Rating: 2 Stars
Age Recommendation: 17+
Warnings: Explicit scenes regarding intimacy, Strong language, Violence/torture
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Action and Adventure
Pages: 251 (paperback provided in exchange for an honest review)
Adara flew. Space surrounded her and whispered to her of the secrets it held. She smiled as she followed the course and took the shuttle to the Pritchard. The Pritchard was a sleek ship. The hunter class ships were all bullet shaped with the bridge at the top back of the bullet. Excitement rippled through her with the first glimpse of it waiting for her. Something in her clicked into place and she felt at home again.
Wayfarer, by Eileen Troemel, is a science fiction novel in some ways, but is really more of a romance novel set on a sci-fi backdrop. Adara is half-Wayfarer, which means that she has inherited some of her father’s ability to understand and see things about space that others can’t, even with more experience flying ships or with a certain piece of the universe. Her new captain, Decker Flannery, didn’t actually want to bring her on board as his third pilot, but after she does join his crew, he starts to see the importance she could have for his crew and in his life in general.
Now, one thing that I felt actually worked was the setting and some of the plot devices used. Adara survived a ship’s explosion and saved many people on board, but couldn’t save everyone, and that causes some lingering resentment from others as well as within herself. And those problems lead to even bigger ones. That aspect of this book really seemed to work.
I also felt that the progression of the two main relationships in the novel worked for the most part, even though one was happening out of sight of the reader. Although the story is told in third person, we follow Adara for the most part. I will say, however, that I did not expect the graphic scenes that occurred a few times throughout the story.
That said, I did have a number of problems with the text, leading to the rating of only 2 out of 5 stars. I never like giving low ratings but I had trouble understanding some of the elements in Troemel’s novel.
First and foremost, the writing was strange. Spare, choppy sentences aren’t always bad, but when an entire book is built up of them, it makes action difficult to follow. Everything happens more quickly when there are fewer commas to slow a reader’s pace, and sometimes that’s a really important trick to use. But it made the whole novel seem jumpy and short. There were also a number of grammar issues. For example, plurals and possessives were mixed up so rather than saying “heads” it might read “head’s,” and rather than saying “Adara’s” it might say “Adaras.” I’m not sure if that’s just an editing mistake or not. So as a would-be editor, the writing style and those mistakes were fairly distracting.
The lore of Adara’s species was also very strange. That is, her background as a half-Wayfarer and the rules about that sort of person. She is still human, but with a better eye for seeing disruptions in space; she’s able to stay awake for longer periods of time, endure more pain, and heals more quickly. I have all of that tucked away and understood. But the main problem I had with the Wayfarer culture is that I couldn’t understand why they were considered outsiders or why they were disliked. Wayfarers are said to be more promiscuous, which I suppose would be a valid complaint in a world where that sort of thing isn’t discussed or is not done very often. But people in this universe’s culture talk about it frequently, have very strong curse words which are used often, and Adara’s two best friends are also quite obviously doing exactly the same as she is with her love interest, so I didn’t understand their problem with her at all.
Really, Adara should’ve been quite important and popular, so to speak, from the start. She has all of these great abilities that could help her as a pilot, but she’s run into some bad luck. And when that last happened, she saved over fifty people all by herself. I feel like that deserves more credit than it’s given.
Over all, this novel felt like a romance novel with a bit of science fiction world building. There are others in the series, which makes me think that this book is something of a set up for the others, but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t read them. I do believe that fans of the adult romance genre would really quite enjoy this, but those coming in believing it to be a science-fiction heavy story may not feel as strongly about it.
That said, the author has written other sorts of books that might be great for those who enjoy the Wafarer series, so a dig around Goodreads should help out with finding more of those. Troemel is quite prolific, and her many works can be found online, for e-readers as well.