it’s like 3000 years in the future, but they have Jeep Wranglers and Levi jeans. For srs.) For shits and giggles, because he’s *so naughty,* he ordered his wife and daughter murdered (different times, same reasoning) and he’s secretly tracking the whole town (and peeping in on people during sex, to boot.) His disjointed master plan failed to rein in a revolutionary element (without it, would this be a dystopian? I think not.) and he must trust his sheriff to conquer them by infiltrating them, because he used to be the partner of the lead suspect (and although it totally doesn’t seem to matter to the plot of this book, they were lovers, too.) Also, the last time the town rose up against someone, it was against the sheriff. But that’s all in the past and everything’s forgiven!
Yeah. This book gave me a headache. The action was passable, the story not really well thought out. It was good enough to read on a bench while I waited for my ride home, but if I weren’t a speed reader and my selections hadn’t been limited, I would have given up on this novel without a second thought. It was pap.