If you're unfamiliar with the world in this series I highly recommend picking up the first book, as Wayfarer really doesn't work without already having the background knowledge. But in very brief: Etta is a 17-year-old violin prodigy in 21st New York City at the cusp of making her debut when something terrible happens and she is transported geographically and across centuries. It turns out she's from a long line of time travellers and she's being put in the middle of a centuries old hunt for something called an Astrolabe, an object that can create new passages.
At the head of the hunt is Cyrus Ironwood, an ego-centric man willing to do anything to get his hands on the Astrolabe. Accompanied by bastard Ironwood Nicholas and former orphan girl Sophia, now also an Ironwood, Etta is determined to find the Astralobe before Cyrus. At the end of Passenger the three teenagers were forcefully split up and we're reunited with them individually as they each hunt the globe and time for the Astralobe and each other, hoping to get their hands on it before Cyrus can.
It was fantastic to be immersed again in this innovative and exciting world and learn even more about the different eras the story was set in, the Ironwood family, and the true implications of the use of the Astrolabe on the lives of all the key characters. This was another very chunky installment in the series, but because it's broken up in easy to digest sections (based on the location and time period that part of the novel was set in), it never felt very dense or like there was no end in sight. On contrary, because there was so much going on to hook me in, I didn't want it to finish... again!
In addition to the characters we've come to know and love (or hate) in the first book, there are many new ones in this novel making it sometimes slightly confusing (especially in the beginning when it took me a little while to familiarise myself with the characters again after such a long break) but mostly adding another layer of depth to the story and the world of Passenger. I was particularly intrigued by Lin Min, Henry and someone who I won't mention by name (because, spoilers) but has quickly become one of my absolute favourite characters in the series.
There is such an incredible richness to the relationships and inter-connectivity between the characters that closes the gap between the centuries and geographical distances, creating an immensely rich and satisfying reading experience. Not since the complexity and highly plotted world building of the Firebird series have I been so impressed by the growth of a setting and its key players from one book to the next. Yes, the level of depth does make this a novel that is not easy to dip in and out of on the commute, rather it requires a higher level of attention to keep up with everything, but once you're hooked in, you'll be racing through it until that final page.
I realise I've been very vague in my review for Wayfarer thus far, and purposefully so. This is a book filled with plot twists and surprising character additions, unexpected revelations of alliances and betrayals, new centuries and new locations, all of which are better enjoyed unspoiled. If you've enjoyed Passenger, you'll love its continuation too, and if you haven't read Passenger yet... what are you doing reading this review? Go to the book shop and pick up your copy today!
Wayfarer is published by Quercus and you can get your copy from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.
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