by C.E. Murphy
Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
Review by Mel Jacob
Del Rey Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345516077
Date: 06 September 2011 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Described as an urban fantasy, most of Wayfinder takes place in the faerie lands, Annwn. Lara Jansen, the Truthseeker, uses the worldbreaking staff to reach Seelie and lands in the middle of a pitched battle between the Seelie and the Unseelie for control of Annwn. She was following Merrick, the foster brother of the elf she loves Dafydd ap Annwn. Dafydd was injured fighting off the nightwings sent by Merrick to destroy him and Lara in the first novel, Truthseeker. Now, the story continues with Lara seeking to prove Dafydd innocent of killing his brother Merrick.
Each faerie royal has an affinity for an element. Merrick's is air and he creates illusions. His illusions are in pursuit of his goal to become king of all Annwn. Others think they are real with disastrous consequences. He owes no loyalty to his foster father the Seelie king or his birth father the Unseelie king. Dafydd's brother Ioan, a master of water, and Merrick were fostered at birth, but Ioan developed loyalty to his foster father the Unseelie king Hafgan and the Unseelie people.
Lara seeks both to find Dafydd and to discover why the Unseelie lands were drowned and are dying. Emyr, the Seelie king, claims no memory of the event. Hafgan refuses to share his memories. Only they hold the key to recovering the drowned land.
When Ioan tells Lara he sent Dafydd to the waters of the drowned Unseelie city, Lara must find the path and retrieve him, but to do so she must pass Llyr's tests. The god of the sea also wants the drowned lands recovered.
Lara wields tremendous power, but has no fighting skills. Aerin, a Seelie warrior and friend and former lover of Dafydd, accompanies her at the command of Emyr. Lara finds that she also has to rescue Aerin when she chooses the wrong path.
Only one section takes place in Boston and that leaves the city in ruins. Murphy takes the reader on an exciting ride as the two kings fight to kill each other and Merrick takes his vengeance on all. The novel ends on a brighter note, but leaves the fate of Boston unresolved. In many ways this is more a young adult rather than an adult fantasy with none of the gutter language or sex so rampant in many urban fantasies. Also, gentle Lara is not a violent warrior. Rather she does what she has to do to survive and find Dafydd. She grows into her powers at the same time.
The two novels, Truthseeker and the Wayfinder, have been billed as a Duology. Ms. Murphy has a number of other acclaimed fantasy novels to her credit.