BOOK REVIEW: Passenger

“Know this, pirate,” he said, his hands gripping the railing, “you are my passenger, and I will be damned before I let any harm come to you.”

She was unsure how to respond to the fervor of those words. “Another rule?” she managed finally.

“A promise. If I see that you’re in danger from Ironwood, I will help you escape myself. But should you try to leave on your own, know that I will go to the ends of the earth to bring you back.”

Passengerpassage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

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, Nicholas’s passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he 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.

  • author: Alexandra Bracken
  • year of publication: 2016
  • series: PASSENGER, book 1
  • page count: 496
  • genre: young adult, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, romance

This was a re-read for me, since I finally got around to purchasing Wayfarer, the second and final book in the PASSENGER duology. I read this once when it was first released and absolutely loved it, but it sat untouched on my shelf for over two years. Jumping into Wayfarer without revisiting the first installment seemed a bit too daunting, as I’d forgotten a lot.

Boy, am I glad I revisited it.

I guess I should start with the most important aspect of the book — time travel. As much as I love both science fiction and fantasy (my two favorite genres to read), I hatehatehate time travel. However, I kinda dig it in this book, probably because the settings are so interesting and they really jump all over the place in regards to year. I wouldn’t say that I felt like I was there while reading, but the descriptions of the cities and countries are so beautiful and vivid. I enjoy descriptive books that take their sweet ole time, and Passenger definitely does that.

I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to get into this book as quickly if it had strictly been a time travel novel, but, as a musician myself, Etta’s musical ability spoke to me. I was enthralled by her love for the violin, and I hope that we’ll see more of it in the final installment.

I had forgotten how much I love both Etta and (especially) Nicholas. We get to see the story from both of their perspectives, and both are strong characters with a unique voice. That being said, I definitely enjoyed the chapters that focused on Nicholas more. And, of course, we gotta talk about the romance. Even though Nicholas and Etta felt pretty insta-lovey, I still really enjoyed the scenes throughout the book that progressed their romance arc. Like, to the point where I’d sometimes be like okay, I don’t care, give me more Nicholas and Etta, please (which is a lie, I totally do care).

One last thing to note: I also very much appreciated Bracken’s attention to more serious themes — such as racism and sexism, with a bit of religion mixed in. Bracken handled these wonderfully, in my opinion, and we also got to see Etta challenging the beliefs of the past due to her modern upbringing.

rating: ★★★★★
buy the book
: amazon | book depository | books-a-million
Alexandra Bracken: website | goodreads


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