Wayfarer Review: Time Travelling Alternate Histories

May 30, 2017 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Wayfarer Review: Time Travelling Alternate HistoriesWayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
on February 1, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Historical
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Booktopia
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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.

If there’s a subject that I love to read about, it’s time travel, and Passenger last year was a detailed time travelling book with a deep family history that took us to different locations.

While they are split apart, Etta travelling with her father Henry and Nicholas and Sophia trying to reunite with Etta, they encounter a host of different characters in their travels. There’s the Chinese mercenary Li Min who helps Nicholas and Sophia to find Ironwood and the astrolabe, the sinister Belladonna, not to mention the Shadows who are seem to be wanting to kill them all.

There was enough intrigue here to keep me reading however, especially since the storyline is centered on finding the astrolabe and seeing if Nicholas and Etta will successfully restore the timeline. I also wanted to have them reunite and to see what happens when they do because I SHIPPED THEM.

The overarching story where they search for the astrolabe to reset the timelines before the traveller’s interference lead the group to a variety of places, including Carthage and Russia where they meet the last tsar. It was fascinating seeing these ancient places come to life with alternate histories, and how their interaction with the different citizens would impact the timelines, resulting in fractured threads of time.

We also discovered more about the competing families and their motivations- the Ironwoods and the Thorns. Ironwood has concocted a plot to steal the missing astrolabe back and Etta and Nicholas frequently encounter them in their travels. There’s also intricate family history between Julian and his Ironwood grandfather, Etta who copes with the loss of her mother and discovering her past.

 Nicholas would carve a path through hell itself to find Etta and finish answering the question of what their life would be together. That was the only certainty on which he could hang his hope.

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of thought and intricate plotlines put into Wayfarer, but personally, I felt like there were way too many characters and way too much going on to hold my interest for long. The alternating perspectives between Nicholas and Etta were hard to keep up with, particularly since both of them were having significant adventures of their own.

The long, overly descriptive passages and massive length of the novel also had me nodding off to sleep a few times, especially at the start of the book. I feel like some of it unnecessarily padded out the story. For example, I don’t think we need to know across 4 pages, the description of an orchestral sequence, but hey it may work for some people.

This was the trouble with meddling at all – who decided what was considered more peaceful, or improved? A benefit to one part of the world might be a detriment to the other.

While Wayfarer is well-written with a fascinating time travel plot with alternate histories, I felt like there was way too much detail to take in at any given time. The start moved way too slowly for my liking and I struggled with the detailed descriptions of everything. However, those who are into historical fiction may enjoy Wayfarer, such as Jenna who reviewed it on her blog.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thanks to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy. Wayfarer is available at Australian bookstores for RRP$22.99. 

 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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3 responses to “Wayfarer Review: Time Travelling Alternate Histories

  1. Genie in a Book

    It's great to read your thoughts on this one Jeann – I read and enjoyed Passenger but hadn't gotten around to this one yet! I did notice in the first book that the pacing was a little slow in places due to the long descriptions, so having that in conjunction with lots of characters does make me a little wary of it. That being said, I might still give it a go one day, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Yeah, I actually looked back at my review for the first book and it sounds like my gripes were the same. This one was so long and tedious but at least it wrapped up lol. Thanks for commenting Genie!