In this heroic gaslamp fantasy, superhuman abilities bring an adventurous new dimension to 1820 London, where an outlaw speedster and a master of illusion do battle to decide who will own the city.
Think being a superhero is hard? Try being the first one.
Will’s life is a proper muddle—and all because he was “accidentally” inflicted with the ability to run faster and leap higher than any human ever. One minute he’s a blacksmith’s apprentice trying to save his master from debtor’s prison. The next he’s accused of murder and hunted as a black-hearted highwayman.
A vengeful politician with dark secrets and powers even more magical than Will’s has duped all of London into blaming Will for the chilling imprisonments of the city’s poor. The harder Will tries to use his abilities to fight crime, the deeper he is entangled in a dark underworld belonging to some of Georgian England’s most colorful characters.
Only Will stands a chance of stopping this powerful madman bent on “reforming” London by any means necessary. Unfortunately, Will is beginning to realize becoming a legend might mean sacrificing everything that matters.
Read this adrenaline-fueled historical superhero adventure today!
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso.
She is the award-winning and internationally published author of acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic.
Her fiction includes the gaslamp fantasy Wayfarer, the historical/dieselpunk adventure Storming, the portal fantasy Dreamlander, and the medieval epic Behold the Dawn.
When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her award-winning blog HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.com.
Wow! This was definitely intense like Wyland's other novels. I was riveted and read it in a relatively short time.
The author did a great job making every setting feel real. London was grimy, the country was fair but poor, the pickpockets were unsavory. I believed the cruel men, that they were really evil.
The main character, Will, was a bit of a pragmatist, to begin with. His mind was focused on a select few goals, and nothing was going to stop him. This is where the messages come in. They weren't heavyhanded at all, but they were clear and made sense. They were real struggles. Will's desire for respect led him to flirt with becoming dishonorable. I was impacted by the mentor's resolve that nothing should be traded, you don't earn with compromise, you just stand rock solid and act upon what's right.
I liked Rose. Didn't expect it, but I got attached. She was kind of funny too. :)
There were other cool people and a compelling bad guy, and a very sickening bad guy.
So, I don't usually read magic. I was initially uncomfortable with the way magic featured into this, but it ended up being a natural phenomenon of concentrated energy (trackways) that gave Will his ability. But again, no one was casting spells or making dead things alive, or building candy houses for that matter. The bad guy didn't even have flying monkeys and the premise of "magic" floated to the back of my mind.
Now there was a bad guy who was cruel to children... so yeah. If you're sensitive, you'll at least be disgusted by him.
Anyway, long story short (or novel length) Wayfarer was enjoyable, packed with action and dilemmas, a dash of romance (I forgot to mention there's a girl), and Wyland's masterful plotting expertise that kept me guessing and worried.
... I read this book on my phone and let me just say, I read this a LOT faster than I've read books half this size. (That is a huge credit towards how much I enjoyed this book)!
I like super hero movies, I like books with adventure, awesome world building and books that have a point! How about one that is all of that put together? Fast paced with an awesome magic system. I really felt like I was in the world. The characters were amazing! They were unique, relatable and awesome! Always running towards their goals. The friendships were so cute and *hugs them all*. The book had a great theme and the character arc was shown well.
A personal preference would have been to see the main character heal more from physical wounds after they happened. Maybe that would have been considered unnecessary or boring, but I dunno, I like those scenes. :) Also, a few of the times I felt like there was language or swearing, but maybe it was correct/clean in context.
There was a bit of blood and scare in it. I don't recommend for younger people, but I was mostly fine by it. One or two scenes were a little meh for me.
I really enjoyed this. The fight scenes. The thoughts. The loveable beans with their unique voices. I gasped, my eyes welled up, I grinned often and laughed. When I need a good book to read, I know which one to come back to!
If you like Marvel movies (especially Spiderman far from home *spoiler to why that is*), Behind the Mask movie by the Burns Family studios, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes and London books....
Read it!! I recommend it! I'm going to have to get a paperback copy. :D
OH. MY. GOODNESS. As a superhero fan, I absolutely LOVED this book! Weiland made it so vivid and had such a realistic historical voice for the time period. I fell in love with all the characters (love little Rose!) and this story will definitely be one I'll remember.
This book was amazing! KM Weiland did not disappoint in her latest novel, which is also the first fiction book from her that I've read. I know that I'll be reading her other works now because of how well-written and engaging this one was.
Wayfarer tells the story of Will Hardy, a blacksmith's apprentice who has accidentally ended up with superpowers. Despite the label "superhero" in the premise of this book, the story lacks the sci-fi-ish feel of your typical superhero tale-- fitting to say the least, because this book is set in nineteenth-century England and all. Even the dialogue and narration reflects the speech of that period, which was really well done. I actually got a more steampunk-y feel from the book, which is weird because this is not steampunk at all. I don't know; maybe the writing style and the descriptions did that, but hey, I like steampunk so it's cool with me. ;)
The characters were so much fun. Will was great, I need not say more; so was Tom, his master (apprentice-master master, not slavemaster master, mind you). Rose was such a sweet little thing who was clearly quite able to take care of herself, but who still was endlessly devoted to Will, and that was adorable. "Her Ladyship" Isabella Carstone was definitely another favorite, although I wish we got to see a tad bit more of her. I loved where the author took their relationship in the end, though! Some of the other guys-- Pish, Lifty, Postelwaite-- were very realistic and interesting. That was fun too. And ugh, the villains. Both Mr. Fitzroy and Mr. Monarch were creepy and despicable, Mr. Monarch especially. The thing with Mrs. Fitzroy was shudderingly true too, as was their son Henry. *shivers*
The plot was crazy intense and kept me turning the pages... that is unless I put it down and completely forgot abou it. Whoops. (That's why it took me so long to finish this one.)
Anyways, Wayfarer was a really good book! Definitely unique and something new, and I might reread it sometime. If you like historical adventure, superheroes with a twist, or gaslamp fantasy (is that what it's called? I never even knew it was a genre), then you might like this book! :)
Superheroes in Victorian times is a pretty cool premise, and I was waiting for this book to come out for a while. The story had some creative use of superpowers and some good twists, but I wasn't sure if it really needed to be 500 pages. I would have preferred the beginning of the story to be more streamlined and the prose as a whole to be crisper and less wordy. Apart from that, I liked the symbolism in the heroes' powers and it had some good character work.
I love superheroes. Watching them casually achieve impossible feats to save the world relaxes me, plus it offers a sentimental value. As a child, I’ve spent a fortune (thanks mom and dad) on comic books. Despite my fondness of the genre, I find most books about superheroes lacking compared to movies and graphic novels. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, and Weiland’s Wayfarer is one.
Set in the Regency England, the story takes place in 1820 London, where an outlaw speedster and a master of illusion confront each other to decide who will own the city. It seems the author has done a lot of research to make things feel and sound right. Weiland’s London is one of the most vivid and memorable settings I’ve had the pleasure to read about recently. You can almost smell it (not recommended, Regency England isn’t famous for hygiene or environmental care). Sure, she used more than few solid paragraphs to paint the world, but I didn’t mind. The setting played an important role in the events.
The level of detail, cultural and language accuracy feels immersive without being overly expositional. It should impress history enthusiasts. Weiland incorporates a vernacular to her storytelling and as much as I appreciate her elegant language I admit the use of archaisms (naughts, aughts, and more) tired me and took out of the story few times. I needed a while to get used to it but with time I started to appreciate the richness of her writing. Coupled with the unique twists, it made Wayfarer difficult to put down, especially the final third, which seemed to fly by.
Main and secondary characters feel distinct, well-rounded and three-dimensional, but it’s the antagonist, Fitzroy, who truly shines and overshadows others with a distinct personality and single-minded focus on reforming London, no matter the cost. Despite the atrocities he commits, at times it was difficult not to respect him. As a vengeful politician with dark secrets and impressive powers, he stands out as a memorable villain.
Wayfarer himself is a simple lad trying to figure out what to do with his new powers and longing for a better life. He makes mistakes and pays for them. His choices are questionable, but he remains relatable and believable throughout. He falls for a beautiful (and smart!) girl from high-society. I’m not a fan of romance in books, but Weiland made it balanced, difficult and clever. No complaints here.
Any issues/drawbacks? Well, Weiland loves language/ Sometimes too much and her writing becomes too wordy (subjective). Also, the climax. She didn’t pull the punches, but it was just too long (also subjective). Anything else? I don’t think so.
Readers appreciating elegant (if sometimes flowery) prose and immersive settings will appreciate the book. But it offers much more than just craftsmanship and dedication to well-rounded and beautiful sentences. Weiland’s way of blending action, suspense and drama keeps the novel moving with a superb pace and she knows well when and how to tug at reader’s heartstrings. If you’re in the mood for a well-written gaslamp heroic fantasy, consider Wayfarer as your next read.
The Wayfarer is my favorite superhero ever! I got into K.M. Weiland through her books on writing (which are fabulous) and her writing blog, and then from there I tried Dreamlander, and then Wayfarer. I was impressed with Dreamlander, but I was blown away by Wayfarer. Wayfarer is one of my new favorite novels, and I believe that it is the most well written modern novel I have read (but what else could you expect from someone who is so educated on the writing process?). I really felt like I related with Will, and I LOVED all the other characters as well. It was such an interesting cast, ranging from upper class politicians to middle class blacksmiths to lower class thugs. It’s theme is cohesive, resonant, really memorable, and it has stuck with me far longer than that of other books. The characters are unique and vivid, the settings feel real, and the adventure is amazing. The story reminded me of the works of Charles Dickens (particularly Great Expectations and Little Dorrit), while being written in a modern style, filled with fantastical elements, and following a quick paced action beat. It was awesome to read this book after having read many of her books on writing, because I could really see her principles being played out in a strong, thrilling manner. Read this new adrenaline-fueled historical superhero adventure today! P.S. K.M. Weiland, if you read this, please come out with more Wayfarer adventures soon! I can't wait to hear what happens next!
Gaslight fantasy… I didn’t even know that was a genre. But K.M. Weiland’s Wayfarer, set in 1820s England is a fantastic tale of a young man who becomes a superhero.
Will is a blacksmith’s apprentice whose family died in debtors’ prison. Despite his master’s advice, he can’t ignore the way people look down on him. The strange powers that afflict him could earn him respect—or they could get him killed.
Complex characters and vivid descriptions make a compelling read.
Wayfarer is a satisfyingly long and richly-crafted novel that takes readers from the open country to the dark heart of a London slum, from ornate mansions to Marshalsea Prison. Danger abounds, the stakes are overwhelming, yet there are glimpses of loyalty, love, and even a bit of humour.
Favourite line (as Will is about to jump into the midst of a crowd he needs to impress):
Falling just now, screaming in pain, would probably fail to inspire these good people. [Page 275]
This is a clean read, if grim in places. I’m pleased to see the ending leave room for a sequel.
Will can run faster and leap higher than any human being in England's underworld.
When he's accused of murder, he must use supernatural gifts to survive. Only Will can stop a madman bent on reforming London by any means possible.
I've been waiting for this book to come out for some time. My expectations were high, and I wasn't disappointed. "What a ride," comes to mind as I think of this story. Continuous action gripped me and didn't release my curiosity until the very end. -And, what an ending.
As advertised: Adrenaline-fueled historical superhero adventure. So true! I'd add, surprises filled the pages.
Wayfarer by K.M. Wyland hits all the necessary tropes to make a great superhero story, and at the same time, owns its historical setting in the 1820s. Superheroes and Georgian England actually meld very nicely together.
The story is populated with fun endearing characters, along with a great villain with unique powers and believable motivations.
The book explores the theme of how others view us, which is an issue most of us struggle with at some point in our lives.
The language roots the story in its place and time, but remains very readable.
K.M Wyland delivers yet another winner, which I would recommend to any lover of superheroes.
I loved this book so much. Plenty of action to keep you turning pages, characters that you either love very much(Will, Tom, and Rose) or that you want to get very far away from the good guys bc they're not nice AT ALL, and the themes that tied up the end were fantastic.
Basically, yes, I would 100/10 recommend this book.
(I received an ARC version in exchange for an honest review.)
The way this books plot develops by side characters just ignoring common sense or any sort of logic is extremely frustrating and I almost quit reading the book half way in because of it. I stuck with it because I enjoy the core concept but feel that, in the end, it's just not enough.
Don't pick up this book, there's plenty of other fantasy books that are similar enough and just plain great.
This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. It incorporates fantasy and mystery elements, but still remains true to the class structure--both the high and the low--of 1820 London. The setting was immersive without overwhelming the story. The characters are as unique as real people, and their motivations are realistic within their varied personalities. Relationships delve into the many ways that people really do deal with one another, rather than just focusing on romance. The villains are as well-drawn as the heroes and they are a true force to be reckoned with. All of this made for a book that was extremely hard to put down.
As amazing as all of that was, the plot is what I found exceptional. It was rich, deep, and unpredictable all the way through. The ending was satisfying but not typical, and that in itself, was a delight!
After recently re-reading my favorite story by KM Weiland, "Behold the Dawn," and having liked "Dreamlander" a few years ago, I expected to like this book. I was genuinely surprised to find myself being as generous as I could by giving it a 3 (I don't like to leave reviews less than a 3). In case there may be other readers like me who aren't prepared for the difference in this book, I decided to leave a review that mentions the ups and downs I experienced. This author is wonderful with her research and descriptions, and as a history lover and an artist with an eye for inspiring settings, I loved that aspect of this story! She is a skilled writer and breathes life into interesting characters. Readers can feel themselves drawn into the setting and the story from the beginning. I started getting impatient after the first few chapters. I'm one of those people who knows plot structure and quickly figured out where the book was going. But it took much to long to get there, and soon, I was scanning. Then I started dragging across my Kindle pages to go through entire chapters, stopping to see where the next one picked up and if we were closer to the point. Often, we weren't. To be fair, I might have been more satisfied with the story if I hadn't scanned so much. I felt like I was camping out instead of moving through an adventure. Readers could have had a breathless experience with this novel in about half the pages, but if they are the types who like details, this style will satisfy. I was also disappointed that a writer so skilled with words used a few language choices that leave me unable to recommend the book to friends. Otherwise it was a clean story.
Wyland's newest historical fantasy is a delight! Wyland runs the Helping Writers Become Authors website, and she practices what she preaches. All cylinders are firing in this one with all the swashbuckling adventure, romance, and heart that you'd expect from Ms. Wyland. Her take on the whole superhero genre (of which she is an aficionado) is unique as well. Give all her other novels a try and support one of the best self-published authors out there.
Whew-whee, what a page-turner!! As of right now, I can only break my feelings down into a few points:
1. THAT ROMANCE. ESPECIALLY AT THE END. LADIES, FIND YOURSELVES A MAN LIKE WILL HARDY-AKA A MAN WHO WILL DATE YOU FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.
2. ROSE. GUYS I LOVED HERS AND WILL'S BROTHER-SISTER RELATIONSHIP SO MUCH.
3. LIFTY AND PISH AND POSTELWAITE AND TRABB ARE THE BEST SIDE CHARACTERS EVER I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE!!!!
5. I really hope Peggy is able to have a better life...
6. I was so right about Blue-Eyed Jem and man, was that a satisfying twist. (And on that note, why'd it seem every other person had blue eyes? Not that I have anything against blue eyes-mine are blue-but I don't recall any green or gray or hazel or brown.
7. I WANT TO PUNCH MR. MONARCH HOW DARE HE!!!!!
8. Question: What ever happened to Henry? How's he gonna react when he...erm...no spoilers.
Wayfarer was full of epic characters and magic. The book had deep meaningful themes that the characters represent spectacularly, whether in a positive or negative way. All of the characters were brilliant. Though some of them fit into story tropes they still each had their own personality and things that set them apart. They were dynamic, lovable (or despicable) characters but they are well rounded and when their backstory finally leaks out they make sense. The story started reasonably slowly but picked up by the end, and was engaging and page turning. The magic and characters really brought the settings to life. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was pleased with the satisfying conclusion. I'll be back for more K. M. Weiland books in the future.
This gaslamp fantasy adventure started on a roller coaster and kept going until the final pages! A wonderful cross of the worlds Dickens and Spider-Man, Deadpool and Wild Wild West and Les Miserables and Robin Hood. Yes something for everyone.
The characters were alive with wonderfully human flaws which provided an unexpected levity. The story is as complex and honest as the evolution of the original superhero could be. So much fun to leap through Will’s physical and moral evolution. The story and dialogue brought a realism to London’s early 1800s.
Wayfarer was infused with adventure, romance, magic and humour - cannot wait to see the movie ;)
Will Hardy doesn’t believe in the Affery Plague. But he somehow or other gets it and as a result acquires the ability to run superhumanly fast, run up the sides of buildings, and jump extremely high. But along with these abilities, he gets dizzy looking down from heights and suffers an extreme sensitivity to bright lights.
Will’s ambition is to go to London, and after the mysterious Dr. Silas, who is supposedly studying the plague, refuses to send him because he is uninteresting, he meets up with another mysterious character by the name of Fitzroy who offers to take him to London anyway.
Unfortunately, while he is in London Will gets on Mr. Fitzroy’s bad side. It is there that he discovers his incredible ability to run fast, but when he has run far from Mr. Fitzroy’s neighborhood, he gets tangled up with a nest of thieves and pickpockets when he tries to rescue a young girl from being run over by a mail coach. It turns out that was all part of their scam, and when Will tells the Bow Street runners he is the guest of Mr. Fitzroy to try to keep from being jailed as an accomplice in the robbery, they go to Fitzroy’s to check on him. Fitzroy didn’t want word of his abilities to get out.
It gets worse. Fitzroy turns him out, and Will returns to Affery only to find Tom Colville, the blacksmith to whom he has been apprenticed since his family’s death, being hauled away to debtor’s prison. At the same time, Fitzroy turns up visiting Dr. Silas, and he apparently gets the plague. Dr. Silas’ barn blows up, he appears to be burned to death in it, and Will is accused of his murder.
Will returns to London, determined to free Tom from the Marshalsea debtors’ prison where he has been incarcerated. But to do that, he needs money to pay Tom’s debt, and he has no way of earning money. So, he winds up allying himself with the thieves who got him in so much trouble over the mail coach robbery. He makes a deal with their boss, a certain Mr. Monarch, where some of Monarch’s henchmen give him tips about robberies planned by other groups of thieves and Will, with his superior speed foils the robberies and doesn’t turn down the rewards the rich intended victims offer him. The deal is he must give Mr. Monarch a cut, but in this way, he hopes to get the money to pay off Tom’s debt.
In the course of all this, Will and Rose, the girl from the mail coach caper, who has been helping him, discover that Fitzroy, who has since become Prime Minister, has developed his own superpower as a result of his exposure to the plague. He can make people see things that aren’t there. And he is using his power to take over the country. His specific goal is to eliminate poverty – by killing off all the poor people.
It’s up to Will, along with Tom and the inhabitants of the prisons and Rose and the thieves of the neighborhood known as the Dials, and the Lady Isabella, with whom he has fallen in love, to stop Fitzroy. But it won’t be easy going up against Fitzroy’s seemingly limitless power to create illusions.
The only book I've previously read by Wyland was Storming, which I enjoyed. But Wayfarer has made her ascend to the top of my favorite author's list. It's probably due to the fact that I love where the story takes place. London. 1800's.
I'm a big fan of historical fiction and superheroes and this book combines the two into a fantastical adventure. It felt like Oliver Twist meets the Flash.
I did wish she had delved a little more into what London was like during that time period. I realize it wasn't relevant to the story, but I'm a big historical buff and I always like soaking up the history of places and people. But this is a fictional superhero story and maybe it's not the best book to delve into historical facts and figures. What I did appreciate, though, was the language she used for her characters. It helped to transport you back to a different time and era. I loved the way they spoke, imparting eloquence and courtesy in their words. How I wish more people still talked like that today!
The characters were endearing and compelling. My favorites were Rose, Tom, and Lifty. The protagonist, Will, has a coming-of-age story that I think would resonate with a lot of young people. As he grows and endeavors to come to grip with the things that are changing around him and to him, he also learns the costs and sacrifices that must be made in the face of adversity. As for the adversary, the main nemesis, he makes for a good villain. My only wish was to maybe know more of what happened to him as a child, growing up, that brought him to this point where he wants to rid the world of poverty (and not in a well-meaning fashion). The author alludes to what he experienced in the slums of London, but it's not very detailed and I had trouble really understanding his motivation. I longed for a chapter that could have been a blast to his past where you get his life story in a condensed version. I was yearning to know a lot more about him than what was presented in the book, but overall I get the gist of his character and why he is bent on his mission. I think I was just left wanting more.
And that's the hard part! I want to read more! I understand she is writing a sequel and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. What will become of Will and Rose and Isabella? (I'm rooting for Rose!) Will a new villain arise or will old ones resurface that were once thought dead? What new characters will we meet that will bring the story to life again? I'm really looking forward to finding out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The writing is very formal and clunky for my taste.
It might be a deliberate style choice by the author - I have to take into consideration that the setting is 18 century England. My main issue with formal writing is that it reads very clunky.
Eg - the author uses a lot of awkward sentence starters/transition phrases outside of the character's POV, that are distracting to read. These awkward transition phrases give off college essay vibes, and interrupt the narrative flow.
I list them out, below.
In all truth ( Page 1, Chapter 1) Point of fact ( Page 2, Chapter 1) True enough ( Page 2, Chapter 1) Even truer ( Page 2, Chapter 1)
The author also focuses her descriptions on details that are "mundane " and " normal" and she stretches them out through explanations, which means its clearly for filler. I find the descriptive passages that focus on minute details that don't push the narrative and don't add any new information, very annoying ( repetitive tone ) and difficult to read (boring).
Here is an example: descriptions of character's physicality
"A golden goddess, she was—clean and sparkling in a wide-brimmed straw bonnet tied off under the slightest of dimples. She could not be more than eighteen—no more than a year younger than he." ( Page 2, Chapter 1)
I find the use of " golden goddess" a bit weird and vague. In what sense is she a goddess - physically? her voice, her face, her body, or is it a nonphysical factor? the way she carries herself, her expectations, her social status. We don't even know the character well enough to interpret this phrase correctly. It is clearly not her dressing style that makes her a goddess, either. Because the author then describes the character's physical aspects differently in the next passage, making the first description a bit contradictory and difficult to interpet.
Here is the next passage a few paragraphs afterwards
" True enough, she didn’t dress as a lady. She wore a plain frock—fustian of the low-waisted style he’d seen on his own mother. Even truer, her brown coat was patched at the elbow. But the material hardly looked threadbare, and the patch was raised, as if placed atop cloth, instead of a raveling hole." ( Page 2, Chapter 1)
It is logically not consistent: she is a goddess ( in what sense? ) but she is not a lady ( dresses plain, and poor )
I am harping on this one phrase because the author uses it repeatedly to describe this character as a " goddess" but she does not back it up - there is no showing that the character is a goddess so how should readers interpret this description.
Aside the description, the dialogue is very awkward and on the nose, without any subtext or nuance and most of it does not provide the reader with any new information, or any profound insight into the characters. I mention insight because dialogue is usually the best tool characterize and color the characters for the reader. What they say shows a lot about who they are as a person.
Wayfarer begins with Will as a young apprentice seeking to rid his master of debt. He's heart-warming, if not a bit foolish at times. While trying to find better paying work, he stumbles across men who believed "the plague" was real. Gossip about unusually gifted or changed people who lived through miracles, it seemed. But Will denies that it exists...until he falls deeper into adventure than he ever dreamed. Adventure called Dr. Silas and Mr. Fitzroy.
Will's family died in the workhouse because his master only managed to save one, Will Hardy. He has plans and goals, but by the end of the book his life has taken on a new purpose and vision, even if it takes a whole adventure to refresh his mind. Will learns that sometimes people beneath your level in life can provide sweet friendship, and sometimes people above his station can give him vision and greater goals. And there are evil people in all ranks of life.
I love Will's relationship with Tom. Because Will grew up with no parents or siblings, Tom was his family and did his best to provide for Will like a father, while also training his apprentice. Indeed it was a task at times and would soon become more overwhelming than Tom probably imagined. Will's friendship with Rose teaches him to care for another in the way he would a younger sister. His protectiveness and Rose's independent ways creates an amusing bond at times. In Will's relationship with Mr. Fitzroy and Mr. Monarch, Will learns how people can be taken advantage of, what loss is, and how at the end of all things your social rank means nothing except that you treat all as equal in God's eyes.
Will unintentionally takes on the qualities of Spiderman (with a few limitations ;), and though charged with murder, he matures into a wiser young man and a good friend and brother. I love the friendship themes throughout this book and the sacrifices made and the character growth of Will were encouraging to read.
Think Oliver Twist meets Spiderman meets Neo. A timeless tale of a country boy, born into poverty, who dreams of being someone, of living in better circumstances. He accidentally gains superpowers that could bring him fame and glory. However, Will must learn to see through illusion and perception to the reality of what is important in life and what value he should place on privilege and position. Weiland is a master storyteller. In this story she uses superpowers unusual for the setting and makes it seem perfectly fine. The weapons she uses in a societal revolution work marvelously, almost metaphorically, with the story arc and moral message. The action begins on page one and never lets up until the end. The dialogue and diction of the different characters is worth the reading alone. But that’s not all that shines in this book. Her description of settings will make you forget you are not there. Here’s one example of her exquisitely detailed writing of a setting: “The September twilight had fallen in layers-first ever so slightly green like the fading leaves, then golden like the sun, and finally rosy like the edge of the sky. Shadows always grew inside the forge faster than they did without, so Will had learned to do a deal of work by the light of the hearth coals.” These characters will live on in my mind for a very long time. My favorites are Rose, the little street urchin with all the guts of Katniss Everdeen; Will, whose self-perception is so warped by his background but who, nevertheless, takes on responsibilities that lead him down the hero’s path and teach him what makes a man truly powerful and important in society; and Isabella, who isn’t afraid to look at her assumptions, test them and use it to change society for the better. This is a fabulous read. A well told story by a master.
K.M. Weiland has been a huge help to me as I have been working on my own writing. Her podcast "Helping Writers Become Authors" is so chock-full of good advice, I wanted to see how she practiced what she preached. Wayfarer was a great read and although I felt it was a little predictable, I really came to love the characters and appreciated this unconventional superhero story.
Will, Isabella, Rose, Tom, and Fitzroy all felt very fleshed out for the most part. Will felt like a classic hero: strong-willed and a little naive with a good heart. Isabella acted like how I would imagine a Victorian-era woman would act without falling into too much of a DID trope and still having agency. I honestly found Tom kind of boring so there were scenes that involved him that didn't quite have the effect Weiland was going for, but he still fulfilled his role as Will's moral compass. Rose was probably the character I cared most for because of how much of a fighter she was even though the odds were so stacked against her and her ability to call Will out on his faults. And Fitzroy: while he's not the most sympathetic villain, he served as a stark contrast to Will.
Again, some of the plot felt kind of predictable to me, but I tried to not let that influence my reading or enjoyment of the book too much. I was literally listening to Weiland's podcast during the day and reading this at night, so it was hard to turn off the "Literary Theory" part of my brain and turn on the "Reader Who Just Wants to Enjoy Himself" part of my brain. Regardless, I still think this was a solid story with a few turns I wasn't expecting and an ending that made me feel melancholic for having finished it.
I do hope Weiland follows this up with a sequel some day, but in the meantime, I will be content with reading her other works.
How does a new superhero go about getting an apprenticeship?
K.M. Wyland transports her readers to the era of Jane Eyre in Wayfarer, a new superhero story told with an olde world flavour.
How does one learn to harness superhuman abilities when you're alone in the world? Will Hardy is a poor apprentice of a country blacksmith, looked down upon by the little hamlet's "higher society." However, after crossing paths with the equally beautiful, intelligent, and mysterious, Lady Isabella he finds himself in a race to outrun his weaknesses. And he's not the only one newly blessed with abilities beyond those of mortal imagination.
Will has plans for his gift. As the Wayfarer, he's in a race for freedom. Will he get to the finish line, or will someone else's plans put him on a wanted poster first?
What I liked: K.M. drops the reader into the streets of jolly ol' England and takes them careening through an adventure of cunning and intrigue. Her use of old vernacular brings the historical setting to life, making it easy to get lost in the pages of this alternate history. The characters are well-developed and interesting, especially the villains. As the saying goes, everyone is the hero of their own story, and K.M.'s antagonists are brilliantly their own heroes.
What I didn't like: The climax took longer to resolve than I would have liked. For several pages, I kept thinking to myself "Just kill him already." However, once the hero wins the day, the unresolved plotlines are well-resolved in the final chapter and leave the story open to another adventure.
I gave "Wayfarer" a solid 4 stars and look forward to K.M.'s next book.
~do this rightly, for the right reasons, in the right way~
~what the world knew of his actions could not change the truth of the actions themselves~
~wipe out the injustice, yes, that was one thing. but after all, wasn’t inequality something else altogether?~
Theme: I really appreciated Ms. Weiland's thoughtful, creative look at social justice, purpose, lies, and truth (among other things!). It's so multifaceted! The theme was definitely my favorite element in Wayfarer
Characters: Wow?? Can't believe how duped I was about a certain person's character...yeahhh. Rose was so great. I thought she was going to be that cliché sweet little girl that we're all supposed to love and think was so cute for no real reason -- yeah heh I was wrong about that too. :) And her relationship with Will comes in second on the list of favorites btw. ❤️ Isabella was interesting; I appreciated her arc and her personality. I also enjoyed Will and I honestly related quite a bit; in no way was he a shallow character. And then there was Tom.
Writing: I think my main critique was in the writing. There were several parts of the book that felt unduly prolonged.... and it never picked up with ferocity until the last 20%ish (for me). A positive on the writing however, was the dialogue and the character's unique voices. I thought that was very well done.
I personally loved that entire last chapter, but I can't tell you why...tryna keep this spoiler free soooo... I guess you'll have to wait till you get to the end huh?😜
~you’re telling me you can do great things. all right then. do them for great reasons.~