Wayfarer (Passenger #2) by Alexandra Bracken (2017)
YA Fiction | Time-Travel
“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.”
pooled ink Review:
When I first read Passenger I was instantly swept away by its elegant prose. I’m hesitant with anything involving time-travel since it generally gets too tangled and frustrating or silly. But with Passenger I was too caught up the thrill, the romance, the adrenaline, and how it was all wrapped up in sugar-spun words with a spicy kick of adventure. However that was two years ago so in order to finally read Wayfarer I had to use Bracken’s provided recap of the who/what/where/when/why of the first book because honestly I’d forgotten the finer points and with a time-travel story it’s important to remember the finer points. So if you need it I’ve included the link for the recap above.
Thankfully this is a duology, so there are only two books in the series making this the finale. I think anything more would’ve been too much honestly. Sometimes it’s better to stop while you’re ahead, ya know?
So, Wayfarer. Well it was a bit…tangled. That’s pretty much to be expected for a story about time-travelers. The story was just as action packed and colorful as the first book with everyone still chasing that powerful but elusive astrolab. We left off in the last book with Etta dead, Sophia on the ledge of death, and Nicholas utterly distraught. We find out at once in this book however that Etta is not dead but simply orphaned and thus tossed back into the last common year of her timeline and the current timeline. Sophia is healed, one-eyed, and incredibly ferocious. She travels with Nicholas as they hunt for the astrolab having made a deal with Rose who will hunt for Etta. And this kicks off the crazy chaos of this time-traveling plot. Although that being said it still managed to feel slow despite there being a ton going on.
This book was plenty of great fun especially if you enjoyed the first book but hoped for more action. The stakes were higher, the players had grown both in number and in ruthlessness, the power of the astrolab was told in a dozen different tales some false and some true, but while the singular overarching goal (to find the astrolab) remained central since book one, it felt (somewhat) dragged out and tangled in this sequel. There was plenty going on, lots of gunfire and adrenaline and puzzles and cryptic deals, and yet somehow it still felt a bit slow.
I don’t really know how to describe it. As I said before if you enjoyed Passenger then you’ll be sure to enjoy Wayfarer but I highly recommend reading them back to back because to do otherwise may honestly confuse you or you might lose momentum as I fear I did. Written just as lovely, with characters just as complex, yet for me I couldn’t quite get into this book the way I did with Passenger. But perhaps it’s just timing? (Honestly it’s probably just timing).
One thing I wasn’t completely sold on was the gold dude and the Belladonna (you’ll meet those two unique characters in this book). Like, I get it, but I think I would have preferred for there not to be any hint of an origin story for time-travel and would have rather simply accepted it as a part of the world built in these books. But then again that just might be the part that intrigues you most!
The ending however was pretty well done in the sense of wrapping things up for the main characters/the characters you’ll have come to care about. So that was nice.
Oh, but just a heads up: if you swooned for the romance in Passenger between Etta and Nicholas then just know that it takes a very long time for them to meet up again.
I definitely enjoyed getting to know all sorts of new characters such as Etta’s father, the Belladonna, Li Min, etc., as well as getting to know more about some of the secondary characters from the previous book. But I’m not sure it was enough…. Maybe it really is just bad timing that kept me from falling head first into this story. If you love beautiful prose, romance, plenty of heart-pumping action, and globe trotting/time-traveling then you should check out this duology and please, try to read them back-to-back haha.
I wish I could get into this more but it’s almost impossible without accidentally spoiling things for you and I don’t want to do that!
Wayfarer concludes this time-traveling duology with a dynamic chase filled with feuds, betrayal, and love lost and found, sending all players sprinting around the globe to the beat of a ticking drum. With a heavier cast of violence and a softer glance of romance this story digs down to the roots and unearths the impossible.
Purchase here: Wayfarer
Check out the rest of the series: Passenger (book 1)