Wayfarer by K. M. Weiland
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.
First off, this book is LONG. With little print. So be prepared.
I mean, the premise is brilliant. Superheroes in 1800’s London. What is not to like about that?
I also love that each of the heroes in the story had their limitations. Sometimes pretty big limitations. (Not being able to look at light is a pretty big limitation.) It added more conflict and tension to the story since they couldn’t just zip around and do whatever they felt like at the moment.
I loved Will’s little adopted family trio he puts together. Rose is fantastic. She stands out as a sidekick. I loved the inclusion of a younger character and the sibling relationship the two of them develop.
For the record, Isabella was a well-developed character, too. Her and Will's romance did not at all take the turns I was expecting when they met earlier in the book, and the twist of ending was a creative change.
And, dang it, the author went and killed the character I didn’t want killed!
I had a love-hate relationship with how she spelled the characters’ dialects out. On one hand, I loved it because I could hear exactly how they talked in my head. Then, after a while, it just got a little distracting. They started using catchphrases that I was unfamiliar with and that I struggled to figure out what they meant using the context. This may just be a problem on my part, other people might read it and be able to figure out exactly what they meant. But from some of my own research a while back, people either love or hate spelled-out dialects. I’m somewhere in the middle on this one.
The message was a little bit blatant, at least to me. It could have been more subtle and I wouldn’t have minded—but that didn’t detract from the message AT ALL, and the theme was very well-developed throughout the story.
So neither one of those were truly negatives. Just kind of “eeh” things, I guess.
Wayfarer was definitely worth the read, and I’m looking into another of her novels to add to my shelf.
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