Title: The Wanderer
Author: Rowan McAllister
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Yan and Lyuc
POV: 3rd person
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, May/December
After centuries of traveling the continent of Kita and fighting the extradimensional monsters known as Riftspawn, mage Lyuc is tired and ready to back away from the concerns of humanity.
But the world isn’t done with him yet.
While traveling with a merchant caravan, Lyuc encounters Yan, an Unnamed, the lowest caste in society. Though Yan has nothing but his determination and spirit, he reminds Lyuc what passion and desire feel like. While wild magic, a snarky, shapeshifting, genderfluid companion, and the plots of men and monsters seem determined to keep Lyuc from laying down his burden, only Yan’s inimitable spirit tempts him to hang on for another lifetime or so.
All Yan wants is to earn the sponsorship of a guild so he can rise above his station, claim a place in society, and build the family he never had.
After hundreds of years of self-imposed penance, all Lyuc wants is Yan.
If they can survive prejudice, bandits, mercenaries, monsters, and nature itself, they might both get their wish… and maybe even their happily ever after.
In the Wanderer, you’ve got a wizard, a waif, and a magical element, all the ingredients needed for a fantasy tale. While traveling from one part of the continent of Kita, the wizard Lyuc and his magical companion Bryn, happen across Yan, a man looked down upon in society due to his lack of a family name, in service to the caravan their traveling with, trying to find his way in the world, leaving everything he’s ever known behind him.
The story focuses heavily on the pair and there were with a sprinkling of darker machinations. The plot is very linear, with most of it taking place on the road. Peril and pitfalls line the way, but they don’t feel like enough to break the monotony for me. The world Lyuc, Bryn, and Yan reside in is interesting if rife with hard to pronounce names. Yan is pretty straight forward, but the longer versions of Lyuc’s and Bryn’s names are harder for me to wrap my head around. I’m not even sure how to say “Lyuc” but. I’ve settled for something close to “Luke.”
The romance in this book is May/December again (a set up that I’ve mentioned my feelings on in previous reviews so I won’t harp on it too much here), though this one is so extreme, it’s more like January/December. There are parts in the narrative where Yan, the younger of the two, is shown to have a naiveté that bordered on unbelievable for me. He’s in his early 20s, but the way it’s presented, it makes him appear younger. Lyuc is ancient and while he doesn’t appear to be his true age, he is closer to that than the age of his love interest. When Yan has these episodes, it makes the age gap of more than a thousand years feel even wider. It didn’t happen often, but when it did it was a jarring reminder of this gulf between them that bothered me more than it did them.
That said, Eurocentric based fantasy isn’t really my thing for various reasons, but pushing my grievances aside, I did like this book for what it was. The world was interesting, if there wasn’t enough of it shown for me, there are a decent amount of sex scenes that were well done and they didn’t overshadow the story, the characters were engaging (though I’ll admit Bryn was by far my favorite) and though I felt the plot was a little too straight forward, it was tight with no real conflicts in the story or nagging holes.
If you’re a bigger fan of Euro-fantasy than I am, and enjoy long trips with interesting characters, then this might be the book for you.
Reviewed By: Jet
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