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Review of The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

This June, make sure that you secure your ticket for the unique experience that is The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands. You will travel from Beijing to Moscow through the feared and unusual landscape of the Wastelands, but will you survive to tell your story?

As the crew and passengers on the Great Trans-Siberian Express venture through the Wastelands they peer through the windows in intrigue, but no-one looks back at them, because the creatures that have been labelled ‘monsters’ are watching them, from inside the train!

Initially, going in to this novel, I expected a mystery-fantasy kind of affair, but I felt the book took more of a ‘Agatha Christie if she wrote sci-fi/supernatural fiction’ turn. Under the layers of character building and various individuals’ actions on the train, I felt that this book weaved themes of realisation, secrets and an understanding of those who are different but not meant to be feared. We meet an eclectic cast of characters, from a disgraced naturalist, to a woman lost in the depths of her grief, to a child who has only ever known the train.

Sarah used various POVs within this novel, which initially took me a while to differentiate between, but once I grasped it I was able to journey to the heart of the Wastelands in a comfortable manner, with an intrigue that kept me turning the pages.

Review by Danielle.

TCTGTTW was published on 20/06/24 by W&N.



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