Book Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

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.

Holy. Cow.

Let me start by saying, that I love time travel. However, time travel gives me a headache because it makes me think too much and ask too many questions. That being said, that only happened like three times over the course of these two books. This sequel is incredible. There’s always so much that’s going on but it never feels like too much. And at the same time, it’s at a pace where you can grasp how the mechanics of traveling work, without questioning it too much because you’re too invested in what’s going to happen next.

I was lucky enough to meet Alex Bracken (and Susan Dennard) on the WayWitch tour, and something that Alex said about how she constructs her characters really stuck out to me, “what about your world has caused you to be this way?” She does an excellent job of portraying that on the page, and for me, the biggest example of that is Nicholas. Not only in his motivations for independence and freedom from the Ironwoods, but in how Etta, and later Sophia and Julian, see him and how the recognize their privilege (the word privilege is actually used multiple times and it’s glorious).

I was so excited to get more of Sophia’s story in this book. Honestly, I loved her in the first one, even though she was always getting in the way. To me, it definitely always felt like there was more to her, and I am so so so glad that Bracken decided to expand on her character. And I’m even MORE glad that she explicitly says that she prefers women and always has. Nicholas’s response was also amazing. I love that they grudgingly come to rely on each other and even care about each other. Their journey and friendship is one of my favorite parts of the book.

In a book about time travel with ruthless people taking the idea of “the ends justify the means” a little too far, for me, this book was more about family. Every single character is on a journey that connects them with family, whether it is blood or found. But at the same time, it shows that family is messy and not perfect and sometimes you have to confront the fact that your parents can make mistakes.

I could talk about this book all day, honestly, I loved it a lot, 4.5 bards.

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

20983366

Release Date: January 3, 2017

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.

 

 

Book Playlist: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra-Bracken-PassengerAfter I finished Passenger I had to clean up my apartment, and so as I usually do, I put on some music, just a random collection of songs that I put on shuffle. I ended up hearing about four songs in a row that reminded me of the book, so I decided to compile a list of songs that I thought fit the story or the characters. Beware, it’s a little spoiler-y, but I hope you enjoy it!

Ships in the Night by Mat Kearney; I actually thought of this from a line in the book, because Nicholas says something along these lines and I thought it went perfectly with the overall story.
And if it all goes crashing into the sea, If it’s just you and me trying to find the light, Like ships in the night

Disappear by Parachute; This one mostly reminds me of Nicholas. After Julian, he was a little lost, but he knew he wanted to be at sea and away from the Ironwoods.
You don’t have to know where you’re going, Just where it is you wanna be

Start a Riot by BANNER; This one also reminds me of Nicholas, more in relation to Etta being his passenger. He tells he would go to the ends of the Earth to bring her back and make sure she is safe.
I will march down an empty street like a ship into the storm, No surrender, no retreat

Cry Baby by The Neighbourhood; This is about both Nicholas and Etta because they both know what they’re heading towards while also keeping secrets from the other.
I know I’ll fall in love with you, baby, And that’s not what I wanna do

Run Away with Me by Carly Rae Jepson; Reminds me of Etta, because if she had it her way she would take Nicholas away to a place where they could be together without fear.
This is the part, you’ve got to say all that you’re feeling, feeling, Packing a bag, we’re leaving tonight when everyone’s sleeping, sleeping

Fire and the Flood by Vance Joy; As much as he tries to deny it and push Etta away, he feels for her and he can’t stop the way he feels.
You’re the fire and the flood, And I’ll always feel you in my blood

Without You by Parachute; Now that she’s had Nicholas, she never wants to let him go and she can’t imagine travelling without him, even after only a week.
It’s only been a moment, it’s true, But I could never live this life without you

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Sleeping at Last; As much as I love the Proclaimers, this is more Nicholas’ speed I think. But after Etta disappears you know for certain that Nicholas would travel to the ends of the earth to find her.
But I would walk five hundred miles, And I would walk five hundred more, Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, To fall down at your door

How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding; I included this one mostly because it’s the song at the end of my favorite movie about time travel and love, About Time. They both teach you about living and loving for the moment, so I thought it was fitting to end with this one.
How long will I be with you? As long as the sea is bound to, Wash up on the sand

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra-Bracken-PassengerIn 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 and 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, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick 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.

In a book about time travel, an impossible love, and even privilege, the most important quote is this, “But she wondered if, in moving outside the natural flow of time, they had forgotten the most crucial part of life – that is wasn’t meant to be lived for the past, or even the future, but for each present moment.” I legitimately had to stop reading for a moment and just take that in.

Nicholas and Etta’s sexual tension and angst is 100% my jam. I am so here for all of that. I love a good angst-filled romance and Alex Bracken wrote theirs perfectly. I was always on edge with them, especially when they were dancing around each other (which, really, was almost always).

These two characters are forced together to complete an impossible task through time-traveling, and in turn they learn so much about the other and themselves. While Nicholas learns what it could be like to love someone, someone like Etta, out of his time, he learns that he is not truly the heartless man that he claims to be. Etta, on the other hand, has lived a life of privilege and is forced to realize that she never once considered how life would be for Nicholas, a freed slave, in his own time. What I’ve noticed, not just in Passenger, but in so many YA novels recently, is that the stories are becoming more than just about romance and adventure and finding yourself, but also learning something about the rest of the world around you. In our society, representation is so important, yet sometimes so hard to find, so I can really appreciate when authors take their own leaps out of what they know to educate their readers.

Definitely loved this one, even if it ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next one. Keep an eye out for the reading playlist I made to go along with this book tomorrow! Four and a half bards.
four.fivebards

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Authors I’ve only read one book from but NEED to read more

1. Jennifer Echols
Such a Rush is on my favorites bookshelf and I own a few more of her books, but I always get distracted reading other books. I need to get on this!

2. Ava Dellaira
-It will be a little hard for me to read another book by Dellaira when she hasn’t published any more than Love Letters to the Dead. But believe that I will be stalking the shelves for another book by her.

3. Markus Zusak
– I think part of my reason for not reading more of Zusak’s work is due to the fact that I love The Book Thief so much, I just don’t want that reading experience and my idea of this author to be tainted if his other work doesn’t measure up.  I need to suck it up and read them anyway.

4. Laini Taylor
– Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of my favorite books the year it came out, and I own the other two books (such is the case for a lot of authors on this list) but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet!

5. Morgan Rhodes
-Oh, Falling Kingdoms, what an excellent example of high fantasy you are in the young adult genre.  I own the second book and already have the third on pre-order. So what am I waiting on?

6. Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides is an amazing novel and it really was the first book I read that showcased what depression and isolation can do.  After TVS Eugenides won a Pulitzer, so I definitely need to read more of his work.

7. Lucy Christopher
Stolen was an amazing book, and Christopher hasn’t put out a whole lot of work since then, but I need to read her other novels ASAP.  I can only hope they live up to the wonderful story and writing that comprised Stolen.

8. Alexandra Bracken
– I read and enjoyed The Darkest Minds, and I’ve had an ARC of Neverfade since BEA 2013, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. I need to do that since the third one is coming out soon!

9. Jennifer L. Armentrout
– Armentrout is a big deal.  I mean at Book Expo America she had about 4 different signing opportunities, and they were all for different books.  Everyone and their Mom was in line to see her.  So after LOVING Don’t Look Back, I’ve taken it upon myself to purchase more of her books, and I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about.

10. Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals was by far one of my favorite books of 2013, and I already have a copy of the sequel that comes out in November.  So I will read a second book by her, which I suppose is cheating, but I NEED to read it. Loved this story.

 

What are some of your authors you ABSOLUTELY have to read more of?

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books I Read in 2013
(Click on the Titles for my Reviews!)

1. Splintered by A.G. Howard

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

3. Finding It by Cora Carmack

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

5. Don’t Worry It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

7. The Girl With the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

8. The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

9. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

10. Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

 

What were some of your favorite reads of 2013?  Maybe I’ll read one and it will make my 2014 list!

 

 

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