Wayfarer, the Children’s Book Blog Tour feature for June, is R. J. Anderson‘s second novel. I had the privilege of reviewing the first, Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter back in March, which is why I jumped on the opportunity to participate in this tour.
Despite the fact that my initial reaction to stories about faeries was negative, I found myself wholly engrossed in the world and the characters Anderson created. So that brings me to the review of Wayfarer, the sequel to the book that introduced me to the Oakenwyld and the faeries without magic.
The Story. Fifteen years after the end of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter Linden, the step-daughter to the main character I grew to love, is ready to take on an adult role in the Oakenwyld. But she faces a dying world. Her queen, the only faery with magic in the Oak, is dying, and along with her, the glimpse that keeps predators from knowing that a colony of faeries lives inside.
Linden receives a portion of the queen’s magic and the assignment to find other faeries who can restore the magic to the dwindling and endangered group.
Meanwhile, a new human moves into the big house—Paul’s young nephew Timothy, the son of missionaries who is experiencing a crisis of faith. In days, feeling confused, betrayed and alone, Timothy strikes out on his own.
Except unbeknown to him, Linden goes along. And so their adventures begin. Both their lives and the ones they love are at risk unless they team up to find help.
Strengths. It’s hard for me to say how much I loved this book. At one point as I was reading, I had to put it down and think about how well crafted it was. I was fully engaged, the plot complications naturally ratcheted the tension higher, and the stakes became greater.
How did she do it, I asked myself. One event naturally grew out of another event, one choice naturally let to a greater problem. And the story bloomed before my eyes.
Danger, intrigue, surprise. These are the hallmarks of a great plot. But this story was more. It also had great characters—believable, troubled, courageous, ultimately sacrificial. They became admirable and I wanted so very much to see them succeed.
And still there was more. Wayfarer addresses some deep issues, perhaps the central most being the need to take a risk on behalf of others rather than to seek a selfishly safe haven for a few like-minded folk (or faeries).
Weakness. A few reviewers said they liked Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter a bit more than Wayfarer. I didn’t feel that way. I loved them equally.
If I had to give a criticism, I’d say this one started a little slow. I was shocked to be in the point of view of a human boy in the first chapter (I blame this on the girlie-girl cover). I also thought he was an unreliable narrator because he found fault with the characters I loved in the first book. So it took me a little while to warm up to Timothy.
The turning point for me was when Linden did the first heroic deed. Because I wanted her to succeed, I also wanted Timothy to succeed, and I was hooked.
Recommendation. I consider this one a must read for fantasy lovers. I give the book my highest recommendation to anyone, young or old, male or female, who loves a good story.
Finally, I’d like to invite you to see what tour participants are talking about (several have some excellent author interviews).
Special thanks to HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, for supplying me with a review copy of Wayfarer.