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 am beyond embarrassed for how long it took me to finally pick up this book. This book came out way back in January and I kept telling myself “oh, I need to get Wayfarer! I wanna read it!” But I just….didn’t. There isn’t even any real explanation, I simply did not read this book. I kept forgetting about it coming out and how it was always there, waiting for me to buy it. But to be fair, it took me like 2 months to read Passenger (not that the writing was bad, I just got distracted) so I guess it was fitting for me to constantly put this one off. Actually wait, I told my best friend to buy this for me for my birthday and SHE DIDN’T BUY IT FOR ME so we can blame it on her. Fastforward 9 months and finally, FINALLY, I have read this book. And again, it was stupid of me to delay it so long because I forgot basically everything that happened in the first one but shout out to Alexandra Bracken for having an entire summary on her website; it saved my life. Though I feel like I should get some bonus points because I read this one a lot faster than I read Passenger. Overall, I thought this was a really solid duology! While the concept of time travel gives me so much anxiety (more on that later) I love the world that Bracken created and the characters along with it. There were a couple minor things that bothered me but in the end it was a rather enjoyable read.
I’d love to get through this review without spoilers, but I don’t think I can so a SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.
- I think my favourite thing about this entire series as a whole is that there’s representation. This is something that Bracken also included in her other YA series, The Darkest Minds, but those character were more of minor characters. But here, Nicholas, a black man, is one of the two main characters and that’s honestly such a rarity in YA (which is sad) but it’s been getting better as of late and I love that Bracken is contributing to this. And later in this book we also meet Li Min who is a Chinese mercenary and while she’s more of a minor character, she’s important both for representation and for the story. Though the main focus is the relationship between Etta and Nicholas, an interracial relationship at that, let’s not forget the relationship between Sophia and Li Min which, again, is great and important. I feel like it would be really inappropriate not to have so many people represented in a story that is literally all throughout history and while there could be a bit more, I’m still glad these characters were included and represented, especially one being a main character.
- I loved the addition of all the new characters, especially Henry and Julian. Let’s start with Henry: I had a feeling that when Etta woke up in San Fransisco that the man who was, for lack of a better word, “holding” her was her father but I had no idea it was Henry Hemlock! That was a twist I loved. While I couldn’t figure out if he was really telling her the truth or if I could trust him (I blame my trust issues), the bonding that went on between them was so good. I liked that while they were kind of getting used to each other and the idea of being father and daughter, they found things in common and developed some kind of love. I loved how Henry would be filled with pride when Etta would tell him her accomplishments and how Etta would feel when he showed her off to the tsar. It just seemed like they created a really good relationship in a short amount of time and Henry seemed like an all around good guy. Now, Julian Ironwood, my my. Honestly, he really reminded me of Cole Stewart from The Darkest Minds in the way he was confident and flirty but again it was just a mask for how terrified he was of his grandfather. I’m pretty sure he served as comic relief most of the time but I loved it. And I loved that the friendship between him and Etta was a begrudging one and how she wanted to punch him most of the time. But he also never made a move on Etta and actually seemed to respect her and that’s something I can really appreciate. He was such a great character and I truly love him.
- While it makes me angry, the whole criss-crossing of Etta’s and Nicholas’ paths was a really good plot device because it’s something that makes you want to keep reading. You keep hoping that they’d find each other soon or they’d bump into each other but all you get it them merely missing each other or one of them watching from afar. So yeah, on a shipping level it makes me crazy but on a plot level it’s fantastic.
- I’m not gonna say anything specific about the auction but all you need to know it was INSANE and probably one of the best parts of this book. It had everything and more.
- At the end there’s a final time jump of a year later after Etta returned to her own time and usually this is something that would bother me but I actually didn’t mind it this time. I liked that that entire year of Nicholas going on that journey and fixing things wasn’t dragged out for endless chapters and neither was Etta getting her life back dragged out. I can say that it’s probably something I wish I could’ve seen but in reality it’s better that it wasn’t because it just would’ve kept going and going and going. This book was long enough; we didn’t need more than what we got.
- I honestly loved the ending of this book and it felt beyond satisfying. I loved that there was a solid explanation for why Nicholas has this new power and how it was ultimately why Rose wanted Etta to have it. It helped Nicholas understand what it meant to be a time traveller and it also helped Etta to understand her mother more and put them back in a good place. The end really made me want to cry, it was so beautiful, especially the part where Nicholas was talking about found families and how much his found family meant to him. It was perfect, to be honest.
- There were a few times here and there where I felt like the pacing was somewhere between decent and slow. Like some parts were things that had great pacing and constantly kept your interest but other parts kind of had you thinking “why is this still going on? Come on, let’s keep going.” I think there are a few parts of this book I could’ve done without, like the amount of time spent in Carthage or even the nonsense at the beginning with Nicholas and Sophia waiting for Rose. I get why they mattered but I guess they could’ve been shortened, that’s all.
- Ok, we gotta talk about the time travel crap. Sure, from a plot device standpoint it’s great. It’s something that you always dream of, going back in time and seeing things in the past, but oh my god, WE CANNOT MESS WITH THE TIMELINE. Why does it seem like this is something only Marty McFly can understand??? Barry Allen sure as hell doesn’t understand this and he ruined all of his friends’ lives because of this. I love time travel but I also hate it because no one thinks of the timeline. Honestly you’re safer going to the future because you can’t mess anything up but if you go to the past? You’re screwed. Unless you’re met with the loophole of “this is how it was always meant to happen” then that’s fine. But yeah, it just gives me so much anxiety.
- As a history major, it really pissed me off seeing all the timeline changes. First of all, I couldn’t figure out which was the true original timeline and if everything Ironwood did created our current timeline and current history or if that was the original one. But finding out that the tsar of Russia was alive in 1919 literally made me lose my mind. I was like “[Yzma voice] the tsar of Russia?? He’s supposed to be dead!!!!!” What was happening to my beloved history?? So I hated that the timeline reset but I also loved it at the same time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- While there were the occasional pacing issues, this book proves to be not only a great conclusion but a great adventure story woven with wonderful history lessons that’ll make you appreciate it more. But at its core, this series is driven by family and shows that even a found family can mean more than blood. However, the moral of the story? DON’T MESS WITH THE TIMELINE. Just don’t do it. Please. I’m begging you.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Wayfarer (Passenger #2)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Pages: 532 (Hardcover)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!