Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken

Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

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 want to preface this by saying that this book is a beautiful reprieve from the real world. But it also gives a lovely and realistic view of the world we live in. Our world feels too hard right now, but it warmed my heart to read a book where the characters were empathetic and struggling with the same hardships we are now.

Passenger was one of my favorite books last year and I absolutely could not wait to read Wayfarer. Alexandra Bracken once again delivered in a tome with beautiful, deep world building. So many small details went into the construction of each time period that we get to see and it is quite immersive.

I love the fact that there is such diversity in the cast, of race as well as sexual orientation. Nicholas’ struggle as a black man across the ages were particularly well done. Etta’s empathy for Nicholas’ experience was also a highlight to the story for me. Her understanding and acknowledgement of her own privilege were something I haven’t seen enough of in books and hope it starts a trend.

Aside from the fact that this book is rich in detail and beautiful characterization, it also has a lovely undercurrent of romance while also being an adventure story and a family story. The tangled web of the Thorns and the Ironwoods kept the story interesting all the way through.

Highly recommend. Already psyched to read whatever Alex comes up with next!

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