Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

4/5 Stars 
Published by Disney Hyperion
Published January 3rd, 2017

Synopsis: 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.

Wow, I am so impressed by this book. Alexandra Bracken has grown tremendously in her written capabilities. Passenger was my favorite book in 2015, as I read it right after YALLFest, and I was immediately ready to be wrecked by the second book. As I predicted, I was absolutely correct - I was destroyed by this book. Alex has this amazing ability to create luscious depictions of locations around the world and scenery that sticks with you. As much as I was lost in the writing, I was lost in the world of time traveling. I want to experience what these characters can do (without being hunted, of course). Wayfarer has to be the best book Alex has written in terms of rich writing, decadent plot development, and just overall amazing story telling. I've so much respect for the author she has become and cannot fathom the great things she will accomplish in the future. (*Also, maybe slight spoiler alert, because this is a sequel and a lot happens in this book that would probs spoil the first. So I'm gonna try to review it without spoiling anything, but please take caution!!)

For starters, I really want to talk about the plot and themes of this book, because it was totally brilliant. Where Passenger is really focused on infatuation and romance, with some action packed chase scenes and time traveling thrown in there, Wayfarer is the exact opposite. Wayfarer is all about seeking the truth and the light in the darkness, and going out and doing things for yourself that would otherwise not be handed to you. This is a fighting battle, both physically and mentally, with characters who choose their own destiny and their own way of thinking. Everything about this book is exciting, riveting, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I'll tell you right now, it does get confusing if you aren't entirely paying attention to this story.  However, I love thought provoking books - and this was exactly that. If you're coming into this book hoping for love, romance, and lots of kissing, you are not going to get that - you're going to get something even more powerful and insightful.

I thought the character development in this book was excellently crafted. Sometimes I find that characters in a sequel lose the essence of their being, but if anything, this whole cast gained an entirely new sense of spirit. Etta Spencer's life changed drastically in the span of a month, but without panicking, she was able to make power through the situation and change her outlook on life as she knew it. Etta is a badass main character - she's artistic, empowering, fearless, and an unapologetic fighter. Nicholas Carter - I love him. He's got an optimistic, persistent attitude, that keeps him ultimately alive. He's strong-willed, has a fighter's heart, and is a great partner in crime, for he has a brilliant mind. Along with them, Sophia, Li Min, and Julian are incredibly well thought out characters. They each have their own dynamic personality that ultimately adds to the story. The way they all work together creates a bigger sense of community and despite differences that peg them against each other, they learn how to overcome their prides and strive for the greater picture. I loved  Sophia and Li Min. They are two seriously strong characters who cultivate a spunky and kick-ass connection with each other.

Overall, Alexandra Bracken continues to impress me with her writing and story telling. I look forward to the books she has planned for the future and hope that they bring me just as much pain that all of her past ones have. Wayfarer was an excellent end to this duology and a story I will continue to push people to read. It's an adventure in more ways than one and a thrilling exposition on the concept of time traveling. Much props to Alex, as I'm sure it got hella confusing at times to plot out specific scenes and figuring out where characters ended up in what era, etc. The reason I took a star off is really my fault. College has gotten in the way of my reading and so I would constantly take week long breaks between 100's of pages, resulting in me not really developing a connection to the story and really causing some confusion. I am positive that the next time I reread this (and I sure as hell will) I will develop a stronger connection with the book. As always, I recommend Passenger and Wayfarer to those wishing to take a break from reality. You'll be taken to paths unknown and on an adventure so breathtaking, you'll forget all about what was bothering you in present time.