Monday, January 2, 2017

Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken


Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Book Two of the Passenger series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk. 

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives. 

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

What I Liked:

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW. (Unless you haven't read Passenger.)

One-line summary: This book is every bit as fascinating, captivating, and thrilling as its predecessor, and a page-turning, satisfying conclusion to the series.

I was extremely excited when I received this book early for review, but also wary. It's a long book (500+ pages), and the story is at an intense point (from the end of Passenger). I was nervous to read Wayfarer, because there are so many ways that this book could end, and most of them are bittersweet (or just plain cruel). I'm so happy to say that Wayfarer was incredibly engrossing and it ended rather perfectly - Bracken found a way.

This book picks up a little after the end of Passenger. Nicholas and Etta have been separated in time and space. Etta wakes up as a captive of the Thorns, and she meets someone she never thought she'd know. She, Julian Ironwood, and the Thorns set out to secure the astrolabe from Cyrus Ironwood. Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia seek help from Rose Linden, only to be turned around several times. Looking for information, the pair accumulate a number of favors they must return. They meet Li Min, a mysterious and secretive traveler who helps them more than once. But Nicholas has one goal, and that is to find Etta. Sophia wants to find the astrolabe. And Li Min knows more than she is letting on. 

I'm still reeling a little, so bear with me as I go about this review. I've just finished the book and I'm in a pleasant state of shock, partial numbness, and total satisfaction. This book... I don't remember my exact expectations, before starting it. Hoping that Nicholas and Etta would survive and be together? In any case, I'm so pleased by what was written, and its delivery.

One thing I do recommend is a reread of Passenger, or checking out some sort of spoiler-filled review or post. Bracken has a spoiler-y graphic available on her website. I wish I had reread Passenger, because besides the ending, I didn't remember a ton of specifics. The good thing was, as I continued to read Wayfarer, I realized that I didn't need to remember too many specifics, because more and more came back to me. At first though, not the case.

One of the best parts of this book was the character development and introduction/development of new and smaller characters that had no or little role in Passenger. For example, I thought Sophia played a bigger role in this book - an enormous role. She is the most important "secondary" character (arguably a primary character? She doesn't have a narrative in the books though). I understood and liked Sophia so much more, in this book. She seems ruthless and blunt and sometimes harsh, but she is so determined and driven. She is someone you want on your side, because she is a dirty fighter.

Julian Ironwood, Nicholas's half-brother, is another secondary character who quickly becomes very important in Wayfarer. He betrayed his grandfather and sought refuge with the Thorns, which is how he and Etta meet. When she wakes up, she tries to escape, and she runs into Julian. Julian is a coward and a runner, but we get to understand him better in this book. He is an idiot and a poor brother, but he learns this and matures a lot, over the course of this book. 

I enjoyed the presence of Li Min and Henry Hemlock. I won't say much on either of them, but both are vastly important in this book, and play critical roles in pivotal points in the story. I didn't love or hate Li Min, but I adored Henry Hemlock. His interactions with Etta were wonderful.

Etta shows her fight and her tenacity in this book! She keeps moving, with grief, guilt, even pain weighing her down. She knows that Nicholas is out there, and she knows that the astrolabe must be found and taken out of the Ironwoods' grasp. Her goals are lofty but she never quits.

The same can be said about Nicholas. He wants to find Etta and never stops hunting for information and leads. He and Sophia travel to so many different places and times, and make various (terrible) deals for information, to find Etta. Finding the astrolabe is important but to Nicholas, finding Etta is everything. Nicholas has such a pure and good heart, such upstanding morals. He's a good guy who considers everything, weighs everything, and questions everything. I liked seeing how his mind worked, and I liked seeing him push through pain and doubt.

Etta and Nicholas are separated from much of the book, so I can't really say much about physical romance, but their relationship is strong through space and time. It's amazing how they never cease thinking about each other, hoping that the other is alright, and fighting for each other. They do interact at points toward the end of the book, I will say that. 

I died emotionally no fewer than seventeen times while reading this book. There were times when I actually teared up (my Goodreads statuses are proof). There were some painful parts in this book! Bracken took me on an emotional roller coaster. But for the better!

I love the varying settings that Bracken takes us through! Between Etta and Nicholas, we are introduced to so many different times and places. The most interesting, in this book, was probably Carthage, 148 B.C. How intriguing!

By the climax of the book, you'll be wondering how on earth Bracken can end this book with something happy or positive. There seems to be no way, with certain revelations about the astrolabe, and a darker force that is at play, and certain deals with devils that are very unfair. But Bracken made the ending worth all of the anguish and agony! I promise. 

What I Did Not Like:

I don't really have much to say here, other than I do wish there had been more Nicholas/Etta interaction! I don't want to spoil anything, but the romantic in me would have loved more interactions. Of any kind. 

Not really a dislike, but I do recommend a Passenger reread, if that one isn't fresh. For example, I read Passenger over a year ago. A reread might have helped, at least initially. After a certain point in Wayfarer though, some things started to come back.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book, and series! Time-traveling novels can be tricky, and very messy. I haven't read a ton of them, but one of my favorite series of all time happens to be a time-travel series - the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier. I can safely add this Passenger duology to those ranks. This is a wonderful, fascinating, and imaginative series! With a very satisfying ending.

Rating:

4.5 stars. I'm still trying to decide if to round up or down. But rest assured, I loved this book, all 532 pages of it. It is worth the full spectrum of emotions that I experienced! I look forward to reading more from Bracken in the future.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

22 comments:

  1. Ooh nice! I cannot wait to read this one! Though I guess I didn't check the page count on Goodreads because I'm thinking holy crap! 532 pages? I had intended to read this one as soon as my copy arrives so I could theoretically have it done by Friday when Alexandra makes a tour stop in my city. All I can hope is that work will be very very slow this coming week! LOL!

    I wish I had time for a re-read since you're suggesting it, but I am thinking it impossible really. I did find a nice spoilery recap though, so I intend to read that just before starting this one! Glad to hear it was a great read and that ending was right! Though not sure how I will be able to handle the separation of our characters here for most of the book! Great review!!

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    1. Yep, 532 pages! It's a doozy - but an enjoyable doozy. Hopefully you received your copy and you're making headway!

      I wish I had reread Passenger as well! I don't have that time so I definitely understand. Check out her info graphic, if you get a chance.

      Thank you, Jessica!

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  2. I'm happy you enjoyed it so much, Alyssa. I had trouble getting into the first book but I am considering giving it another shot. It sounds like a lot goes on in this one and I especially loved that it was emotional for you. Love those types of books.
    Happy New Year, Alyssa!

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    1. Understandable! These books are a bit dense and slow-moving, but I absolutely love the story. I think I liked this one even more than I liked Passenger. ^_^

      Happy New Year!

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  3. I'm so excited to read this! Passenger is one of my favorite books, so this is definitely one of my most anticipated reads. I'm so glad you loved it!

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    1. YAY! I hope you absolutely love this one, Lekeisha!

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  4. I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed Wayfarer just as much as Passenger, Alyssa! I'm planning on reading these two back-to-back soon and it sounds like I better get ready for some feels in both. Thanks for the lovely review :)

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    1. Thank you! Binge-reading the series is a great idea. :D Enjoy! Thank YOU for commenting!

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  5. Oh you've made me want to continue on with this series! I read (and loved) Passenger but I wasn't sure about this one until I read your review!

    Miranda @ Miranda's Book Blog

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    1. This one is definitely worth the read, Miranda! If you get the chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it. ^_^

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  6. I have Passenger, but I haven't read it yet. Glad to see the series keeps heading in a positive direction. Guess it's time for me to catch up!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. If you binge-read the series, I hope you like the books, Nicole! <333

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  7. My daughter just got Passenger as a Christmas gift and I plan to read it soonish when she is done with it. It is nice to know that the sequel is another good book.

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    1. That's awesome! I really hope you both enjoy the book. And the series in general! =)

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  8. "I died emotionally no fewer than seventeen times while reading this book. " LOL that is very specific XD

    You're the second person who didn't like the main couple's separation in this book. I hate it when that happens, but I'm glad you enjoyed the book regardless! Awesome review :D

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. Ha! You know me, I like the specifics. ;) I'm never a fan of a couple being separated in a book! In this book, it was for about 75% of the story, which is a lot. :/ It really worked though, even if I didn't like it much.

      Thank you, Brittany!

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  9. I have been waiting for this one to release to read both of them. Looking forward to this!

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    1. That's great! I hope you enjoy the series, Angela. =)

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  10. I have not read Passengers yet, but I am glad to see that the second novel was very rewarding and had a great ending! I love when you finish a book and you feel satisfied I hesitate finishing series because I am afraid of the endings sometimes!

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    1. I was extremely satisfied, after finishing this book! It's a lovely ending. :D I'm always afraid of series conclusions! *cough* Leigh Bardugo *cough*

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  11. Yay :D So glad you loved this sequel sweetie. <3 I'm glad it was good :) But aw, yeah, that is the reason for why I haven't read it yet; the romance, haha :D With them not being together for most of the book.. sigh. Makes me so sad :p but glad the book was still awesome :) I suppose I must read it soon too ;p

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    1. The romance was there, but it wasn't! Etta and Nicholas are separated for most of the book BUT the romance always seems *there*, if that makes sense. I hope you enjoy the story, Carina!

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