Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken


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I’ve been orphaned by my time. My future is gone. 

20983366Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveller until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was here only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas – the eighteenth-century privateer she loves – and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travellers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to destroy it once and for all.

Devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track her down. But after a deadly mistake derails their search, they discover an ancient power that threatens to eradicate the timeline as they know it.

In this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series, 1# New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken charts a fascinating course through time that will captivate readers.

2.5 Stars

Oh my god. I’ve finally finished this freaking book. Thank the lord because I am 100% done. Brace yourself for a rather controversial review because I have a lot of tea to spill with this one.

Basically, to paint the picture and to sum up my  reading experience, reading Wayfarer was akin to trudging through a dense jungle with no trail and only a machete to literally hack my way through. It was long, somewhat tedious and even boring. This was my third attempt at finishing Wayfarer in two years and as it was, it took me forever. Every time I thought I’d found a trail through the undergrowth [either the actual plot picked up or a new dynamic was thrown into the works] another hurtle was strewn across my makeshift path.

I’m sorry, but what the actual heck happened?

If you’ve been one of my Goodreads friends since the beginning, you’ll know that Passenger has sat proudly on my favorites shelf since it’s release way back when in January 2016. It’s a sweeping, epic adventure and while it’s primarily about time travel the world building is still very much grounded in reality and history.

Let me give it to you straight – Etta and Nicholas’s story should have ended with Passenger. There are just some sequels that are really, really not necessary.

Now before I get into all the drama I do just want to warn you that while I’ve tried my best to be vague there are still potential spoilers for both Passenger and Wayfarer. I don’t think I’ve mentioned anything too spoiler-y because, like I said, I try all the juicy stuff under wraps for you, but you have been warned. 😉

I think what really let Wayfarer down, and why I felt just so detached from the story as a whole was the mess of structure and direction that was the plotting and the horrendous pacing. I mean, Etta and Nicholas really just meandered around the main plot for the majority of the book. The astrolabe was forsaken as the characters made poor choices, chased random tangents and sub plots then angsted after each other. New characters were added without well-rounded arcs while plot holes and conflicts [yes – even the ones from Passenger]  were left unresolved. Wayfarer lacked direction, basically, there always seemed to be a lot going on and yet, nothing was really… happening??? How the heck does that work?

Besides the plot, another key element lacking in Wayfarer was the romance. Where did that sweeping, Hollywood-worthy romance I adored in Passenger go? Certainly not here because what I got instead was about 400 pages of pinning and angst. And, just to clarify, not the good kind. The dynamic between Etta and Nicholas really was the backbone of Passenger – honestly, it went hand in hand with the plot. Their relationship practically drove the story forwards so eliminating the romance made for a rather dull experience. I needed a physical, living, breathing relationship. All that pining was snot enough to sustain me during Wayfarer.

And let’s not even mention the fact that literally out of nowhere we had the whole Belladonna-Shadows-fantasy plot line. I mean – was this even really necessary? Because, this twist felt very left field and actually destroyed the torch I was still carrying. Where did that even come from? Since when was Passenger a fantasy? What was the relevance and why, if you’re going to drop that bomb, was it never fleshed out and explained? I am confusion!

Then there’s the ending.

Yeah – I’m not even going to talk about that.

Okay, maybe just a little – what I will say is that the ending could have saved Wayfarer but nope. That was apparently too much to ask.

So, if you’re still with me at this point in the review [yes, I know it’s a snarky mess, just so you know, I’ve re-written it about five times now] then you must be thinking but why the 2.5 Stars then? That can be summed up in two words: Henry Hemlock. The thing is, the first hundred or so pages with Nicholas and Sofia in Nassau and Etta in San Francisco were the best of the whole 500+ page book. I loved the addition of Henry and Julian’s character but wished that Alexandra Bracken had used these assets to their full potential.

So, to defend the abundance of snark in this review, the reason I am still so salty after all this time is because Wayfarer had such an intriguing premise but it ultimately missed the mark. Passenger, even after a third read through, holds a place among my top 10 favorite books of all time and Wayfarer seemed to just turn everything on it’s head. The attention to historical detail felt somewhat lacking, the atmosphere and romance was non existent and the protagonists acted out of character. Too many missed opportunities [um, Rose Linden anyone?] and a lack of structure to the plot has made me realize that while Passenger is a modern masterpiece, it really should have been a stand alone. Wayfarer has officially left me with too many unanswered questions, a seething mess of feels and a rather hideous reading slump. #nothappy :/

*rant over – sorry!*Alexandra



6 thoughts on “Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

  1. Aw no, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! I read Passenger a while back and really liked it, but I never got around to reading the sequel… seems like I’m not missing much haha. It’s so disappointing when a sequel doesn’t live up to the first book ahhh, that’s such a shame! I loved reading your review though ahah. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy Wayfarer much more than I did when you do get around to it! It’s actually the worst when the sequel doesn’t live up to your expectations. Especially because I went into Wayfarer with no expectations. I knew that nothing was going to live up to my love and utter devotion to Passenger but I didn’t expect Wayfarer to be this bad. I’m so disappointed.

      That being said though, looking through all my goodreads friends reviews, most gave Wayfarer 4 or 5 stars??? So maybe it’s just me alone with my unpopular opinions ahaha! I’ll be interested to hear what you think. Thanks for reading ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that this one let you down, it’s on my TBR, but I might just wait until I can get it from my library as opposed to buying it myself. I really don’t like it when books dance around the plot and have characters make silly choices to pad out a book.


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