‘Wayfarer‘ by Lili St. Crow was first published in 2014. It is a modern day, supernatural retelling of the popular fairytale ‘Cinderella‘. It’s the second book in the ‘Tales of Beauty and Madness‘ series. [you can buy a copy here!]
The novel follows follows Ellie Sinder, an incredibly powerful charmer. She is being forced to work spells for her stepmother, Laurissa, for profit she never sees. But a train from the Wasteland arrives in New Haven bearing Avery Fletcher. His arrival sets Laurissa off on a dark and dangerous scheme, which Ellie fights to stop.
This was just as delightfully spooking and twisted as the first book ‘Nameless’. While it started off a bit slower, it hit its stride suddenly about half way in and went full throttle from there. It got suddenly much darker, which I loved. It was the whole vibe from the first book that I was worried wouldn’t come back at all!
I quite liked how Ellie was so worried about her Stepmother hurting anyone who helped her. Sure, Ellie had a strong support system which she could’ve gone too, but she didn’t want charity, and she didn’t want to put anyone she loved in harm’s way. I can see why people reading her story might not understand why she made the decisions she did, but personally I get it. She was put through a lot of traumatic shit, and I think that St. Crow dealt with it all quite well.
Her relationship with Avery was interesting, because Ellie was struggling with her attraction to him – also his obvious interest in her – and her wish to protect him from her stepmother. I liked how he wasn’t pushy, but he still spoke to her about his feelings. Probably the best thing about him was that he did pursue her, but he also told her that if she said the word, he’d leave her alone.
It was really nice to see Cami and Ruby from Ellie’s point of view too. Ellie is a lot less sure of herself than Cami saw her in ‘Nameless’, and while Cami felt like the third wheel in their group, now we see that Ellie feels that way too. She feels a bit like a charity case, and wonders why it is that they’re friends with her. I think it’s important that we see characters being vulnerable in this way, from multiple points of view. It’s a common thing in teenagers. And to have a literary example to relate to is always helpful with growing up.
In the end this story was a delightfully spooky paranormal retelling of ‘Cinderella’, with a wonderfully established world and cast of characters. It all felt so real, and that is what made it scary.
Honestly, as much as I love Ellie, I loved Avery more. He’s a pretty cute character. I liked how he really wanted to help Ellie, even though she was shutting him out to protect him. It was an interesting relationship, and he easily could have annoyed me with his persistence. But he often told her that he’d leave her alone if she just told him too.
There’s a beautifully written passage which describes how Ellie charms a pair of boots. How she feels when she charms, and how easy it comes for her.
“The first time she’d fully understood that the planet was round and hurtling through space, she’d been terrified. Now she was just unsurprised. Of course nothing could be steady. Of course it all had to spin. It just made sense.”
The third and final part to this series of reviews will be posted soon. So please let me know what you thought of this review. And if you’ve read the book, let me know what you thought of it!