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Wayward by Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines #2)

Wayward by Blake Crouch is a book I’ve read quite recently, and I’m aware that there are older books I still need to review, however the Wayward Pines series featuring Matt Dillon is still on TV,  so I thought it’s best to finish reviewing the trilogy before the series ends.

Right now the 10 part mini-series is well into the second book, if not already started the third.

So Wayward, the second book in the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch.

Before I continue, do note that there might be spoilers from the first book, and possibly even spoilers from the second one. However if you’re watching the mini-series on TV, most of this will already be familiar to you.

The story in book #2 pick up right after the first one ended. In Pines we have secret service agent Ethan Burke arriving to the small idyllic town on a mission to search for two of his FBI colleague who were last seen in this very town some weeks before, prior to them going totally off the radar.

Ethan soon realizes that not only he can’t leave the town now that he’s there, but noone else can either. What’s worse, people can’t even mention their lives before, can’t rebel, can’t try to leave the town, or else. And the ‘else’ has been very explicitly shown both in the book and on screen when there was a ‘reckoning’ for someone who broke the rules. Tough stuff that reckoning, and you’ll have to read the book to see just what it entails.

Pines ends with a major reveal, one that sets the tone for Wayward, the second book in the trilogy.

Once the secret is out, Ethan is now one of the very few who know the truth about the town and what lies beneath the fence that surrounds it. He’s now an insider. And while usually the truth sets one free, in this case it’s one truth that he wished he’d rather never found out.

The old sheriff, Pope, is gone (and you have to read the first book to find out how and why), so long life the new sheriff. Which is none other than Ethan Burke.

His first task: investigate a murder in the tiny town with a population of less than 500 souls.

His investigation soon takes him to an underground movement of people fed up with the secrecy and imprisonment within the town, investigation which gets him somewhat closer to his estranged – but at least here with him – wife and son. Because yes, both his wife Theresa and his son, are now here in Wayward Pines, which is a another mystery in itself.

Ethan’s son is enrolled at the local school. Parents are not allowed inside the building and children are not allowed to share anything with their parents that they’ve learned at school, or else.

While the book doesn’t explicitly mentions, the TV show spells it out clear enough: the kids are taught the truth about what is beyond the fence and why they must keep quiet about it. Quite the heavy burden for anyone, especially children, to bear.

And that’s as much as I will reveal here (which is already too much, but I’m thinking you might have already watched most of the episodes on TV and you know what the whole story is about).

The second book starts a bit slower than the first one. The first book is – excuse my choice of words – a real mindfuck. Literally.

Wayward, however, has a strong dystopian feeling to it. Once we know the big secret, everything changes, and the book does the genre change elegantly, without us realizing the shift, until it has already happened. The vibe to this book is very different from the first. Some people might like it more, others less. As I love dystopian fiction, this second book was much more up my alley than Pines (although I loved Pines as well).

Now we know, the secret is out (at least for the readers), and we are left with trying to survive in Pines, that tiny closed society where nothing is as it seems.

The first book was pretty much about Ethan Burke, his struggles to make sense of everything that is happening to him and around him.

The second book shifts the attention to the mastermind behind it all, Thomas Pilcher. We learn about his past, why he did what he did, and what are his intentions with the town. We see and absorb everything through Ethan’s eyes, but here the scope is wider.

While Pines was action packed and surprises came at us every second page, Wayward is much deeper. The pace is slower, but that doesn’t mean that the suspense is less. We just get to know more about what is going on. And the ending…

Oh boy the ending has just as a strong cliffhanger as the first book…luckily I already had all 3 books loaded on my Kindle, so I could start book #3, The Last Town, as soon as I’ve turned the last page of the current book.

Overall, after the secrets were all out at the end of the first book, I was worried that the second part of the trilogy would be a filler, which usually is the case in most trilogies. I am happy to say that I was wrong: Blake Crouch definitely knows how to keep the suspense going, and the tension, the uncertainty factor and the suspense is all there – in a way maybe even more so than in the first book, even though the action is more sparse here.

My next review will be about The Last Town, the conclusion to the trilogy, and you can find my review of Pines, the first book in the series, here.

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