Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Wayfarer by Alexandra BrackenWayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel, Young Adult
Series: Passenger #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 3, 2017
Pages: 532
Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon|Book Depository

After their run-in with Ironwood guardians and the Thorns, Nicholas and Etta have been separated because Etta has been orphaned by her timeline, injured, and dumped somewhere in the past. When she wakes, she discovers she is with the Thorns and finds another Ironwood in their midst, the long-lost Julian. However, the leader of the Thorns is revealed to be none other than Etta's father, Henry Hemlock. Etta doesn't know who to trust because the Thorns were supposed to have stolen the astrolabe. She must piece together her past, accompanying her father upon a very interesting trip through time, and just when things seem simple, she and Julian must run for their lives, determined to do everything in their power to destroy the astrolabe.

Meanwhile, after Sophia was attacked and gravely wounded, Nicholas nurses her back to health, but is still searching for Etta or anything to do with Rose Linden, Etta's mother. In an effort to keep away from the Ironwood guardians, Nicholas and Sophia try to gain information from a dangerous powerful woman called the Belladonna, and launch themselves on a dangerous race through time from an ancient power who still seeks the astrolabe. Everything comes to a breaking point as all of their timelines are at risk to be destroyed, and every effort for Nicholas and Etta might be for naught.

Also by this author: The Darkest Minds, Passenger

I loved this epic conclusion to the Passenger duology! It was definitely easier to get into than the first simply because it is driven by action and there’s not as much set-up needed. Just for fun, you might like Alex Bracken’s Pinterest board on the series, which has some fantastic images of an astrolabe and other beautiful imagery. If you haven’t read it, there might be a few spoilers below…

In the last post, I promised to talk about Etta and Nicholas’s romance, which develops throughout Passenger. Here in Wayfarer, Etta and Nicholas’s romance is somewhat tempered by time/space but is no less a part of this novel. In the first, they fell in love, but here they have to overcome odds to even see each other again since Etta’s timeline was destroyed and Nicholas believes Etta dead. It makes things more meaningful because they are carrying on without knowing what has become of the other in the hopes that there is some sort of future for them after everything is said and done. For Nicholas, Etta is the first person to recognize him for himself and not for his skin, his status, or his potential. Etta finds Nicholas to be a person she can depend on and who has a good and kind heart but is also self-sacrificing and brave. Their romance is sweet and new for both of them, and for time-travelers, seems to be a first step multi-racial couples!

Because this novel follows two separate storylines of Etta and Nicholas/Sophia, we see how much their first journey has made them change their priorities a bit and show drastic character development from the beginning of the series. Before, Nicholas wanted only his freedom and his own ship but otherwise had accepted his lot in life. Now, because Etta has come into his life and he’s seen his grandfather’s thirst for power, he recognizes that he is not his skin color/race nor his past and has a real future with Etta and her ideals. Nicholas has grown to realize he has a choice and his own power. Sophia, alternately, has developed from blindly accepting what her grandfather tells her to making her own choices, discovering love, and distinguishing between family who is genuine and family who manipulates. She also has to do all of this with a significant handicap and that makes her more in tune with reality than her former version of the truth. Lastly, Etta, of course, has transformed the most, seeing as she knew nothing about her mom or dad or anything about the past or her time gene. However, we see how she has matured from simply reacting with anger/frustration to understanding and acceptance of her circumstances and determining to make the best possible choices. She now knows of sacrifice and consequences, something she didn’t really grasp when it related to her mother. They’ve all become strong hero/heroines, no matter the outcome of their quest.

In Wayfarer, there is a larger element of mystery and secrets as the story of the Ancient One is told and how he is still searching for the last astrolabe and pursuing Rose Linden for years. When Nicholas and Sophia are traveling in search of Rose/Etta, they come across the trail of this Ancient One and its minions, finding themselves stalked by monsters, but making a key ally of Li Min, a traveling mercenary. The looming threat of the Ancient One is what changes the entire story as it wants to destroy all of their timelines except its own.

One of the truly spectacular things about this book is the time traveling and the possibilities. Bracken has some fantastic writing and setting description here. It is quite exciting to visit any point in history just from a time passage and prompts thoughts of when/where one might choose to link to other favorite periods. In this book, we visit San Francisco before the earthquake, Petrograd and Czar Nicholas II, Carthage before it was destroyed by Rome, the Vatican City during the Middle Ages and more. I found these glimpses fascinating! It takes your imagination one step farther because you’re picturing the characters navigating these relics of history and experiencing that period of life then jumping to a new one.

The last thing I want to point out is how Wayfarer continues those themes of diversity and challenging the social norms of the period because we meet Julian, who confronts his own idea of racism/sexism, being male and white and the only member who is inconspicuous, and comparing his ease of traveling versus all the others, who have to take precautions to not draw attention, break laws, or embroil themselves in a dispute or timeline change.

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Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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