Reading time 4 mins
Review: PASSENGER by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 5th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance
Also by this author: The Darkest Minds
Hardcover provided by My Wallet (purchased)

AmazonB&NAudibleBook Depository

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not. Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

Right away this Passenger nabbed my attention.

Nicolas is on a mountain with his half-brother Julian. He is bound to accompany serve him until his dept is paid. When the unthinkable happens and Julian slips, Nicolas must make a deal to get himself out of dept, again. Etta, of the Henry sort, is on the cusp of starting her life as a violinist. She has finally made it to her solo debut when her mentor is shot right before her eyes. As if that is not enough, she is ripped into the way past and discovers her mother has been keeping a BIG secret from her since she was born. Together Nicolas and Etta set off to find the treasure her mother has hidden by following the encrypted clues.

This is the first couple chapters which set us up for a very grand adventure.

What I loved: The characters are so well fleshed out. It is easy to relate to Etta, since she is from our time. Everything is amazing to her, as I imagine it would be to me. Also, she has a lot of trouble fitting in to the way a woman should act in the distant past. She almost gives herself away whenever she encounters someone from the past. Nicolas proves a swoon worthy hero with his chivalrous actions to protect Etta. I loved them together. They had an instant attraction but of course they denied admitting it. I just wanted them together. So the angst was bittersweet.

The adventure takes us all over the world and through so many periods of time. The author did a great job of describing the scenes. I could feel the heat, the spray of the ocean or whatever the characters were feeling. The descriptive details were enough without feeling like info dumps. Brilliant, really. The author obviously did a lot of research for this and it paid off, big time. I learned enough about each period to relate to the scene without feeling like I was being taught. (that is hard to describe, but that’s the best i can do)

What I didn’t love: All of a sudden I got lost in the story. Did I miss something? No. We just skipped right over where Etta went, or how we got here, or how we noticed that little detail out of everything that was going on. We seemed to zoom around a lot. I know part of it was the time travel, but some of it was just that the story moved along so fast it was hard to keep up. (do you go back and try to figure things out, i don’t because i expect things to be obvious at some point) Some things were just not explained well enough. All of a sudden there is a portal, but before I can picture the scene they are zooming through it and the characters are now in another time, another place.

Also, and this is a biggy, I got a bit lost in the POVs. Not that I couldn’t tell who was who, but that the whole story is told in 3rd person. We get a ton of internal dialogue from both the main characters in each chapter, but from no one else. I would have enjoyed first person perspective for this story. I really had to pay attention to the pronouns to understand who was thinking/feeling/doing what.

Other than those two details, I really enjoyed Passenger. I think maybe those two details are just ME and not really the story’s fault. I will definitely be reading the sequel and I can recommend this to any YA Time Travel fan. It is a wild ride!

My Rating


About Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She recently relocated to New York City, where she lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books.

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