Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, the very anticipated sequel to Passenger. I really loved this book. This is probably one of my absolute favorite finales of all time. It was everything I wanted and more. This one focuses less on the romance and more on the other characters, their development and interactions, and more on the actual story line, which I really appreciated. Highly recommend this series, but if you haven’t read this book or Passenger, you probably should not stay for this review because it will spoil the book for you, so you should leave, read Wayfarer, and come back and we can discuss it together. So goodbye for now!
***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, read the synopsis and don’t read any other part of this review.***
“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.”
The story starts off with Rose witnessing the murder of her parents as a young girl by Travelers working for Ironwoood, searching for the astrolabe. Rose is hidden in the bookshelf and isn’t discovered, but Ironwood takes her parents bodies with him and she follows him on her bike. Then we switch over to Etta who wakes up with someone standing over her. She doesn’t know where she is, but the person is an Ironwood.
We switch over to Nicholas and Sophia who are supposed to meet Rose, but she doesn’t show and sends a Linden to give them a note that is then stolen by a Chinese man. Sophia starts a fight in the bar they are at (not even a little bit surprised) and they barely manage to escape. Etta wakes up in a room, her arm bandaged and there’s a man sleeping in a chair by the bed. She sneaks out and is trying to escape, hanging from the side of the house when someone sees her, tried to convince her to let them take her inside before the Thorns get her. (I was originally confused at this part because I thought she had been taken by the Ironwoods.) Then she’s falling.
She is rescued and taken into the house. Turns out the guy who rescued her when she originally woke up and this time was none other than Julian Ironwood (I suspected this and am so happy I was right!) He explains how he’s alive and then some guards burst in and Henry Hemlock comes in, demanding she be presentable and then brought to him. Apparently because he’s her father, they have a lot to talk about.
Nicholas and Sophia decide to go look for Remus and Fitzhugh Jacaranda for answers. When they arrive back to their little campsite, they find that it has been ransacked by a thief who smiles when they approach, still eating a piece of their beef jerky. Turns out is the Chinese man who took the letter. And it’s actually a woman. After negotiating with Li Min, Nicholas reads the decoded message to her and Li Min also wants a kiss. I thought it was Sophia she was speaking to and I was right (I AM HERE FOR THIS). But she said when Sophia is willing, she will kiss her (*cue disappointing Allie sounds*). They have to find Belladonna, according to the message, so they try to figure out a way to get to her in Prague. Li Min leaves and Sophia stole her pouch of money, which they will use to get off the island.
So Etta is brutally forced into a corset and dress by Winifred, who turns out to be her great Aunt. I do not like Winifred at all. She then speaks to Henry (who I love) and he talks about how Rose manipulated and used Etta. He also speaks of how he stayed with Alice until she died. Apparently Rose was traumatized after witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, and she saw a golden figure (a traveler) tell her Ironwood could never have the astrolabe because the world and time would be destroyed. In telling Etta to destroy the astrolabe instead of protecting it, she is destroying Etta’s future. Henry comforts Etta and just…my soul. I love this man, and throughout most of the book, I was terrified Alex would kill him off. And then he shows her where Ironwood changed history for his own selfish gain and how Henry and the other Thorns have been trying to fix it back to the original timeline. She meets the rest of the Thorns and then Henry meets with a girl (methinks it is Li Min) while Etta speaks with the other Thorns.
Nicholas and Sophia arrive in Prague and are immediately taken to Belladonna by a boy. For payment, she takes a blade taken by Sophia (she found it on a dead man, which is a little disturbing) and then steps into a painting. They follow her and manage to get Nicholas enslaved to her and not get the information they need (because he is an idiot who apparently doesn’t listen to anyone that is telling him its a bad idea and makes a deal with a freaking witch). And they have to kill Cyrus Underwood. Good job. You guys rock.
Etta, Henry and the Thorns are in Russia and Etta is going to have dinner with Henry and one of his old friends when their car is shot up by protesters, but they manage to get to their destination (the Winter Palace) unscathed. Switching back over to Nicholas and Sophia, Sophia says they need to find those Jacarandas instead of killing Ironwood, so they take a passage to Carthage and Nicholas stumbles upon another passage that opens up underwater. They sneak around ships and find the merchant side of things and not military. Sophia knocks out two guards and steals their clothes. They then are attacked by a man (we now know this man was a Shadow) who throws a sword at them, but they duck, so he wields a curved dagger.
Several people attack them and they run through a city, finding a stall that they expected to be full of horses, but find it is full of elephants. Elephants who like wine. To create a distraction, Nicholas breaks open the barrels of wine and open the elephant stalls. They nearly escape when one of the cloaked attackers demands they give “it” to him (astrolabe, I’m guessing). That man is shot with an arrow by another man who tells them to come with him or the Shadows will devour them all. (This would be the point when we realized that Rose wasn’t a delusional lunatic, after all)
As it urns out, the friend of Henry’s was the last Tsar of Russia, who died in the original timeline. He’s actually really nice (to them at least) and Etta plays the violin while Henry plays the piano for him because he loves music. So Etta and Henry bond a little bit over their love of music. And Etta subtly comforts Henry as he knows his friend will die. Switching back over to Nicholas, we learn that the man that saved them was Remus Jacaranda. He takes them back to his place where he and his husband stay. And he tells them the history of the astrolabe and how there were copies that were destroyed because they were not as powerful as the original and the original is the only one that remains.
And the eldest son of this family who created the astrolabe is still looking for it (for a good while, I thought it was Ironwood in the story, but we of course now know it was the Ancient One). And then Nicholas stumbles upon Remus’ husband’s bag (who he said was out healing and helping people) and then Remus is reaching for a knife. (I honestly thought he killed his husband, and I am ashamed that I thought that…)
Etta goes to dinner with everyone save for a guard and Julian. And this waiter that obviously is working with Ironwood took a bottle of wine and smashed it over the table, triggering an explosion. Henry protects her and then we suddenly switched over to Nicholas (this really messed up my feels). So Fitzhugh is out, leading Ironwood’s men to the house for them and Remus poisoned the tea with Hemlock, which Sophia drank but Nicholas didn’t. He has to carry her and Li Min shows up, so he drops Sophia into a roof the jumps to meet the woman. Nicholas is shot by an arrow that I think is poisoned and then they make it through the passage.
Henry is dying and Rose shows up along with the Shadows who are trying to kill both Rose and Etta. And there are some of Ironwood’s men as well, so everything sucks. Etta runs (leaving Henry behind and Rose) and Julian runs into her. They escape and manage to get through a few passages until they are in Manhattan. Where there is nothing. There is no Manhattan. The explosion Ironwood made drastically changed the future. (OH MY FUCKING GOD. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT BASTARD; Upon further contemplating, I think that future is actually accurate because it was in the middle of the war)
Li Min ends up taking Sophia because Nicholas can hardly function due to the poisons from the arrow and the ring. They are in a mausoleum (OF ALL THE PLACES , WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE A FREAKING MAUSOLEUM?! Those things creep the hell out of me…) and they go deep into a crypt of sorts where they won’t be found. Li Min makes something that makes Sophia throw up the poison on Nicholas. And then he finally passes out from the poisons. Li Min helps him and they talk for a while. She drops the Wayfarer line:
“But we are, all of us, also wayfarers on a greater journey, this one without end, each of us searching for the answers to the unspoken questions of our hearts.”
And when she leaves, Sophia wakes up enough to tell Nicholas the reason she was beat nearly to death was because she was trying to steal the astrolabe back from the Thorns. She was going to come back with it, to Etta and Nicholas. She would not have given it to Ironwood. (This made me really start to like Sophia.) Nicholas wakes up to the sound of screams and Sophia and Li Min sort of together (I am shipping it), and they get dressed and get their weapons ready and Lin Min shares her story of how she used to be a part of the Shadows and they follow the Ancient One who wants the Astrolabe. Then it is silent, and they stupidly think that means the Shadows have left. They get up there and see the Shadows have killed Miles Ironwood and all of his men who were with him and then they are fighting the Shadows.
He convinced Li Min to take Sophia with her and they run. To distract the Shadows, he says he has the Astrolabe and then he runs like hell. Sees the Ancient One who reminds him of a Demon or the Devil himself and for some reason, the Ancient One lets him go. And he runs even faster. He catches up to Sophia and Li Min. Sophia finds the earring that Etta dropped and then Nicholas is looking for her when Li Min tells him she is dead (when we all know she is very much alive; this pissed me off).
So Etta is in New York with Julian and apparently there was war and there aren’t many survivors. Julian does find Nan (Octavia Ironwood) and she does die, but not before telling him about the Shadows and how Belladonna has the Astrolabe and is auctioning it off. So she and Julian leave to go find the auction invitation. Nicholas breaks down but then resolves to kill Ironwood for killing Etta. And he finally tells Sophia that Julian is alive and she is pissed that he thought that she would leave to go after Julian, someone who abandoned her.
They make it to New York City 1776 and Nicholas enters the house and Ironwoods room, intending to kill him, but Ironwood is waiting for him. He talks of how Nicholas is his true heir and gives the proof of Etta’s death. Nicholas agrees to join him only because he intends to destroy the Astrolabe when Ironwood gets it. He writes a letter to Hall and goes and tells Li Min what’s going on and then he goes back into the house.
Julian and Etta are at the place in 1100 AD where the Ironwoods stash their treasure when Vikings lead by Ironwood and Nicholas show up. Etta starts to follow Nicholas when she has a blade to her throat because of Sophia. Li Min finally tells of how she was the person earlier on in the book Henry was working with (I knew it!!) and that she knew Etta was alive the whole time. Henry is alive (hell yeah!) and is wanting to exact revenge on Ironwood for killing Etta (only way to protect her is make Ironwood think she’s dead). Sophia forces Li Min to leave and she says some pretty nasty things about Nicholas and makes Etta doubt his love for her. And then Sophia runs off, Nicholas and Ironwood leave, and Etta and Julian get the rest of the Ironwood treasure as the entrance fee for the auction.
Sophia shows up in Nicholas’s room and finally tells him of how Etta is alive and how Li Min was working with the Thorns. And she tells him how she thinks she effectively deterred Etta from going after the Astrolabe and that there isn’t enough gold left to gain entrance anyway, which means Etta and Julian got to the cave before Sophia. She leaves and the next day he is with everyone in Our Lady of Candelaria Catholic Church.
Julian and Etta make it to Mount Kurama 1891 where the auction is, get in wearing a mask and robe and then someone yanks Julian, dragging him off so Etta goes after them. Sophia grabs Julian and Nicholas grabs Etta, resulting in them reuniting with kissing and whatnot and then he’s really weak and dying so Sophia slaps him. They are given privacy and then one of Ironwoods men comes looking for him. Nicholas still wants to destroy the Astrolabe and she still wants to hide it, so I guess its up to whoever gets it first. So Sophia knocks Owen (who came searching for Nicholas) out and takes his mask and robe. They go back and Belladonna states that the bidders cannot hear each others bids. So they have to submit their best offer and she will choose a winner. And then a bidder is murdered right there.
Shadows and Thorns (including Henry) arrive and all hell breaks loose and Belladonna is gone. And a whole lot of shit goes down. Sophia kisses Li Min. Etta follows after Ironwood because he grabbed the Astrolabe and he nearly kills Etta, but Rose kills him first then the Ancient One slices Rose’s neck. Then Etta lights him on fire, killing him. And then Nicholas, Shadows, and Julian search for the Astrolabe. Nicholas finds it and destroys it, which causes everyone to go back to their original time line.
Etta is back in Present Day New York and goes back to Alice’s old house where she finds that Alice left a will and a trust fund to her and her mother. She learns that Alice is originally from the Renaissance era and she probably won’t see her again. Nicholas is back in 1776 New York and he discovers that the Astrolabe may be destroyed, but its abilities are now in him. He can create passages. So he goes to see Hall and gains a place on the ship again. Oh and he’s not dying anymore. The ring is gone. He gets a letter from Belladonna who talks about his abilities and he lets Hall read it. Then they talk about how in 5 years time, Nicholas wants to save his mother’s life. Hall says he already did, so I am guessing that means that past Nicholas did this and this is a future version of Nicholas (I can’t think about it too much or my head starts to hurt).
One year later, Etta is performing a solo and as she is performing, she sees her mom and Henry in the front row and in the back is Nicholas. After the concert she runs to Nicholas and they are kissing and talking about the future and she says she needs to see someone so they leave (in a passage, I presume). The epilogue follows Rose Linden as a child and she is visited by this frightening man (the Ancient One, possibly?) and he takes her, but apparently her grandfather got her back. Then she is visited by a young woman (pretty sure that was Etta) and they talk and Rose paints and the book ends.
OH MY FREAKING GOD. THIS BOOK WAS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY FANTASTIC.
I am actually finding it hard to put it into words how fantastic this book was. Like I barely know where to start. But from the moment, I began reading this, I knew this would be one of my favorite books of this year and all time. This is probably one of the best finales I have ever read in my entire life. It was everything I wanted and more.
Forgetting the absolutely kickass story line for a moment, the characters are what really made me love it so much. Yes, for almost the entire book, Nicholas and Etta were apart. I honestly did not mind that too much. I think it really helped to show who these characters really are when they aren’t with the other. Nicholas just showed how honorable he is and how much he actually does care for those around him.
I also used to hate Sophia and now that I actually know who she is and how she actually is a good friend and she can be a decent person when you know who she is. She shared her story of how she grew up, and I absolutely fell in love with her character. I especially loved the simmering love story between her and Li Min. I will ship those two until my last dying breath, and if we don’t get a novella of those two, I will be sorely disappointed. Li Min was a character I immediately found myself enjoying and falling in love with, and I just feel like she was a really great character.
Etta was a character that I didn’t really care for in the last book, to be honest. She didn’t really stand out to me as a character, but in this book that has changed. We see what lengths she will go to in order to save her family and the future. We see her inner strength and really how fucking badass she is. I loved her character in this book. And with Etta comes my absolutely favorite character of this whole series/book and that is Henry Hemlock. I loved his character. Every scene with him was my favorite. Every chapter with him was my favorite. I loved how much he cared about Etta and how kind of a man he was and how he really just wanted to protect his family. He loved Etta so much, and I just felt how much he loved her, even without being in his point of view. Its his actions and his words towards Etta that make me love him so much.
Now the characters I still hated to the very end were Rose and Ironwood. I still didn’t think the ends justified the means with what Rose did to Alice and what she forced Etta to go through. I don’t think I could ever like her character. She was never like a mother to Etta, she never told her about anything, and I just can’t forgive her for forcing Etta to be in this amount of danger. Ironwood was someone I hated and I was never meant to like, and he was a fanatic about the astrolabe and I am very satisfied with what happened to him. He was just insane and he got what he deserved.
Now the story line. I found the story line to be complex and so many things happened that its hard to articulate what I want to say. But I loved it, I found it very compelling and gripping and badass, and I just really enjoyed it.
But the ending, guys. The ending. The ending was everything I wanted. I was in a constant state of crying because of this book in the last 80-100 pages. I was terrified of how Alex would end the series, but I thought it was clever and very satisfying. I never would have thought that Nicholas would inherit the abilities of the astrolabe and that he could create passages. And it was so satisfying to find out that he had literally traveled through time and space to find Etta’s parents and bring them back to her. I also thought that it was amazing he went back and found Sophia and now she is searching for Li Min (and if there isn’t a novella about this, I will be really upset), and now Nicholas has reunited Etta with all those that she cares about, and I thought that was the best possible way to end the series.
But the epilogue was confusing at first, I would say. I had to reread a couple of times. To my understanding, Etta went back to talk to her mother, and I don’t really know why, so if you could let me know why, like if I am missing it, that would be greatly appreciated. But I was just very confused with the epilogue.
Overall, this is probably one of my favorite books of all time. It is one of my very favorite finales of all time and it will definitely be on my favorites list for this year. I am very satisfied with this finale, even if I still have a million questions and I need several novellas. I loved the story line and the characters and the writing (you could really tell how much Alex has grown as a writer!). I thought everything about this book was absolutely fantastic and this is a story that will linger with me for a long time to come. This book was just bloody fantastic!
And there you have it! That was my review of Wayfarer! Who was your favorite new character in this book? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.