ARC Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken


Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Pages: 532, Hardcover
Series: Passenger, #2
Add on GoodReads



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 first words that come to mind when I think of descriptions of Wayfarer are “a lot”. This book was A Lot. Not only in terms of page number, but in terms of scope, and world, and characters, and hard choices, and battles to fight. And I loved nearly every minute of it.

Alexandra Bracken is an author who does ensemble casts really, really well (I’ve already mentioned that this was one of my favorite things in The Darkest Minds) so I was really happy to see that the cast expanded going into this book. While Passenger focused primarily on Nicholas and Etta, Wayfarer further explores and introduces quite a few characters who I loved.

I will admit I wasn’t as excited about Etta as I wanted to be. I like her as a character, but while she was brave and clever and passionate, but she didn’t stand out or feel distinct enough to be a favorite for me. I did, however, grow to love Nicholas–his guardedness, his determination and drive, his strong morality, his readiness to fight for what he wants and who he loves. Bracken explores Etta’s mother Rose and reveals her past in a way that fleshes her out and makes her sympathetic. Etta’s father Henry is introduced, and her ensuing relationship with him made me cry a little. New ally Li Min is intriguing, and I loved the way she interacted with Nicholas and Sophia. Nicholas’s half-brother Julian is clueless and cowardly, but good-hearted and funny and oddly lovable–he grows a lot during this book.

But the standout of the book for me was Sophia, who we meet in the first book as a bitter ambitious rich girl who wants to get back the power she has been denied all her life and basically hates everyone. I, being me, was intrigued by her right away. Wayfarer explores Sophia a lot–we learn about her past (it’s not what you might expect), her sexuality (she’s a lesbian. she and Li Min flirt while swordfighting. it’s as awesome as it sounds), and why she’s the person you want by your side (she’s brave and fiercely loyal and will fight for what she wants with everything she has). Wayfarer also gives you an opportunity to appreciate more of her spectacular snark.

A huge portion of Wayfarer is Nicholas and Sophia traveling together while looking for Etta, and their emerging friendship and trust was one of my favorite parts of the book. They made an amazing team and I enjoyed their mutual grumpiness.

Which leads me to another thing I loved about Wayfarer. While Passenger was very romance focused, the expanding of the cast and Nicholas and Etta’s separation in Wayfarer allowed for more focus and friendship and family–Nicholas’s relationship with Sophia, and Etta’s with her parents in particular.

That being said, Nicholas and Etta made my heart melt. Even though they spent most of the book separated, the connection between them was always strong. I loved the trust and partnership between them.

Like PassengerWayfarer  had some fun settings all over time and spaced. They were stunningly described and meticulously researched, and I could tell Alexandra Bracken had an amazing time writing about them. My personal favorite was 1919 Russia.

There’s also more exploration of the time traveler’s world–the darker corners and the mysterious beings that lurk in them. The world was a lot of complex than I’d given it credit for in the first book, and I hung on to every little detail. I was also immensely creeped out multiple times.

One final thing I loved was Wayfarer’s honest about the uglier parts of the past. The text is very clear about Sophia’s limited opportunities because she’s a woman, about Nicholas’s constant awareness of how people look at him him because he’s black. At the same time, there’s no pretense of the present being perfect–Etta acknowledges several times that it isn’t.

If I’m being honest, I think this book bit off a little more than it could chew–even with over 500 pages, there was a lot that felt confusing or unexplored. I feel like the world has so much more potential, and I wonder if there’s the possibility of a spin-off. I personally would be happy to read another book about Sophia and Li Min’s adventures.

If you found Passenger slow-paced or thought it had too much inner monologue, you probably won’t like Wayfarer any better–while the book is action-packed, it takes a while to get where it needs to be (taking the scenic route rather than the more direct path, so to speak). But the exploration of the world and the characters’ emotions made the book what it was, and I wouldn’t change a single word.


Waiting on Wednesday: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Hosted by Breaking the Spine


Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Pages: 464, Hardcover
Series: Passenger #1
Add on Goodreads


passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and181 the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever


The Darkest Minds was an amazing series and seeing it end last year was very emotional for me, so I’m excited to have more Alexandra Bracken words (and Alexandra Bracken pain) in my life in the form of this time travel adventure! The cover is gorgeous, and I can tell from the excerpts I’ve read that I will absolutely love the dynamic between the two main characters. Alexandra Bracken is just brilliant at characters and relationships that develop naturally and beautifully and break my heart and put it back together again.


So what are you waiting to read? Sound off in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday – Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken

WoWHosted by Breaking the Spine




Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Pages: 500, Hardcover
Series: The Darkest Minds 1.5, 2.5, 3.5
Add on Goodreads


Don’t miss this breathtaking collection of stories set in the world of the New York Times best-selling Darkest Minds trilogy. Featuring ebook original novellas In Time and Sparks Rise, available in print for the first time, and a gripping, brand-new novella, Through the Dark is a must-have for fans of the Darkest Minds. This collection contains three novellas: In Time, Sparks Rise, and Beyond the Night, as well as a sneak peek at the first novel in Alexandra Bracken’s new series, Passenger.


Gabe’s life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skip tracer. This already almost-impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first “score,”a young girl who won’t speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.


Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmond rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood.

Lucas has a deadly secret–he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk everything to save her.


The government-run “rehabilitation camps” have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the “cure”–a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there’s more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it.

Now that she’s out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother. She hasn’t seen him since they were separated and taken to different camps years ago, before Mia even became Psi. When Sam, Lucas’s childhood best friend, rescues Mia from the government’s inept care, Mia learns that nothing is as simple as she thought–and the past that she’s so desperate to salvage may not be possible to recover..


Guys. GUYS. You all know how I feel about the Darkest Minds trilogy. You all know that Alexandra Bracken’s characters feel unique and real and I love all of them. You all know that she is one of the only few authors whose bonus novellas, In Time and Sparks Rise, made me cry nearly as much as the series themselves. And those of you more familiar with the series know that Sparks Rise, the last novella, did not end happily for the main characters.

Alexandra Bracken mentioned on her tumblr that she was planning to write a third novella which wrapped up the storylines of the characters in Sparks Rise and hopefully gave them a happier ending, so I spent the last couple of months eagerly awaiting her announcement, and now I get this. Not only is there going to be a third novella, but it’s going to be LONG (around 50k words), and it’s going to be released in a bind-up with the two other novellas, both of which I’ve already mentioned I loved. I’m looking forward to seeing the characters I love one last time and saying goodbye to one of my favorite series that I’ve read in the past year.

So what are you waiting to read? Sound off in the comments!

Book Review: In the Afterlight by Alaxandra Bracken

Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: October 28th 2014
Pages: 535, Hardcover
Series: The Darkest Minds, 3
Add on GoodReads

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.


Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy is one of my biggest book surprises of 2014. I expected it to be a series I mildly enjoyed and forgot about as soon as it was over. I did not expect to fall so deeply in love with the characters and relationships, to stay up until 3 AM internally screaming over an action scene or crying after a particularly upsetting character death. This is a series that combines action and emotional intensity and beautiful, beautiful character interactions in a way that destroys me inside. Continue reading