Saturday, January 21, 2017

wayfarer: stardust reviews

Wayfarer (Passenger #2)

Alexandra Bracken



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.

full review under the cut! 

 Ahh... I do love a good time travel drama!! And I especially love a good time travel drama when Alex Bracken is the one writing it :) Wayfarer was an amazing end to the duology which began with last year's Passenger, and I am happy to say that Wayfarer lived up to the hype of its predecessor. We pick up directly after the events of the first novel, so if you haven't read the first book, I would recommend you leave, go read it, and then come back!

So basically the start of this book picks up with Etta and Nicholas, our beloved protags, torn apart and flung into the far reaches of time by a timeline reset perpetrated by the rebellious group of time travelers known as the Thorns. The Thorns are in direct opposition to Nicholas' family, the Ironwoods, and as we found out at the end of the first book, are led by Henry Hemlock, Etta's father. Though she does not know him and neither do we! Etta is flung into 1920's San Francisco, where she meets up with Julian Ironwood, whom everyone, including his half-brother Nicholas and his fiance, Sophia, thought to be dead. Nicholas, on the other hands, meets up with Sophia, then proceeds to Nassau in 1776 to meet up with Etta's mother.

This is the situation that the book opens on, and to my DISMAY (just kidding I was fine) Etta and Nicholas spend the next good chunk of the novel apart, both working within separate (OR ARE THEY) subplots. I actually really liked that Etta and Nicholas were doing their own thing for the majority of this novel, mostly because it allowed us to go deeper into the world of time traveling and to a lot more locations in history than if they were together. We got to see some cool stuff in book one, but in this one it was even cooler! I mean, St. Petersburg in the time of the last tsar? Prague in the sixteenth century? Carthage in Roman times? And so many more. Alex Bracken continues the trend that I really liked about book one, which is that the characters go to some places that are extremely recognizable, but also visit some that are not, which makes it even more interesting.

I absolutely love the characters in this series, just overall. Etta, of course, is amazingly strong, composed, and all around kickass. Nicholas is levelheaded, accepting, and silly in love with Etta, and I love the part where its like "Nicholas wondered if it was merely his lot in life to be surrounded by women possessing varying degrees of murderous intent." SO GOOD I cackled. I like that we got to deepen our understanding of tons of other characters too, Sophia and Rose in particular. I like that we got to see another side of Sophia, one that shows the reasons why she is the way she is. I also like that she got the chance to be happy! Li Min was the surprise character that I was not expecting to fall in love with, but she made me laugh and kept me on my toes. I love the representation in this book, and the way the narrative explored the complications of time traveling when you aren't white. I also really liked getting to know Henry, though I was wary of him at first. I really wanted to trust him, but I didn't know if I could! It was completely heartbreaking to be in Etta's head when she was meeting him, because it was the first time that she was feeling parental love and pride in that manner. In the end, though this book is full of amazing setting and a plot that picks up as the book goes along, it is really carried by these characters that pop off the page. 

I will say... the reason that this is four instead of five stars is because I got a wee bit confused by what was going on at the end. I'm not sure if this was just me reading too fast in my haste to see what was going to happen, or if there was something inherently confusing about the events, but I was still not 100% clear on what happened when I finished the book. Other than that, though I really really loved the direction that this story went in. I already talked about how much I loved all of the settings, but also what happened in the settings was pretty cool too. I loved how creepy the Belladonna was, I loved how freaking terrifying the whole "alchemist and his ancient immortal children coming for you" was, because I was not expecting it to go in that direction at all. I loved the father/daughter bonding time between Henry and Etta and I also liked that Etta had to face, head-on, her complicated relationship with her mother. I loved that Nicholas is the one in the end who was pure enough to deal with the astrolabe, surprising NO ONE! I loved the burgeoning relationship between Li Min and Sophia. I loved the reunion scene between Julian, Etta, Nicholas, and Sophia. It was all so amazing! And then I was thinking that the ending was so sad, but then it actually ended up being so happy!!! I was really excited about that when I finished. Honestly, I don't even want to try to describe the things that happen in this one, because I would just butcher it. They're all layered together so nicely and weave in and out of one another, and Alex Bracken just cemented her status as a master storyteller in my book, because I would have been so confused trying to keep everything straight! 

I love this duo! I would recommend it to anyone who is interesting in time travel at all :) 


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