Review: The Wayward

This book is now available for pre-order! I am thankful to be a part of the launch team and received a free ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Christian-made hopeful dystopian. Realistic relationships. Loving married couple. Surviving trauma. Alien invaders welcomed on earth. Value of human life.  Free country living vs controlled and lifeless domed cities. Truth revealed. Adult/YA.

5 stars because this is a well-written, thrilling, yet hopeful sci fi adventure! This book took me by surprise because it doesn’t feel like science fiction/ dystopian right away.  I saw one reviewer aptly refer to this book as “cottagecore sci fi!” I highly recommend this for a reader who wants to “get their feet wet” in the sci-fi/dystopian genre. Set in North America in 2079 long after aliens are welcomed on earth as bringers of peace, the reader finds out that things are not what they seem.

Wilder is a relatable character who doesn’t seek leadership but rises to the occasion to defend her town despite the tragedies she suffers through. The relationship between her and Declan is uplifting and realistic. It’s nice to have a sweet married couple as the story’s main characters without being steamy. Their initial romance was a bit sappy for my taste, but here I am splitting hairs. I want to live in the tightknit mountain community of Beartooth and attend the simple church services there. The contrast between the free-thinking, tough, and loving humans of Beartooth and the willfully ignorant, weak, and self-centered humans of the carefully curated domed cities is stark.

The story is told 3rd person from 6 different POV’s and I enjoyed that! The concept of the aliens in this story is fascinating, and their POV’s are central to the story. This seems to be a standalone story, although I would love a sequel spending more time with some of the characters! The world building is good, but I wanted more explanation about the alien’s origins. The ending leaves a few questions, and I believe the author may have left them intentionally open-ended. There are scary/disturbing elements of this story but nothing gratuitous (see spoilers for more details). The ending is thrilling but satisfying!

Scroll down for additional thoughts… (Spoiler alert!) Please do not continue reading unless you have already finished the book!

Additional Thoughts. SPOILERS! Comment if you have read the book and what you thought!

This book can be intense but nothing gratuitous because (Spoiler alert!) there is mental/physical torture, soul sucking, human sacrifice, and the aliens are frightening when they reveal their true form. Tackling aliens can be a difficult one for Christians authors who place them in a real- world situation.  One of the main themes is God’s special creation of the human soul. These aliens claim to kill humans and drink their souls for survival. Later it’s revealed that they can physically live without doing this, but they have no souls so they feel spiritually empty without sucking the human souls. At the end, the repentant alien Hesperia (who is a great character!) comes to live with the humans at Beartooth and it is hinted that maybe she can find a soul without killing humans? This makes me think that maybe they do have souls but they don’t think they do because their culture has drilled it out of them???? These aliens would have to be God’s creations… but maybe they weren’t given souls? They claim to be an ancient race… whose souls did they eat before coming to earth? Also, there are supposed to be more aliens coming to earth but the ending never suggests if they do or if so, what happens. Fascinating… I want to pick the author’s brain on what her theories were when writing this and if she will ever revisit it! Also- I wanted to cry with joy at the end when Wilder and Declan adopted one of the rescued babies and she looked similar to them! This was such a great ending especially when she was devastated to be barren.

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