Monday, March 27, 2017

The Wanderers

The Wanderers (The Wanderers, #1)

The Wanderers is a book that's been on my TBR for a long time. I finally got to reading it and it turned out to be quite good. It's the story of a girl named Flo who can shift into a horse, and she's part of a circus comprised entirely of shifters. They go from location to location, barely scraping by, always on the lookout for hunters- covert agents who are aware of them and will kill or capture them on sight. I liked the idea of a circus of shifters, and this is the first book I've read with so many different animals- there are elephants, bears, cheetahs- and no paranormal creatures like werewolves. That was kind of a refreshing change, and so is the idea that shifters are so widespread- there are rogue packs out there that are often found and neutralized, and members come and go from the circus. There are also three elders that run the circus- all three of them lions- and they have secrets as well. 

Flo is mostly likable and I thought her depiction was pretty realistic. She's only sixteen so it's realistic that she would be afraid, or uncertain, and every time I thought geez Flo get it together, I had to remember she's so young. And she's going up against experienced hunters who know what they're doing and are well- armed, including with special items that are anathema to shifters. Not only that but most of the other performers are young as well, so you have kids going up against adults. 

I didn't think this had a lot of action, but it didn't feel slow. In fact the short punchy chapters kept the story flowing and I wanted to learn more about this world. Other reviews have said the action doesn't get going until the second half, and that's somewhat true, but it kept me turning the pages. I thought it needed more action in the front end but it wasn't a dealbreaker for me. And whenever I thought Flo a little whiny or indecisive, I had to remember- she's sixteen. And it made it feel more real that she's not a killing machine even though I wanted her to kick a little more ass. 

In fact the whole group- we're talking bears, big cats, elephants for crying out loud- could have been a little more fearsome, more effective, but again these are teens going through a traumatic experience. They're not natural killers. And they've been trained to suppress their animal selves, so when the time comes that their animal instincts would be useful, they're not accustomed to doing that. I like that that conflict was explored a bit. 

The other thing I really liked was the idea of the packs. This particular one hid in plain sight as a circus, but it's mentioned that that there are other packs, hiding away or occasionally even preying on humans. A lot of it has to do with how they address their animal selves. I look forward to learning more about this in the next one, and also seeing where the shifters go next. So again, this is a nice shifter read, it could have used more action and I wish the shifters had been more formidable, but I had a lot of fun and if the premise appeals to you I would definitely give it a shot. 

36 comments:

  1. Finally the Wanderers review! I feel like you've been talking about this one forever, and I've been curious lol.

    Idk if I'm just really tired or what, but "geez Flo get it together" is really cracking me up. But I totally get what you're saying. I think we expect too much from teen characters sometimes, and I've also had to remind myself the character in a book is still young. And when I remember that, I appreciate that the author made the character realistic for their age.

    The whole circus of shifters thing sounds neat though! I think it makes sense they wouldn't all be killers and would struggle with that. Glad you enjoyed the book even though it didn't have much action.

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    1. I know right? Finally!! lol and I DID say that a few times- I thought Flo needed to get her shit together. I mean KAtniss Everdeen she's not. But yeah she's only sixteen- have to be realistic I guess.

      I loved the idea of the circus being all shifters. And unusual shifters at that. Traveling around w/ their secrets- I liked it. And they tried to suppress their animal natures to some extent- only to find they needed them.

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  2. I really hate whiny characters. It's one of the reasons I stopped reading YA...I just hated characters that act more like toddlets than teenagers! I like the idea of the circus shifters and hunters though.

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    1. *toddlers not toddlets! Sorry!*

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    2. She might be a little whiny- I thought so- but then I thought what would a sixteen yr old do if people showed up and started killing everyone? lol

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  3. Hi Greg – Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been reading some of your posts.

    Your site is impressive.

    This book sounds good. The idea Shape shifters has been around for a long time but it seems that good authors can still do a lot with them.

    There is also something about circuses. They make for great fictional settings

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    1. Thanks Brian! Loved your Ringworld post. And yes shifters have been around- this one surprised me because no werewolves, rather an eclectic mix of regular animals, more or less. Not a bad YA read.

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  4. A circus full of shape shifters? That does sound like a fun read. I could see myself wanting Flo to get her act together too based on that description, but it definitely sounds like a realistic portrayal of a teen protagonist. I may have to add this one to my TBR. Great review!

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    1. It was! Loved the concept. Can't wait for the next one!

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  5. This sounds good! I cannot stand whiny characters either. Thanks for this review!

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    1. You're welcome. :) It was a good one.

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  6. This definitely sounds interesting. I don't think I have ever read about shifters in this kind of a context (and without werewolves ) but love a circus setting. Great review!

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    1. It was different- no werewolves! Kinda nice, and I loved the circus setting.

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  7. I definitely think I will like this one so it's about time I pick it up. In reading your review, it sort of reminds me of a YA Menagerie by Vincent except a lot of her shifters are paranormal, just not the kind you usually run across. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

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    1. I hope you read it. I know reviews have been mixed- one blogger I know very well hated it and another liked it ha ha. But I thought it was good.

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  8. This sounds like a super interesting concept for a book. I love circusy books, so already that would something I'd enjoy about it. Honestly I hadn't heard about this book until now, so I'm going to have to do some Goodreads research on it and see what the general consensus is...

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    1. I liked the shifter/ circus setting a lot.

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  9. I'm not the biggest fan of Shifter books but the premise of this is really intriguing, especially because there are so many differnt types of shifters. Sounds like a good read. Great review!

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    1. I haven't read a ton of shifter books but I likd this one- maybe BECAUSE it wasn't werewolves or the usual stuff, it was pretty different.

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  10. Kind of reminds me of Menagerie and you have me at the world-building in this one. Even with the niggles about the characters, it still intrigues me. I may have to see if my library carries it!

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    1. I keep hearing about MEnagerie and I really need to read that.

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  11. I haven't heard of this one before. I like that it has more unusual shifters and keeps the usual suspects out of it. This definitely has an interesting premise. I have to remind myself sometimes too that a character is young and to cut them a bit of slack. I can absolutely understand wanting her to be a little more kick ass though, but hopefully that will come in the future ones with time. Fantastic review!

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    1. I liked the unusual shifter bit a lot, made it unique. And yeah I had to cut her slack because of her age- but I thought it was realistic since they were taught to hide, not fight.

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  12. lol I think you lost me at "shift into a horse." I really love horses, but I'm also kind of creeped out by circuses. Maybe this one is not for me!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Aww yeah that's not for everyone! To be honest the idea of a horse shifter (or elephant for that matter) seemed a little weird to me at first! there's even a parrot shifter lol. But she focused in on them as kids more than animals and I thought it worked.

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  13. This sounds like such a different take on a familiar genre. I haven't paid too close attention to the talk about this book, but you definitely have me curious, Greg. I will have to give this one a try. Thanks for your great review!

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  14. I've never heard of this one! It sounds great though and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Fantastic review! 😀

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    1. It was good! I think you should red it ha ha. I think you might like it!

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  15. This sounds intriguing. I've seen a lot of shifter books but have never read one. I like that there's such a wide range and I like the sound of Flo and her mostly likableness!

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  16. Sounds like an interesting read. Yeah, the thing with YA characters is that you have to keep their age and the way they behave in perspective.

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  17. I have a little aversion going on with circuses stories because of the menageries but glad to hear to enjoyed it :)

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  18. Glad you liked this book more than I did. Ha ha. It was a writing mechanics disaster for me. It was basically a dnf for me, but I was still interested enough in the characters to skip to the end to read what happened to them. :)

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  19. I will have to check this out. It sounds kind of like Menagerie, but a lighter version, and I loved Menagerie! :)

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  20. It sounds very interesting. I have never heard of the book before(

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  21. LOVE the sound of this. Thanks for linking up Greg. I wouldn't know about these novels if you didn't!
    #ToTT

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  22. Thanks for linking up with #ToTT

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