**Disclaimer: If you haven’t read the first book, Passenger, please don’t read this review! It may contain spoilers!
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
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.
I have such mixed feelings about this book. At times I felt like I was pushing through it, just trying to get to the end already. And then I was at the end, and I was kind of sad to find myself there…weird, huh? I toyed for a long time with whether to give this 2.5 or 3 stars. It’s arguably a good book, not fantastic, but good. However, I found myself thinking that while I didn’t regret taking the time to read it, I’m probably never going to pick it up again for a reread, so it ended up with 2.5 stars. Without further ado…
Praise for Wayfarer:
- No love triangles: Enough said. If I never saw another love triangle in my entire life I would be perfectly fine. I would be more than fine. I would be ecstatic! One of my pet peeves is when authors use love triangles as a major piece of the plot conflict. It’s unoriginal and lazy. Bracken doesn’t even go there – thank goodness!
- Social Commentary: I LOVE the idea of using time travel to explore the way different races, genders, and sexual identities were treated across time and in different areas of the world. This worked especially well given that different characters were born in different eras. For example, Sophia was born in a time when women were expected to be seen and not heard. Etta was born in modern-day New York City, a time when women demand gender equality. This provided a perfect opportunity to explore the way women have been treated across time and contrast this to their treatment today. I have no shortage of appreciation for authors who attempt to use their words to bring social injustice to the forefront.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Lengthly Descriptions: In Wayfarer, Etta finds herself traveling through space and time in an attempt to get her hands on the time-altering astrolabe that may be her only chance at righting the timeline. Nicholas finds himself traveling across ages and continents in an attempt to reunite himself with Etta. Bracken uses these settings to introduce readers to a variety of time periods and places, which is kind of cool, especially given that she studied history at William & Mary. What a way to combine your two passions! Unfortunately, the descriptions of these locations, period-appropriate clothing, the weather, etc. took over the book. They slowed down the plot, were confusing at times, and were just plain hard to get through (read: boring).
- Netta’s Separation: One of the things I liked most about Passenger was the way Nicholas and Etta interacted. I loved their romance, I loved their friendship, I loved the way they supported each other without being overbearing. Then they spent the majority of their time apart in Wayfarer. Granted if they’d gone at the rate that they went in Passenger, the romance probably would’ve gotten pretty old pretty quick, but I still missed it and could’ve used a little more of it in this book.
- Slow, repetitive plot: There were a few surprises in the plot (i.e. Henry?!?) but for the most part it was the same thing over and over again: Etta looks for astrolabe, Etta meets someone new who says astrolabe does something other than what she thought the astrolabe did, Etta changes her mind about what to do with the astrolabe when she finds it, and the pattern starts over. Nicholas and Sophia spend most of the book traveling from time to place looking for Etta and running into trouble. Bracken could have cut the book in half and would have achieved the same result with a much more quick-paced plot carried by action rather than descriptions.
All in all, I would recommend giving this a read, especially if you enjoy history and can stick it out through long descriptive passages; however, don’t expect a action-packed page-turner!