The Dreamers eschews typical disaster plotting; there’s no Purge-level anarchy or menace. Instead this is an exquisite work of intimacy. Walker’s sentences are smooth, emotionally arresting—of a true, ethereal beauty ... we’re invited into the dreamers’ worlds, and there, in the slumbery depths, this book achieves its dazzling, aching humanity.
Most captivating is a paranoid doomsday-prepper who lives with his two young daughters—and has been waiting for a day like this ... Walker uses evocative language to describe the almost bewitching nature of contagion ... The novel reads like a thriller, with every chapter—sometimes every scene—ending on a cliffhanger.
... inventive, well-crafted ... Seamlessly, the author circulates through the town and a specific constellation of characters ... [Walker's] choice in perspective — combined with the use of the present tense — produces an immediate and urgent portrait of the mounting public health crisis and how the characters’ lives are shaped by the epidemic. Here and there, the narrative gallops at an accelerated pace, almost tilting toward the melodramatic, but, for the most part, Walker bypasses this pitfall. At the same time, despite the dire circumstances, the omniscient narrator’s voice, buoyant yet sympathetic, propels things along. There are a few minor missteps — convenient plot turns and character developments... but these are easy to overlook ... Taken altogether, [Walker] produces precarious, tender portraits of parents and children — newborns, teenagers and adults — and suggests that these relationships are what save us in the end.