Wayfarer, A Tale of Beauty and Madness, book 2
Lili St. Crow
Razor Bill, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2014
Wayfarer is a retelling of Cinderella with hints of Hansel and Gretel in it. Ellie’s father is killed in an accident, leaving her with a horrible stepmother. The Strep beats, starves and forces her stepdaughter to do all the chores around the house since she has fired most of the staff. She also forces Ellie to charm (charming is performing magic to make animate objects do certain things, like charming shoes to keep you standing upright no matter how tall the heels are) when she is unable to do it herself and comes very close to killing her. All Ellie can do is save money and make plans to escape the hell she is living in.
• Ellen “Ellie” Sinder, the girl with the plan, always thinking things through, knowing the only way she can survive hell is to plan her escape. But plans follow through and even though she makes more plans, those, too, are ruined. She sees herself as a charity case and thinks no one will miss her if she goes missing. She isolates herself from the people who care the most about her and refuses their help when it is offered.
• Avery Fletcher, the ‘golden boy’, from a prominent charm clan, and has loved Ellie for many years. He continues his pursuit of her even though she rebuffs him at every turn.
• Laurissa “The Strep” Choquefort-Sinder, Ellie’s Step-mother, comes from overWaste with Ellie’s father and kind in the beginning. Then when her father starts traveling a lot she gets mean and hateful and then when he dies she just goes all out on poor Ellie. In the meantime Ellie becomes aware she is dabbling in blackcharm (black magic) which is so bad it is illegal. Bad things await!
• Camille “Cami” Vultisino, schoolchum and best friend, is now Family and is more self-assured – something Ellie is jealous of now that her world is falling apart.
• Ruby “Rube” de Varre, schoolmate and best friend, outgoing and wild, with seemingly not a care in the world – which makes Ellie envious as her as well. Ruby’s story is told in Kin, the third and final book of the series.
• Rita, mousy girl about Ellie’s age that the Strep brings from another province. She may be the Strep’s sister or her daughter…
• Auntie, an old woman in whose yard that Ellie literally stumbles into, takes her in and teaches her properly how to charm. But Auntie has a secret – a deadly secret it turns out!
Second time around for this book – and I enjoyed it more the second time. Still doesn’t rate a 5 out of 5 paws like Nameless did, but still, it is enchanting and magical and frightening and draws the reader into the dark world of New Haven. Wayfarer is well written, hypnotic and not to be missed!!
Rating: 4 of 5 paws because as much as I liked the book, I didn’t have the strong emotional reaction with Ellie’s story as I did with Cami’s.