The Wayfarer by Zachary Kekac

The Wayfarer by Zachary Kekac
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

“Burying sorrow is like burying water; it simply seeps into the soil and up into everything that grows from it.”


The Wayfarer stands on the rim of insanity. Forgetting everything. Everyone.

He doesn’t know when the forgetting began, but the Shadow does. A doppelganger wreathed in darkness; a figure only he can see; it claims to know both why he is losing his mind, and the way to restore it. Wary, desperate, with what seems no other way open to him, the Wayfarer submits himself to the Shadow, its warning compelling him forward:

Move on.

Or wither.

As the Shadow leads the Wayfarer through sentient forests, the graveyards of dragons, and realms between realms, so too does it lead the way into his forgotten past, restoring fragments of memory throughout the journey. Only the memories are distorted, nightmarish. In them he sees his friends, his family—dead. Impossible. His friends are alive, aiding him on his journey. His family is safe, awaiting his return.

Disillusioned by these perversions of past, the Wayfarer decides the only way to salvation is within himself. Aided by a psychoactive mixture, he descends into his subconscious, seeking the truth of his unravelling mind, the memory of his madness’ beginning.

You are not ready.

Though the Wayfarer can sense the truth lurking within the abyss of his subconscious, something in the Shadow’s words waylays him. Something in the Shadow’s words holds a truth of its own, warring with the truth within himself.

Frustrated, fearful, his mind fraying at its seams, the Wayfarer stands now on the rim of a choice: to trust the Shadow, to hope on a fool’s hope that its way was the way to remedy; or to forsake it, to do as he willed and seek resolution his own way, knowing with the wisdom of a man prone to folly that it may very well be the way to ruin.

I was instantly drawn to The Wayfarer and enjoyed it immensely! This story takes readers on a dark and twisted tale as the MC slowly loses himself to his own internal darkness, which is why he’s named ‘The Shadow’. This is definitely a darker read, which is clear from the blurb, but it’s interesting to see the swirling mix of what’s read and what’s real to the MC but only in his head, things realize are merely imagined, as truth as the story goes on.

I enjoyed this one, and know with High/Epic Fantasy it’s not always about the characters, which is fine, but I tend to prefer more character driven stories, and found that this one actually was more about prose and the flowing writing style, and less about the character’s own personal journey or struggles. I found the story overall to be beautifully written, hauntingly so, but wish it was even slightly more character focused, since it flowed smoothly and was well told, but lacked the depth and emotion that character focused stories are more apt to have.

I can see others enjoying this one, but it’s a bit harder to recommend due to its dark themes and unique style. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read to compare it to, but I’m pretty sure Dark Fantasy/Fantasy Horror readers might know of similar stories and may even enjoy this one.

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