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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Wayfarer by KM Weiland review (reviewed by Lukasz Przywoski)

Official Author Website
Order Wayfarer over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: 
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. 


She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. 

OFFICIAL BLURB: 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.

FORMAT/INFO: Wayfarer is 502 pages divided over 46 numbered chapters. It's a standalone novel. KM Weiland self-published it in 2018. The cover design was done by Damonza.

OVERVIEW: 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 keep 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.

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