Wayfarer

20983366by Alexandra Bracken
YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
4 of 5 stars

Yet another immensely satisfying end to a series! The 500-page factor had me a little hesitant to dive in—I knew I would need TIME—but once I did I found this even faster-paced with more adventure than Passenger.

Etta and Nicholas are separated across centuries and continents and their fight to find each other and destroy the astrolabe jumps us to every imaginable period and region (though regrettably, no dinosaurs). Etta finds herself in the care of the Thorns, with surprisingly not-dead people intent on helping her. Nicholas and Sofia struggle not to kill each other as they track the astrolabe, with the mysterious assistance and resistance of traveler Li Min. Surprises and twists keep the pages flying by!

Once again, the attention to detail and research blew me away. It just feels like you are there, no matter where they go. There’s more magic this time, and definitely more secrets to expose, so without spoilers, anything you loved in the first book is doubled in this installment! It made me want to plan a bunch of trips by the time I finished it.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Wayfarer is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – Not technically time-travel, but this is a beautiful story about a girl with a cursed horoscope that finds herself caught between the human and the Otherworld in a mystery that involves lifetimes. See my review here.
  • Abarat by Clive Barker – Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, U.S.A. is bored to death until a wave carries her from our world to the world of the Abarat, where every island is an hour of the day and a dark power is threatening to destroy it all. Weird but interesting portal fantasy with incredible artwork!
  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley – When Kate and Jerrod meet there’s an actual lightning storm—in their classroom. Kate must convince the skeptical Jerrod that he has magical powers, and that the curse that has dogged his family is something they will need to travel to the past to fix. This is a fun read you’ll breeze through in a few hours.
  • A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones – One of the best fantasy writers of our time tackles time-travel in a unique way. Time City is built on a patch of space outside of time, and its residents are charged with overseeing the cycle of history. But when the timeline begins to crumble, two boys pluck Vivian Smith from Twenty Century to help them save it. Except they got the wrong Vivian, and now they have to save the timeline anyway! So good and will squeeze your brain.

What’s new this month

Happy new year! Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month:

209833661/3 – Wayfarer – by Alexandra Bracken

Etta’s debut violin recital culminated with being pulled into the 1700s by an estranged time-traveling relative. With the quest to find the astrolabe and save her mother and the Timeline in tatters, Etta awakens in an unknown time, alone. Nicholas and Sophia have teamed up and are racing through time to find Etta and astrolabe before the Ironwood clan destroys everything. I loved Passenger (see my review here) and I can’t wait to be immersed in a new set of times and place with these characters!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


299393901/10 – Windwitch – by Susan Dennard

The explosive start to this series had me on the edge of my seat the entire time! (You can see my review here). Safi and Iseult are best friends with special abilities, called witcheries. Safi can always tell truth from lies, and Iseult sees the bonds between people. Truth-telling is a rare and valued skill among the three kingdoms, and Safi has kept it hidden until now. With two kingdoms and bounty hunter bloodwitch on their trail, the two friends struggle to stay one step ahead of plans they hardly grasp. Now Prince Merik, a windwitch, must find them and save his kingdom from his conniving sister. I am so excited for this book, her world-building is excellent and the non-stop action is addictive!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


254891341/10 – The Bear and the Nighingale – by Katherine Arden

A story inspired by Russian fairy tales! When a stranger gives Pytor a necklace for his young daughter, he hides it away. Vasya is a wild child who grows up realizing that with the power of the necklace she might be able to save her village the dark foces that threaten to destroy them all. I absolutely adore fairy tales and I can’t wait to see what this winter story holds!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


 


220820821/31 – Our Own Private Universe – by Robin Talley

Aki knows she’s bisexual, even if she has only dated guys. Her best friend is the only person who knows, and that’s fine for now. But when they go on a youth-group mission trip to Mexico Aki meets Christa–the first girl she has wanted to date. This sounds like all the female friendship and all the LGBTQ love! I’m so excited–a cute story with interesting friendship dynamics. I’m curious to see how they explore the church aspect too.

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


306523341/31 – The Crystal Ribbon – by Celeste Lim

So curious about this one! A middle-grade novel about Jing, a girl in medieval China who is sold as a bride to a baby in order to provide money for her family. When she is treated badly by her betrothed’s family and sold again, Jing decides it’s time to take control of her own life. She wants to find home again, and she just might with the help of fantastical creatures guiding her way. I love middle-grade books, and this sounds like something completely new to me. So excited to see how it unfolds!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


278832141/31 – Caraval – by Stephanie Garber

I don’t think I have the words for excited I am about this book! I’ve been looking forward to it since last MAY. Sisters Scarlett and Tella secure invitations to Caraval, and incredible annual performance where the audience participates in the show. Despite being assured that it’s all a game, Scarlett quickly realizes that losing will have serious consequences. She has five nights to find her missing sister before everything unravels. Siblings! Magic! A carnival! Love! I signed up ages ago and I will devour this book!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

What to read again:

Ever since Harry Potter I’ve enjoyed re-reading the previous books in a series before the next one comes out. You get to soak up all the nuances and speculate about what’s going to happen next—it just makes the whole experience richer and more fun! What am I going to start re-reading?

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger

I was engrossed in this book and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Etta’s life revolved around her debut as a violin prodigy — but things changed when she was attacked and dragged through time to a ship in 1776. Family history and actual history took center stage and Etta had to piece everything together as a captive of her newly-discovered grandfather, a time patriarch concerned with getting something called an astrolabe back to continue living in wealth.

Etta hunts for the astrolabe to save her captured mother, but the more she jumps through time the more unprepared she feels for saving everything at stake.

It’s hard to say more without spoilers, but you can read my review here, and jump on board before the sequel comes out in January!

20983366

Passenger

Passengerby Alexandra Bracken
YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
4 of 5 stars

I am so embarrassed that it took me six months to get to this book! Busy season (aka tax season) at work happened, then my revisions and reading ban happened, and then Leviosa Con happened and I just HAD to at least start reading this beautiful thing!

Dystopian books aren’t really my jam, so I never got around to picking up The Darkest Minds series that Bracken is so well known for, but this one is about time-travel so obviously I was sucked in immediately! Etta has spent her entire life preparing to make her debut as a professional violinist, but those dreams come crashing down onstage when she finds herself dragged (quite literally) into a mysterious portal and transported to a ship at sea in 1776. From there we learn about time-traveling families, preserving (or altering) the timeline and everything that can go wrong. Throw in the Godfather-esque leader of the families, handsome sailor Nicholas Carter, and a quest for a magical astrolabe that can create new passages (instead of just monitoring the existing ones) and you have an amazing quest that makes it feel like you’re traveling from your couch. (I love this feeling because actual traveling is expensive). And the END – bonus points for an incredible and torturous ending!

The level of research and detail that went into each era and setting boggles my mind but I expected this level of excellence since Bracken was a history major. No slip-ups with what a character would or wouldn’t know, a sensitive handling of religious and racial differences throughout history, and characters with deep-rooted and conflicting motivations that brought about satisfying clashes throughout the plot—this is a lovingly detailed book that creates wistfulness for the past and hope for the future at the same time. I love how it highlights that every era is imperfect—there is no golden age, but that’s okay.

The middle felt a little slow, mostly because the characters need a break from the constant chase/no sleep but even those scenes are satisfying because of the dialogue. The bulk of the story moves along at a good pace, which is hard to do when so much description is required.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book and where we get to travel! I know wherever we go it will feel like I can breathe it in.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Passenger is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!


Similar reads:

  • The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – This time-travel story debuted earlier this year, and though it didn’t happen to be my cup of tea, I think anyone who wants to continue on a time-travel kick should pick it up! Nix’s father sails a ship to any time (real or imaginary) based on the maps he collects. Nix helps him in his quests, despite knowing what her father wants to do is undo his wife’s death by returning before Nix is born—and possibly erasing her existence in the process.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  – Not technically time-travel, but this is a beautiful story about a girl with a cursed horoscope that finds herself caught between the human and the Otherworld in a mystery that involves lifetimes. See my review here.
  • Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee – Kai has always been able to see and manipulate the threads of time, but when her adopted brother goes missing, she is drawn into a quest to find him that will change everything she knows about her true identity. See my review here.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – A classic time-travel book involving time and space dimensions and one girl’s quest for her missing father. Pick this up if you love time-travel at all, it is so good!
  • A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones – One of the best fantasy writers of our time tackles time-travel in a unique way. Time City is built on a patch of space outside of time, and its residents are charged with overseeing the cycle of history. But when the timeline begins to crumble, two boys pluck Vivian Smith from Twenty Century to help them save it. Except they got the wrong Vivian, and now they have to save the timeline anyway! So good and will squeeze your brain.
  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley – When Kate and Jerrod meet there’s an actual lightning storm—in their classroom. Kate must convince the skeptical Jerrod that he has magical powers, and that the curse that has dogged his family is something they will need to travel to the past to fix. This is a fun read you’ll breeze through in a few hours.
  • Abarat by Clive Barker – Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, U.S.A. is bored to death until a wave carries her from our world to the world of the Abarat, where every island is an hour of the day and a dark power is threatening to destroy it all. Weird but interesting portal fantasy with incredible artwork!
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – A nonstop quest with a cast of compelling characters (though not time-travel). Safi is a truthwitch, able to tell truth from lies, an ability coveted by almost everyone. She and her best friend Iseult try to figure out who to trust as they evade the different kingdoms that want to claim Safi’s power for their own. See my review here.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – The ultimate heist story! Six criminals band together to capture and destroy a power that could end their world, but they all have different motivations that might tear them apart. See my review here.

What’s new this month

Happy new year! 2016 is starting off with a bang – here are the books I’m looking forward to this month:

Truthwitch1/5 – Truthwitch – by Susan Dennard

This has been getting more than its fair share of hype and marketing for about a year now, so I’m super excited to finally read it! Originally pitched on twitter as Avatar: the Last Airbender meets pirates, I’ve been craving it for months. This is much more up my alley than Dennard’s previous trilogy (Something Strange and Deadly), so I’m excited to see what her style is like and how she meshes with Sarah J. Maas (her soul-twin/BFF). This story was inspired by their real-life friendship. How fun is that?!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


 

Passenger1/5 – Passenger – by Alexandra Bracken

Another instance where her original trilogy didn’t grab me (The Darkest Minds) but I’m excited to read this book. Time-travel, adventure, destiny, a sort of treasure hunt…yes please! I know time-travel is one of those things that people tend to love or hate depending on execution, so I really hope I like her style. She’s coming to Denver in a couple of weeks so I get to meet her as well! (And attempt to not be awkward).

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 


 

Bookishly1/16 – Bookishly Ever After – by Isabel Bandeira

This is a debut novel that seems super cute. Phoebe just wants a life as exciting and romantic as the books she reads. When she starts falling for Dev in real life, she decides to imitate her favorite characters in order to win his heart. But what if it doesn’t work? Normally this isn’t my thing but how can I resist, it just sounds too stinkin’ cute!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 


 

dark days1/26 – The Dark Days Club – by Alison Goodman

London, demon hunters, mystery, yes please! Goodman’s world-building is incredible, so I can’t wait to dive into my favorite city through her words. I’m hoping this puts an adventurous spin on a modern version of a “period novel” to break up long descriptions. This is the first in a trilogy!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

What’s new this month

First of all, I re-organized some menus, so reviews should be easier to find. Yay, organization!

Second, and more importantly, ’tis finally the season of good books! There is magic happening on bookshelves everywhere for the next two months. Drum roll please, here–after almost a year of waiting–are the books I’m excited about this month:

Queen of Shadows9/1 – Queen of Shadows – by Sarah J. Maas

The fourth Throne of Glass installment came out Tuesday and I could not be more excited! I haven’t loved a series this much since Harry Potter – I cannot wait to see what happens next! Whatever you’ve heard, believe the hype, and jump into this 6-book series before it’s over and you missed it. There’s a giveaway here for the first three books in paperback until 9/11/15!

More info here: Goodreads and Powell’s


A New Hope9/22 – A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy – by Alexandra Bracken

A fully illustrated Star Wars novel for old and new fans alike. This promises some narrative twists to one of the most famous film sagas, and I think it’s an interesting concept. The artwork is done by actual Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig, and this is going to be a series of books with a fresh voice. The author also wrote The Darkest Minds trilogy. I can’t wait to flip through this and see what it’s really like.

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


six of crows9/29 – Six of Crows – by Leigh Bardugo

I thoroughly enjoyed her Grisha trilogy and this duology is set in the same universe but with different characters. Her writing is explosive and cinematic, and I can’t wait to see how her novels about a group of miscreants pulling off a heist play out, especially with the magic system she has created. This is described as a fantasy version of Ocean’s 11 – what could be more fun?

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


The Raven King temp9/29 – The Raven King – by Maggie Stiefvater

Remember, this book’s publication has been delayed until February 2016. We don’t even have cover art yet! I was really bummed about this, but there is plenty to be excited about in October, and then it’s the holidays and the next Sherlock season, and then boom – it will only be a month away! This is the coping mechanism I suggest for all of you.

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